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Old 04-02-2008, 06:13 PM   #161
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These may well represent the numeric quintiles, but the labels are manure. A family or even an individual earning $90K is in NO WAY upper class. Some clueless prole uploaded this to Wiki.

One needs to read Class by Paul Fussell before they can even begin to comment on the class structure of Western society.

In this biography of the Paul Fussell it claims that Paul wrote the book as a bit of fun and that it was not to be taken seriously?
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On the other hand, he says he gets "very sick and annoyed at certain proletarian performances", and he doesn't like "social life in which the man who comes to repair the refrigerator calls you by your first name". With its Nancy Mitfordish lists of the tastes that define Americans as "upper", "middle" or "prole", Class (1983) saw its author elevated to the status of "world-class curmudgeon" by the Washington Post. The only escape from such classifications, Fussell suggested, was by joining what he called category "X" - a self-selecting aristocracy of the talented and clever. Today he says the book was a bit of fun and not meant to be taken seriously, but he remains an unashamed elitist.
The book came at the end of a difficult period in Fussell's personal life, and he regrets that he didn't handle the break-up of his first marriage better. Keegan, who describes Fussell as a "very complicated", unusual person
Profile: Paul Fussell | By genre | guardian.co.uk Books
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Old 04-02-2008, 07:26 PM   #162
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Originally Posted by barbarus View Post
These may well represent the numeric quintiles, but the labels are manure. A family or even an individual earning $90K is in NO WAY upper class. Some clueless prole uploaded this to Wiki.

One needs to read Class by Paul Fussell before they can even begin to comment on the class structure of Western society.
Well, obviously I'm unqualified to comment on the class structure of Western society, since I haven't read the book you deem essential...

... still, that's a good topic. I think dividing by quintiles is a reasonable approach - if you make more than 80% of the rest of the population, you are upper class by definition.

What other definitions would folks recommend?
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Old 04-02-2008, 07:49 PM   #163
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Playing around with that calculator:

Between $1million and $50 million net worth or more doesn't much change your percentile.

However, it greatly changes your lifestyle.
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Old 04-02-2008, 09:23 PM   #164
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No, it's not really a subjective issue. From a purely financial perspective, having children is almost always the worst decision any person can make.
Apparently your parents did not make a very good financial decision in having children.
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Old 04-02-2008, 09:36 PM   #165
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Agreed, but even if my house was paid for, and you eliminated that $2,100 from the budget, that would still leave $6,000/month in expenses.

I guess maybe it's related to geography? Our property taxes are pretty high, living in the city limits. Is $350/person/month for groceries too much? We try to eat pretty healthy, most of that cost is probably milk and meat. Veggies, pasta, and rice are cheap.

Our car is paid for, we simply redirect the old car payment into a special fund for vehicle repairs, or a down payment when it comes time to replace it. (I don't want to get too used to having that money back in our pockets, it would just make it painful when we had to buy a car again).

Insurance is mandatory, cars need gas to run, we have to pay for heat and electricity... what's "too much" in our budget?
We also live in a large city and hope to retire in a year or so with monthly costs of 4-5k. But right now we rarely eat out, cook our food, mainly very healthy, and often organic which does raise the price. But we spend $1000 a month almost on food. Compared to everything I've read and what you say you'd think we were eating like kings! This probably includes $50 for wine each month and maybe $100 for cat food. But I'm still shocked when I see what we spend compared to most people............
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Old 04-02-2008, 09:53 PM   #166
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What other definitions would folks recommend?
Back to Wiki.

American upper class - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a much better look at the type of people who would never associate with us.

They would have servants blog for them.
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Old 04-02-2008, 10:00 PM   #167
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Back to Wiki.

American upper class - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a much better look at the type of people who would never associate with us.

They would have servants blog for them.
I've got to disagree with the article on this point:

'While most contemporary sociologists estimate that only 1% of households are members of the upper class, sociologist Leonard Beeghley states all households with a net worth of $1 million or more to be "rich."'

Being a millionaire ain't what it used to be. Back in the day when a dollar was worth something, yeah, "millionaire" meant something. Now, it's just run-of-the-mill.
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Old 04-02-2008, 10:02 PM   #168
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In this biography of the Paul Fussell it claims that Paul wrote the book as a bit of fun and that it was not to be taken seriously?

Profile: Paul Fussell | By genre | guardian.co.uk Books
Yeah, Paul got much grief for telling people what they didn't want to hear and had to backpedal to make it all better. Like any politician or other entertainer, Fussell is willing to say whatever meets the needs of the moment.

Talk really is cheap.

The book gives a lot of valuable insight though and is a valuable read.

One example of class misidentification very commonly encountered is when blue collar, working class people refer to themselves as middle class.

