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Income Poll - Page 4

Poll Results: What is your annual household income?

 
  • 5% (30)
    Less than $20,000
  • 8% (44)
    $20,000 to $29,000
  • 12% (64)
    $30,000 to $39,000
  • 10% (53)
    $40,000 to $49,000
  • 12% (62)
    $50,000 to $59,000
  • 12% (61)
    $60,000 to $69,000
  • 7% (37)
    $70,000 to $79,000
  • 5% (28)
    $80,000 to $89,000
  • 4% (24)
    $90,000 to $99,000
  • 20% (101)
    $100,000 or more
504 Total Votes  
post #61 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daisie125 View Post
I'm starting to wonder if some of this isn't a matter of perspective (please don't think I'm picking on anyone here) but perhaps what I think of as struggling is what other people think of as dirt poor.
I totally agree that it is a matter of perspective, to some degree. I think that my perspective comes from my parents, as I'm sure many others' does too. I just know that growing up, my mom was a SAHM, and my dad made 30k/year. Somehow, they were able to afford a house, 4 acres of land in the country and two used honda civics. They gave me a great childhood, and even though I know that they must have had significant financial struggles, I never went without school supplies or new clothes or sports lessons. And after my father died, my mother worked to make sure I could go to college and have a better life.

And now here I am, with a DH who makes over 3x what my dad did, the same number of kids, and a mountain of student loan and medical-related credit card debt that we just can't seem to overcome. And I'll be honest - every time I look at our budget, I'm just as shocked as many of the posters in this thread that we can't seem to find the savings and disposable income that my parents had, when we make so much more. I wouldn't have believed it either if I hadn't seen the numbers!

But still, it is about perspective. Sure, we have medical debt, but we wouldn't even have been able to get the medical treatments if we didn't have the income to get the credit. Then where would we be? And yes, the student loan debt seems enormous, but without his education, we certainly wouldn't be able to make the payments now. Still, it feels like a craps-shoot sometimes. I can't help but compare myself to my parents at my age and wonder why it doesn't work like I thought it would.
post #62 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by ItsBasilThyme View Post
That's really awesome, Daisie. It makes me really optimistic to hear about others who have been able to buy through forclosures and low down payment options. Anyway, I'm totally getting off topic, but I appreciated the response!
There are plenty of places in this country where you can buy a normal 3-4 bedroom home (not through foreclosure or anything like that) for $60,000.
post #63 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daisie125 View Post
I'm starting to wonder if some of this isn't a matter of perspective (please don't think I'm picking on anyone here) but perhaps what I think of as struggling is what other people think of as dirt poor... we probably are "struggling" in other people's eyes. DH and I have lived literally on bread and water and ramen noodles for WEEKS. I've been homeless with zero income before. (Thankfully we had enough friends and family that we were able to couch jump through that) When we got our first apartment and DH made 225/week and our rent was 640 a month... THAT was struggling to me. We had $260 a month to pay all of our bills and eat.
Dirt poor to me is the way my best friend grew up. No father, mother dead at age 6. Raised by a grandmother with no income. Money stollen by older sister. Living in a place where rats crawled on her when she slept. Going hungry all the time. Having less then $100/month for all food and expenses after rent. Dirt poor is walking because you literally cannot afford to ride the bus AND eat.

By the way she manged to get herself to the number one liberal arts college in the country and get a secondary degree while sending money home to her grandmother every month. Interestingly she is less sympathetic to the "I wasn't priveleged so I have not suceeded in life" line then anyone else I know. She figures if she could make it, anyone can make it - they just have to make better choices - really discussing things like this with her is fascinating.
post #64 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joyster View Post
I definitely agree, and I know my political party (NDP or socialist for non Canadians) has been making as much noise as we can about the economy and that the gap is growing bigger and bigger, and that there is something fundamentally flawed with that.
Actually, it's not flawed when you live in a meritocratic and capitalist society. As incomes rise across the board (as is happening for the most part in the US, not sure about Canada), those who make more will make much more. And increase in income inequality does not equal an increase in poverty. The poor are not getting poorer and the vast majority of Americans and Canadians are actually middle class.

Problems do occur when the price of goods increases faster relative to incomes - which is what is happening now. Especially food and health care. Although perceptions of necessities are also changing quickly in our society of consumption.
post #65 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daisie125 View Post
I'm starting to wonder if some of this isn't a matter of perspective.
Definitely a matter of perspective. Such as, I'm looking at it like this:

Imagine you earn about $100/month. No, that's not a typo. $100. Granted cost of living expenses ae low, but against the income they're insurmountable. To feed a couple of people you spend easily $20 a week. You spend about $1 a week on transportation, so that leaves you $6 per month to think about clothes, housing, utilities, and any medical needs for your family. And in the grand scheme of things, you're doing pretty well compared to a lot of others.

This is Egypt. This is modern, urban, educated Egypt. We know way too many pushing-thirty men working jobs that won't even cover that much, living with their parents because their parents at least own their apartments from back when the economy was better, dreaming of getting married and having families but finding just no way.

