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Old 02-21-2021, 03:37 PM   #81
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I’m not sure what purpose it serves to talk about how much you need to live middle class on an international forum. Someone living on the coasts will need substantially more than someone living in lower cost parts of the country. It would seem to be more meaningful to have this discussion within your community or county.
Exactly, when I used to do oil & gas projects in Trinidad, middle class living was defined as having tin walls and roof on your shack instead of cardboard and owning your own chickens instead of begging for food on the street.
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Old 02-21-2021, 03:47 PM   #82
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Not individual though.
It shows household income.

You can get a pretty good estimate of individual for a city by using the ratio of individual to household for the country, then multiplying it for the city's household income figure.
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Old 02-21-2021, 04:45 PM   #83
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It shows household income.

You can get a pretty good estimate of individual for a city by using the ratio of individual to household for the country, then multiplying it for the city's household income figure.
Household means at least 2+ people.

What about 1 person?
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Old 02-21-2021, 05:14 PM   #84
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Household means at least 2+ people.

What about 1 person?
The term could have been used to mean "per house", regardless of the number of residents.
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Old 02-21-2021, 05:25 PM   #85
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Household means at least 2+ people.

What about 1 person?
Actually, a household doesn't mean 2+. It includes households of 1 as well.

"1 person" is the same thing as "individual."

So to repeat from my previous post - you can get a pretty good estimate of individual for a city by using the ratio of individual to household for the country, then multiplying it for the city's household income figure.

I provided the country ratio in this post, so just extrapolate from there using the city-data data for a close approximation:

https://www.early-retirement.org/for...ml#post2564685
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Old 02-21-2021, 05:35 PM   #86
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I think the conversation depends on how you splice the data. The best ones I've seen are the ones that include college education into the mix as to me those are two very different set of expectations. Rightly or wrongly, once you get that diploma there was an expectation of a floor of lifestyle one expected.

So my family that did trade school and deem themselves middle class fall into the $40-70k range. My co-workers also deem themselves middle class and fall into the $90-120k range. The expectations they have for how they live and what is normal are vastly different.

They both own homes, vehicles, go on vacation, have their kids in sports, etc. However, the price points they are talking about are vastly different. I find it usually a 3-5x increase for my college friends. The average American household income is $55k (technically $51k this year as COVID hurt avg earnings); however not sure that is relevant to this conversation as if I plug into the PEW research study that puts me in the bottom of my age/classification.
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Old 02-21-2021, 06:16 PM   #87
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Here is the SF Bay Area a $1M house is a starter house. My daughter (29 yrs) just bought her house for a few thousand under $1M. It's a smallish home, smallish lot and somewhat of a fixer. What most people around the country would consider a middle class house would cost about $1.25M here.
Well aware of Bay Area pricing as we just returned home from our penance in Castro Valley.

Happy to leave and would never willingly live there again. Pleasanton and Livermore might be doable but CV is not a nice place to live. While we lived there a double murder occurred on our street, my car was robbed while I was in Safeway for 10 minutes and as a nurse I have never in 30 years been cussed at, spat at, and intentionally harmed by a patient until I worked in East Bay. I could list a few more but you get the picture. The pay was astronomical but not worth the price of admission.

DH loved the chaos but chaos was his line of work and for him the promotion and retirement bump was worth it.

If your broke paying the mortgage your broke not middle class.
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Old 02-21-2021, 08:19 PM   #88
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The average American household income is $55k (technically $51k this year as COVID hurt avg earnings);
What is your reference? That's lower than the individual average income figure I posted earlier. This site shows average US household income at nearly $98,000 for 2020.

https://dqydj.com/household-income-p...le-calculator/

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What was the United States average household income?

In 2020, average household income in the United States was $97,973.61.

What was the United States median household income?

In 2020, median household income in the United States was $68,400.00.
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Old 02-21-2021, 08:34 PM   #89
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Most of the data for these articles comes from the Census Current Population Survey, but is adjusted various ways by various sites (e.g. dqydj, PEW, etc). Census data is through 2019 so I assume 2020 numbers are extrapolations - you need to carefully read the assumptions in the referenced studies.

https://www.census.gov/programs-surv...ta/tables.html

The first link is individuals, the third link is household.
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Old 02-22-2021, 09:25 AM   #90
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Well aware of Bay Area pricing as we just returned home from our penance in Castro Valley.