I was puzzled by that for quite a while.
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Old 04-03-2008, 06:46 AM   #169
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One needs to read Class by Paul Fussell before they can even begin to comment on the class structure of Western society.
You mean: American society. As the book's subtitle ("A Guide Through the American Status System") implies, Fussell does not purport to comment on other Western countries.

I agree that it is an excellent and insightful book. His comments regarding 'Prole Drift', and the 'college swindle', are spot-on.
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Old 04-03-2008, 10:50 AM   #170
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Well, obviously I'm unqualified to comment on the class structure of Western society, since I haven't read the book you deem essential...

... still, that's a good topic. I think dividing by quintiles is a reasonable approach - if you make more than 80% of the rest of the population, you are upper class by definition.

What other definitions would folks recommend?
I usually think about the upper class as being the top 5% or so. Using the top 20% just seems too broad since there is a dramatic difference in wealth between those in the top 5% and those between 15% and 20% due to the shape of the curve. On the other hand, there is little difference in wealth between those in the 40% to 45% group and those in the 25% to 30% group, also due to the shape of the curve.

Dividing into quintiles doesn't seem reasonable due to shape of the curve which places most of the wealth in the top few percent and little of the wealth in the bottom 70% - 80%.
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Old 04-03-2008, 10:54 AM   #171
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Being a millionaire ain't what it used to be. Back in the day when a dollar was worth something, yeah, "millionaire" meant something. Now, it's just run-of-the-mill.
That's for sure! Few on this board would disagree that a couple retiring on one million bux (NO pension or retiree med benefits) would have to lead a modest life to get by.
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Old 04-03-2008, 11:02 AM   #172
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We also live in a large city and hope to retire in a year or so with monthly costs of 4-5k. But right now we rarely eat out, cook our food, mainly very healthy, and often organic which does raise the price. But we spend $1000 a month almost on food. Compared to everything I've read and what you say you'd think we were eating like kings! This probably includes $50 for wine each month and maybe $100 for cat food. But I'm still shocked when I see what we spend compared to most people............
We spent 12000 or so last year on food,grocery,wine and household cleaning supplies. etc. We aren't that far off from you.
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Old 04-03-2008, 11:02 AM   #173
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Apparently your parents did not make a very good financial decision in having children.


Milton is correct of course. Raising kids is expensive. Strangely though, none of our militantly child-free friends openly express a desire that, for the sake of their parents, they had not been born!
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Old 04-03-2008, 11:32 AM   #174
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Milton is correct of course. Raising kids is expensive. Strangely though, none of our militantly child-free friends openly express a desire that, for the sake of their parents, they had not been born!
Do they think they would be upset if they had never been born?
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Old 04-03-2008, 11:44 AM   #175
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We also live in a large city and hope to retire in a year or so with monthly costs of 4-5k. But right now we rarely eat out, cook our food, mainly very healthy, and often organic which does raise the price. But we spend $1000 a month almost on food. Compared to everything I've read and what you say you'd think we were eating like kings! This probably includes $50 for wine each month and maybe $100 for cat food. But I'm still shocked when I see what we spend compared to most people............

You have to treat Whole Foods like Costco. only buy the on sale meat and buy a lot of it. like when ground beef was on sale in NYC i bought 12 pounds worth
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Old 04-03-2008, 11:44 AM   #176
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Do they think they would be upset if they had never been born?
"I'll take 'Logical Fallacies' for 400, Alex."

Thanks, Khan, glad someone said it.
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Old 04-03-2008, 11:48 AM   #177
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Do they think they would be upset if they had never been born?


No..... you're kidding right? They should be upset because they were born!
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Old 04-03-2008, 12:06 PM   #178
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At least half of our friends are childfree for whatever reason. None of them are better off financially than those who had children. Of course kids cost a relatively easily quantifiable sum of money. Of course not having to spend that money on kids does not mean the childfree friends are not spending it in other ways (and sometimes more of it, since you can't take it with you and you might not want to leave it on the table when you go). Different strokes. All good.

Costco tip: Even if you let your Costco membership expire your card will still get you into the store for sample diving....
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Old 04-03-2008, 01:03 PM   #179
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Costco tip: Even if you let your Costco membership expire your card will still get you into the store for sample diving....
Now that is what I call LBYM - as long as you walk or bike to COSTCO. Consuming fuel by driving is out of the question.
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Old 04-03-2008, 03:25 PM   #180
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We spent 12000 or so last year on food,grocery,wine and household cleaning supplies. etc. We aren't that far off from you.
Thanks,

I'm glad to hear that we're not alone. Honestly every book I've read, web form I've filled out and every other retirement type of estimate I've read puts food costs at about half of what we spend. And we consider ourselves very careful in what we buy! Next to no junk food, little processed food, etc., etc.

I've been starting to think it's very expensive to eat healthily! But I guess even then I'd rather spend money on something I enjoy and think is healthy than on a lot of other things. It's just I keep feeling that we've fallen down on the job when it comes to frugal living.........
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