9 ways to know if you're middle class

There's no hard-and-fast definition, but surveys show what kind of income and lifestyle you're likely to have if you -- and others -- think you're middle class.

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215Comments
Nov 30, 2012 10:06PM
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I consider myself middle class. For me, it is having health insurance, making enough money to pay the bills, having enough in savings to last 6 months if something awful would happen, going out to eat and to a movie once in awhile, taking a vacation every year (not something luxurious...just a week away from the day-to-day), having a decent house (3-2-2), and driving a car that is fairly new. However, all of this is tenuous and could collapse if you have a catastrophic health issue, lose your source of income or some other disaster should befall.
Nov 30, 2012 11:27PM
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What is really sad is that between my wife and I we make about 120,000 a year. But with student loans, car payments, day care, mortgage payments plus rising cost we barely make enough to cover the bills.  Just so you know that both vehicles have over  100,000 miles with one of them paid off.  We don't live extravagant and go out to eat but once a month.  My wife's student loan payment is 650 a month for the next 30 years for a job that only pays 36,000 a year.  Talk about a bad investment!!!!!!!!!  I don't see any of that mentioned in this so called middle class debate!!

Nov 30, 2012 9:44PM
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They are wrong on the political leaning, I make less than $50 K per yea and I'm voting Republican because they don't want to take my money and give it to useless people who don't want to work and want big screens, lobsters from their food stamps and free phones.
Nov 30, 2012 9:27PM
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There is no more middle class. Either you are wealthy and get all kinds of perks from the government or you are poverty and get things from the government like food stamps, medicaide, etc. Don't get me wrong-no one should go hungry, but I work with people who have kids out of wedlock, their boyfriends don't work, and they get all kinds of freebies even though they have made some very poor choices in life. I have 2 jobs and a very disabled spouse. We don't get any thing from anybody. Both of our boys were born a long time AFTER we were married. I am glad we do the right thing. It isn't easy, but I am still glad we have lived a moral life.
Nov 30, 2012 9:36PM
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Interesting that middle class is what we are, however, main worry is losing everything with one major illness, so really being middle class is very precarious in this day and age.  Only one hope to preserve  our  middle income is to stay healthy.
Nov 30, 2012 10:11PM
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According to those definitions am middle class.  I lost about half my retirement savings to the recession and a significant illness.  I live very carefully now, don't buy anything on credit, take modest vacations for mental health reasons, and went back to work full time after I retired.  I am in healthcare and have 30+ years of knowledge under my hat.  Good thing they didn't buy my body because it's shot.  I drive a subcompact and live in modest housing.  I hope and pray my money will last as long as I do because I see what happens to the poor elderly population on a daily basis.
Dec 1, 2012 1:17AM
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If you have to worry about being laid off because you don't have company stock options or a golden parachute, you're Middle Class.

 

If you've never received a company bonus, you're Middle Class.(A little flash - Hostess wants 19 people who were part of the brilliant management team that lead the company into 2 bankruptcies to be paid a total of $1.75M in bonuses while handling the company liquidation.  That's in addition to their salary)

 

If your raises haven't kept up with inflation for the last 10 years, you're Middle Class.

 

If you have a job where people who don't work 8 hours per day make sure you do, you're Middle Class.

 

If your parents had better benefits at their job than you do now, you're Middle Class.

 

If your vacation home and regular home are the same place, you're Middle Class.

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My husband and I fit 4 of them.  I thought we were middle class but according to this we're not that fortunate.  Not having a Target close by I shop at Wal-Mart. He has a secure job but I don't.  We have no health insurance because the premium is too high and the deductible is ridiculously high.  We are strong Republicans because we believe in fewer government handouts, not more, and less government control, not more.  We are slowly saving for a modest retirement, but cannot help our children get an education nor can we afford a week long vacation anywhere.  To us, a vacation is a long weekend at his folks' in another state.   Should I start standing in line for free handouts now?

Nov 30, 2012 11:21PM
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I never shop at Target because they wouldn't allow the Salvation Army bell ringers at their stores here.

I'm retired, kids are grown and gone, don't need college savings.  

Paid for my own education by working hard, while at the same time raising my family.

House paid off 20 years ago.

Living off 30% of my retirement income. 

Have no debts and shop wisely and never use credit cards.

Have excellent healthcare till Obamacare screws it up.

I'm an Independent who will never support Obama and his communist regime.

I am probably in a better position than most people, richer and poorer. 

A lot happier too.

My goal in life is to see the 28th Amendment pass, limiting government.

Where does this put me?

 

Dec 1, 2012 3:10AM
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OK, I'm middle class as are most people I know, but honestly....I don't think any of them were/are able to put away $48,000 for each of their kids' college education.  Anyone else think that number seems high?
Nov 30, 2012 10:12PM
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my wife and I got food stamps once.16 bucks a month,we said hell with it,it was'nt worth our time to deal with the ignorant fat bitches that work there
Nov 30, 2012 10:35PM
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Forget about being middle class, the 1% in this country are selling real Americans out you will all become slaves.