In America ... my perspective just won't let me see driving a used Saturn rather than a Lexus and so on as struggling. I get that it's different for people who've only ever been here though.
post #66 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by LolaK View Post
Dirt poor to me is the way my best friend grew up. No father, mother dead at age 6. Raised by a grandmother with no income. Money stollen by older sister. Living in a place where rats crawled on her when she slept. Going hungry all the time. Having less then $100/month for all food and expenses after rent. Dirt poor is walking because you literally cannot afford to ride the bus AND eat.

By the way she manged to get herself to the number one liberal arts college in the country and get a secondary degree while sending money home to her grandmother every month. Interestingly she is less sympathetic to the "I wasn't priveleged so I have not suceeded in life" line then anyone else I know. She figures if she could make it, anyone can make it - they just have to make better choices - really discussing things like this with her is fascinating.
I just have a hard time understanding these points of view- like your friend who had to struggle so hard. Why is it so hard for her to see that others struggle too, and maybe don't quite make it? I could tell you all the sob stories in the world about how my beloved father died, and my older sister was in a mental institution, and how my mother was hospitalized throughout my highschool years. But I couldn't live with my grandparents because they were all dead. So I payed the bills from my cashier's money and lied to teachers so they'd believe that my mom was able to take care of me, because I didn't want to have to give up the house they'd worked so hard for, and trade it in for a foster home. Why? Why should I have to explain any of it so I live up to the standards of your friend? Yes I have debt. No, I don't believe it's my fault in the traditional sense. Yes, I managed to get into the number 1 aerospace engineering school in the country (MIT) and graduate. So what? That doesn't make life easier when I'm raising children and trying to make ends meet while helping my mother pay off my sister's medical bills because she's schizophrenic. I don't assume that just because I "made it" that anyone else could too. I don't understand the resistance to sympathy. Sympathy costs nothing. I would never begrudge it to anyone.
post #67 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by ItsBasilThyme View Post
I just have a hard time understanding these points of view- like your friend who had to struggle so hard. Why is it so hard for her to see that others struggle too, and maybe don't quite make it? I could tell you all the sob stories in the world about how my beloved father died, and my older sister was in a mental institution, and how my mother was hospitalized throughout my highschool years. But I couldn't live with my grandparents because they were all dead. So I payed the bills from my cashier's money and lied to teachers so they'd believe that my mom was able to take care of me, because I didn't want to have to give up the house they'd worked so hard for, and trade it in for a foster home. Why? Why should I have to explain any of it so I live up to the standards of your friend? Yes I have debt. No, I don't believe it's my fault in the traditional sense. Yes, I managed to get into the number 1 aerospace engineering school in the country (MIT) and graduate. So what? That doesn't make life easier when I'm raising children and trying to make ends meet while helping my mother pay off my sister's medical bills because she's schizophrenic. I don't assume that just because I "made it" that anyone else could too. I don't understand the resistance to sympathy. Sympathy costs nothing. I would never begrudge it to anyone.
Well if you ever meet my friend you can ask her yourself.

Part of the problem is that the "American Dream" has been too well sold. Lots of people think that they should be able to work hard and get rich. That just isn't the way the world works, not everyone is going to make enough to have a private jet. For most people on MDC they totally understand that and mostly just want to be able to raise their kids with a modicum of comfort. Many people in America don't consider that to be enough I guess.
post #68 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by LolaK View Post
Well if you ever meet my friend you can ask her yourself.

Part of the problem is that the "American Dream" has been too well sold. Lots of people think that they should be able to work hard and get rich. That just isn't the way the world works, not everyone is going to make enough to have a private jet. For most people on MDC they totally understand that and mostly just want to be able to raise their kids with a modicum of comfort. Many people in America don't consider that to be enough I guess.
Ha! I completely agree - a private jet? I consider myself incredibly fortunate when I can fly coach on a commercial aircraft. I'm sure "modicum of comfort" is probably a perspective thing too. I just want to be able to enroll my kids in gymnastics or soccer. Having extra for a summer vacation in the car would be amazing. I think we all mostly have the same goals. No one's asking for a summer in Tuscany .

In all seriousness, I agree that the "American Dream" has been sold past it's prime. Between race, ability, and family privilege, etc. it's just not possible for many people. I just think that sympathy and empathy should be universal. It's so little to ask. Maybe the goals we were brought up with are out of our reach, but they're worth still reaching for, right?
post #69 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedWine View Post
I'm defining affluent as never having to budget.

Not having to hesitate signing up for whatever classes your kids want ot take.
Being able to afford two cars,
have a nice retirement account in the making,
being able to travel overseas every year for 2-3 weeks.
Splurgin on designer shoes without giving it a second's thought.
Not reckless spending, but being able to afford nice stuff all the time without ever having to worry about the price tag.
Center orchestra seats for every theater production you go to.
Fine dining once a week (plus the babysitter's fee).

I dunno...we were just a an awards ceremony where most people had at least $50 million...a house on Park Avenue plus a house in the South of France, etc. Now THAT'S affluent! So perhaps my perception of wealthy has been recently warped.
Love you to pieces redwine! to answer you ??s We make about 100K or so.