Happy to leave and would never willingly live there again. Pleasanton and Livermore might be doable but CV is not a nice place to live. While we lived there a double murder occurred on our street, my car was robbed while I was in Safeway for 10 minutes and as a nurse I have never in 30 years been cussed at, spat at, and intentionally harmed by a patient until I worked in East Bay. I could list a few more but you get the picture. The pay was astronomical but not worth the price of admission.

DH loved the chaos but chaos was his line of work and for him the promotion and retirement bump was worth it.

If your broke paying the mortgage your broke not middle class.
While my experience in Castro Valley doesn't match yours, I do understand that the quality of life here in the Bay Area has significantly deteriorated over the last 30 to 50 years. I grew up in San Mateo and moved to Castro Valley about 33 years ago. Since I've been here my whole life and all my family and friends are here I won't be leaving. I've just learned to accept all the changes.
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Old 02-22-2021, 10:05 AM   #91
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“There’s always a bigger fish.” - Han Solo

That means, there’s always a smaller fish, too, so I’m not sure what good categorization of one person vs. another into a completely amorphous “class” does. Carry on if you enjoy it, though.
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Old 02-22-2021, 10:23 AM   #92
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While my experience in Castro Valley doesn't match yours, I do understand that the quality of life here in the Bay Area has significantly deteriorated over the last 30 to 50 years. I grew up in San Mateo and moved to Castro Valley about 33 years ago. Since I've been here my whole life and all my family and friends are here I won't be leaving. I've just learned to accept all the changes.
I understand. We also met a handful of really good people we are attached to. We have been home (SoCal) since Dec 2 nd. We will be making our second trip to NorCal next week and a third in June for a wedding. Family and friends are really important ours have us in SoCal.

We have a friend that lives on 5 acres in Livermore the first time I visited I said to DH as much as I hate the Bay Area I would move there for that property but then again we couldn’t afford what it would cost today.
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Old 02-22-2021, 01:10 PM   #93
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We will be at about $85K (not including Roth conversion) in 2021 for 3 people in a moderate cost of living area. We could draw $8-$10K more and still be at a reasonable withdrawal rate.

It's a middle class income, but not an upper-middle class one.
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Old 02-22-2021, 01:33 PM   #94
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Yeah, that's not buying you a middle class existence in NJ unless you have a spouse with an income at least as high or preferably higher than yours. It's also why many police officers work 2nd jobs doing security work or something else.
Locally, though I don't know the starting salary for police officers (sure it's more than $34K) a LOT of officers receive OT and there are MANY opportunities - especially for ANY street work. Virtually any time a work crew needs to stop/redirect traffic, an officer has to be there. That doesn't mean they actually direct traffic - they just have to be there. Another perquisite that our officers earn after several years on the job is the ability to use their personal vehicle as their cruiser. They receive excellent compensation for this. I only bring this up because we don't know the details behind $34K/year. Knowing what officers actually earn/year would be more useful (and very difficult to find out - especially locally but YMMV.) Other than the obvious disadvantages of being an officer, locally it is considered a desirable occup*ation. Again, YMMV.
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Old 02-22-2021, 04:35 PM   #95
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Different agencies pay different rates. I am familiar with one in California that pays significantly more than the rate quoted for NJ.

The Sacramento Bee publishes salaries for all state employees in California. The salaries listed include all compensation, base, overtime, retiring employees vacation pay out. Some of the salaries are artificially high the year people retire.
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Old 02-22-2021, 04:40 PM   #96
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Different agencies pay different rates. I am familiar with one in California that pays significantly more than the rate quoted for NJ.

The Sacramento Bee publishes salaries for all state employees in California. The salaries listed include all compensation, base, overtime, retiring employees vacation pay out. Some of the salaries are artificially high the year people retire.

And great pensions. Maybe retiree health care plans. Even here in the midwest, they get some pretty sweet pensions and health care deals retiring young.
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Old 02-22-2021, 05:12 PM   #97
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Are we talking about people still working or those retired?

E.g. someone who sold a business and FiREd would probably be "managing" their mAGI to qualify for maximum ACA subsidies until becoming eligible for Medicare....e.g. selling specific lots, using a HELOC (setup before RE) to smooth consumption.

So their income & spending would not necessarily be related.
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Old 02-22-2021, 10:29 PM   #98
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My yearly spending would be around $57,000 - $58,000 including taxes and healthcare and travel. This is for 2 persons (DW and me). Cars paid. House $650/mo with hoa and taxes. Low cost area.
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Old 02-22-2021, 10:33 PM   #99
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Are we talking about people still working or those retired?
OP wasn't very clear on the matter, but he responded to me about that here:

https://www.early-retirement.org/for...ml#post2561900
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