You know how class has been a big topic in the media lately, and magazines and sites are offering all these charts and such so you can see whether you are in the top 1% or the bottom fifth or whatever, right?
Whenever I look on these charts to see where I am, two things stand out for me:
1) The charts say we make a lot of money. (Income affluent)
2) The charts say we have among the lowest net worths. (Bank statement poor)
Honestly, our $40k income is not bad at all, and we pay all the bills just fine. I just don't see us as upper middle class on that income. We live in a working class town. We don't have what I assume most Americans have - cable, two cars, etc. It seems like even working class people buy entertainment (our budget for that is zero), clothes (almost zero), even beverages (we don't buy beer, wine or even soda). So I'm having a hard time believing that we are in the elite for income.
And the other thing is that we are apparently the bottom of the barrel for net worth. I realize our net worth is not at all impressive. However, I thought we had more than most of our peers - just for having a positive net worth at all. I read that most Americans could not cover a $1000 emergency. So how is it that your average American has a net worth of tens or even hundreds of thousands but doesn't have a thousand bucks in the bank? Don't tell me it's equity in the home; last I checked, the bubble burst years ago. Our net worth is roughly $8k, accounting for our home (which lost value since we bought it, but luckily we're a bit above water on), our mortgage, our student loans, our cash savings and our retirement savings. Now I know $8k is really terrible, actually, but I look around at the people who live in my area, and I can't imagine that many of them have any more than that. In fact, we worked really hard and made many sacrifices (some listed in the previous paragraph) to get where we are.
So, it's strange and unsettling to see that, though we are extremely frugal and have worked hard on being financially responsible, that in fact we are doing terribly compared to the average American who has a significantly higher net worth on a much lower income than us.