My sons company hires dozens of H1b visa engineers to replace what few American engineers are left after they lay off anyone over 30. I went to visit my son at his office and it seemed like I was in a forgien country, out of 200 or so engineers maybe 12 were Amercians who spoke with no accent. The place was crawling with engineers from India and China.

While our country struggles with 10% unemployment these anti-American companies fire our people and replace them with imported labor all in the name of greed and a bonus for themselves. There was even a video posted on U-tube where a law firm instructed American companies on how to fire their American workers and replace them with imported ones and get away with it.

Recently a law was introduced by the Republicans that would make it legal to import UN-LIMITED H1B visa workers to take what few decent paying jobs this country has left. Now they will not even have to move their operations to a forgien country but can just import the labor directly to take American jobs while enjoying our infrastructure and for the time being stable country.

So forget college, forget a future, learn to speak Chinese and if you are a young female learn to sell yourself because that is the only way young Americans will be able to survive once the Republicans and their 'job creator' too big to fail masters get through with this country.

Nov 30, 2012 8:46PM
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Interesting article, even though Wal-Mart has lower prices in my area than KMart.  The average salary for Middle Class is most likely different for different parts of the country.  The way things are going, the average salary is likely to go down.
Nov 30, 2012 10:13PM
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Well, this article shows how stupid the middle class can be if people are saving for their kid's college and going on vacations before saving for their own retirements.
Nov 30, 2012 11:40PM
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What separates the middle class from the wealthy is that we are concerned about money.

What separates the middle class from the poor is merely the number of weeks/months we could go without a job.

Yet we feel more kinship with the rich than the poor. Envy sympathy?

Dec 1, 2012 1:43AM
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Middle class means merchant, professional, etc.  The fake feelgood definitions of today are meaningless.  Working class is working class.  Pretending that everyone between Bill Gates and crack whores are middle class is useless.
Nov 30, 2012 11:37PM
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I was self employed for years barely making it into the middle class twice in ten years. I have a degree and have a high iq but without the economic resources to fund a few different business ventures, I failed. I now work at a factory and am working to pay off my debt from my failed business ventures. I don't blame anyone but myself though. I failed. I own a few rental properties and my tenants live better than I do and they don't have a job. They have a "free" house over their heads, a washer and dryer, a 50 or so inch hdtv and cable. They live way better than I do. I struggle to get by every month. They have all their expenses plus brand new clothes, shoes, and entertainment paid for..... somehow by me and others who are middle class and wealthy. When my mom was a child, her family was pretty much poor. Her mom had TB and her dad was working but was an alcoholic. She lived in a 2 bedroom house with her parents and her 2 brothers and sister. They didn't have seperate rooms. Now an actual family and 3 kids can barely get assistance becuse there are so many women having kids with nonexistent fathers. My mom and dad scraped by for years to put my sister and I through college which we both did but now there are so few decent paying jobs that it was pointless. And we are all taxed and regulated to death that it's almost pontless to even make a decent amount of living which makes me think that my tenants are smarter than I am. Have a bunch of kids and you don't have to work your butt off. The government..... OH Wait   rich people have to take care of you.
Dec 2, 2012 1:43PM
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I was homeless at 16 and was very living for years with making less than half what our government considers poverty income. I decided after becoming a single parent with 3 kids at a very young age to change all that.  I now make over $250,000 a year taxable income by working 7 days a week and having other investment income. I have been careful about what I spend over the last 38 years of my working life. I have now raised and educated 3 children as a single parent and am now solely caring for my elderly parents on my own dime. I have done all this without one penny of government money. I do not consider myself wealthy due to the long work hours I do weekly. I consider myself middle class and resent the fact that there are those our there who believe government should tax the highest income earners to pay for those who will not get off there duff and work hard. Anyone can do it if they put their mind to it. Lets start looking at ways to encourage people to take care of themselves and their families without government handouts.
Nov 30, 2012 10:05PM
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I'm not sure if I have a group, or class that I fit in, My friends think I'm doing well because I don't have a job or a business that brings in the dollars. The real deal is, I earned low middle class earning in the late 60's through early 90's. Saved 1/2 of what I earned and it grew pretty well when I was earning 6% on savings. Building my family home and planning ahead, planting fruit trees, acres of Christmas trees, making biodiesel, installing solar electric and solar water, all helps me save money and enjoy life. I've managed to own my own private aircraft, two homes, newer cars and trucks, get three kids educated, and grand kids going in the right direction. I'm guessing that middle class is the American dream. In my eye view, it is all hype. I say that because I know some people who have so much money that they will never live long enough to spend 10% of it and they are low class folks, and on the other end of the yard stick is a very poor family I know who stand in line at a local Church to get some community food bank help and they are very high class people. Money does NOT make who you are. Middle class is a con job. Just like the paper we carry that we get for our work. Those US Dollars are a con job being played on the American people. It is about bigger, faster, newer, better educated, swimming pools, new SUV every other year. All designed to create tax income. I have seen the guy behind the curtain, pulling the levers and adjusting the smoke and mirrors to make people they are in OZ, guess what folks, everyone is middle class except for Warren Buffet and the guy in NYC who got the pair of shoes from the Cop the other day. We are all middle class,,,
Nov 30, 2012 9:13PM
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