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Home > Are you middle class? interesting article

Are you middle class? interesting article

March 25th, 2010 at 09:51 am

I ran across this interesting article about how to tell if you are middle class. Here is the link:


It's an interesting read and I wonder what you think about it.

Here is the run down:
*Middle class = $50,000 to $123,000 a year for family of four

*Home is worth $231,000, and makes$17,600 in mortgage payments

* Spends $12,400 per year on two medium-sized sedans

*Saves $4,100 for college expenses for two kids

*Saves $2,600 per year for retirement

*Spends $14,200 a year on living expenses

*net worth of about $84,00

I thought this was interesting:
"A median-income family that saved 3.2 percent of its income—roughly equivalent to the national saving rate—would sock away nearly $2,600 per year for retirement. Of course many families don't hit even that modest goal, and stock-market losses over the last several years have further shrunk the national nest egg."

I was flabbergasted at the $2,600 a year figure. That is so low.

I will say that we are squarely in the middle class income area, have two kids and seem like the "typical" demographic they are going for.

So here's how we stack up to average:
Our house is 1443 square feet and cost $154,000 (below average),we have no car payment at the moment (way below average), we put aside about $9,000 for college for our two kids (above average), no annual vacation, and we save about $20,000 a year for retirement in 401ks and IRAs. We both work, although I freelance so we don't have to pay for daycare.

How do you stack up?

9 Responses to “Are you middle class? interesting article”

  1. dmontngrey Says:

    I saw that article too - very interesting. We fall right in a lot of the categories - but we have no kids! So why do I feel like we don't have a lot of amenities the folks with kids do? I would venture a guess that they have a LOT more debt than we do.

  2. ceejay74 Says:

    I saw this article this morning too and found it interesting! I think I'll do a detailed post seeing how my family stacks up--I love stuff like this, even though median figures don't always give an accurate idea of how unique people's financial lives can be...

  3. Broken Arrow Says:

    Frightening numbers. The mortgage seems a bit high to me, and the saving is horrendously low. This is especially so if a family is earning towards the lower end of that income range.

    And that's just it. I would loosely interpret numbers like that to mean people are trying to buy too much relative to what they are bringing in. So, no wonder the saving is so low.

    In that context, the net worth does seem rather high. However, I'll bet it's all house equity, and given the recent housing bubble, I really doubt this is a practical number to rely on. Not that it's a good idea to leverage against the house anyways....

    Well, I guess the only good news is that I think I stack up fairly well also. Well, as my own person with one income, I don't quite stack up, even though I would be above average in savings and lowering expenses. However, if you were to half those figures (to adjust for dual-income), then I would look substantially better in every way.

    Well, either way, I can only do what I can.

  4. Doug Says:

    Salary: better than average, but still very much in the "middle class"
    Home: Worth $240k, but we're not spending that much on a mortgage (large down payments are good things). So . . . better than average
    Car: No car payments. Spend $760 for fuel pump . . . so, better than average.
    College: $5k for one child, so way better than average
    Retirement: Way better than average
    Living expenses: average
    Net worth: better than average.

    How do we stack up: Far better than the average middle class family. No doubt that means we'll be punished more because of our success.

  5. Ima saver Says:

    I don't know what we are. We make average money (middle class) but our house is 3200 square feet and worth $500,000. We have 6 vehicles and 4 are considered antique or sports cars.
    No debt except one car payment. Our net worth is much much better than average.

  6. monkeymama Says:

    I agree that the numbers are kind of scary. Then again, there is a huge difference between "lower middle class" and "upper middle class." I suppose this article focuses on the middle of the middle - which is interesting.

  7. littlemama Says:

    salary---definately middle class

    home---worth about $120,000.00---little over $6000.00 anually in house payments but pay two extra princ. pymts. each month.

    no car payments

    no college savings as of yet. need to get on that!

    retirement---at 5% as we are building our emergency fund.

    living expenses---below aveerage

    net worth---above average

  8. sharmanl Says:

    I just read this article. It was interesting. However, it assumes everyone is in a dual-income family, have car payments, and debt. I guess we are considered middle-class, but we have one car, one income, two houses, a good savings, average retirement, zero debt, and one child. Informative article, but could be discouraging for many Americans who have none of that mentioned, and are considered middle-class.

  9. Analise Says:

    Yes, it's an interesting article. I'd like to see something like this for retirees. Only some categories apply to us:

    Income - higher than median
    Housing Expense - lower, but value of homes higher
    Housing Size - smaller than average
    Medical Expenses - much lower
    Cars - much lower
    Vacations - much higher
    Savings (not college or retirement, though) - higher
    Net worth - Higher than average
    Spending - Higher
    Free time - We're retired!

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