I'm defining affluent as never having to budget. We budget!

Not having to hesitate signing up for whatever classes your kids want ot take. I am able to do that, but my kids have inexpensive tastes and only take one at a time!

Being able to afford two cars,- we afford two paid for cars real well!

have a nice retirement account in the making,- we recently hit our goal- have over 100K in retirement by the time dh is 35. He turned 35 last friday and we are 30K over our goal!!

being able to travel overseas every year for 2-3 weeks. Well we have passports for the family but thats about it!


Splurgin on designer shoes without giving it a second's thought. I do this but only every few years and then I wear them- a lot!! Or I snag them on ebay.

Not reckless spending, but being able to afford nice stuff all the time without ever having to worry about the price tag. I afford nice stuff but I check the price and then check craigslist or ebay

Center orchestra seats for every theater production you go to. A dream I have....

Fine dining once a week (plus the babysitter's fee). Actaully my figure cannot afford fine dining and dh cannot afford the $ of the dinner and sitter.

and the awards dinner people- not people I want as neighbors IMHO.

So our salary has afford me the chance to stay home without another thought way back when. But we also prioritize our spending. We started building our retirement early on in our marriage as well as our real estate. We have a basic cable package, two paid for cars, cook from scratch, live a simple lifestyle etc. And yes, we have some nicer things than some others but we would wait until we could afford them and pay cash etc or get a gently used item etc. We live in a very humble abode in a nice older neighborhood packed with very down to earth people. Our large backyard has a huge rainbow system swingset. They run about 5K-6K. Guess what- a friend was taking his down since his kids outgrew it. We bought it for $250 after we agreed to take it down and move it to our house and put up again. We stained it and its as good as new, but not for 5K!! We are frugal etc which is good because our cost of living is higher than other parts of the country and yes 100K would get eaten up in a metro area because of taxes, gas, rent or mortgage, and groceries etc are costly compared w other areas
post #70 of 200
We make just under $39k. Or we will (dh just started this job). Which is a lot more money than I could have ever dreamed of!

Unfortunately, that doesn't include health or any other insurance, student loan debt, credit card debt from having to constantly move to find a decent job, etc.

And on this income, even without our enormous debt, we live in the cheapest place we could find which is a gang-land, quite literally, we fear for our safety, and we still don't have enough money for groceries.

But me working isn't an option. Between childcare, rampant unemployment, and the fact that I couldn't get a job that would even cover gas or daycare for one kid (I am about to have 4), SAH is the cheapest option.
post #71 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2mama View Post
We make around $65K a year and are comfortable. I think that it's absurd that there so many people stating "that a $100,000 doesn't go as far as it used to" and such. I know that once you make more you tend to by more expensive things without thinking. I also realize that going natural tends to cost more but I think pleople really need to examine thier spending habits if it is "tight" and they are making 6 figures..
I'm just going to assume by your last sentance that you don't live in an area with a high COL. It's not just housing that's more expensive here, it's everything. My family freaks when they visit, and go to the grocery store.

We do our best to make from scratch and in bulk (for freezing), I have a decent organic garden from which I grew from seeds in the basement that helps supplement us for summer produce and freezing/canning. We own our cars (3 & 8yo), and we don't carry credit card debt. But we do budget, we have to. We put a little away in savings most months, and we put the max 401K away throughout the year.

But what I hate about these polls, is that those that are in the 100+ category - and we are solidly in that, are put down for spending habits (should we need to budget) or viewed as some holy grail of wage earners.

If we lived where I grew up, and DH had this income level - we would be beyond well off. My dad makes 1/2 what my DH does, and they live like there is no tomorrow with two teenagers at home (late in life spoiled kids I might add).

Oh yes, and we can't forget taxes in higher COL areas... House tax is a killer here. I'm surprised anyone making under $80K can even afford a house period, especially after you factor in taxes. The lowest taxes on our street this year was an assessment of $7900 on a 2450sqft basic house.

We also have a special needs son, whom we've paid a minimum of $7500 out of pocket, each year since he was born (not including insurance premiums). We make too much to write it off on taxes, but since that's after tax - yeah, it hurts. Unlike programs in some states, in our particular state we don't qualify for fully funded programs for special needs due to income limits.

But that's neither here nor there. There's just an assumption that we need to examine our spending habits. Well, we took $1500 out of savings last month in order to cover medical bills. Thank god we have savings, but we can't replace that in a single month - it will take quite a bit more to replace that. In the meantime, who knows what other bills will pop up unexpectedly - because you know, rich or poor or somewhere in between, we all have them.
post #72 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amys1st View Post

and the awards dinner people- not people I want as neighbors IMHO.
Rich people can be nice and good too. I'm just saying is all.
post #73 of 200
Quote:
Part of the problem is that the "American Dream" has been too well sold. Lots of people think that they should be able to work hard and get rich.
But is the American Dream about getting rich?
post #74 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delta View Post
But is the American Dream about getting rich?
Um, yes. Maybe not to you but if you pay any attention at all to the media in this country you would know that the American Dream is all about having tons of money, oh and being really, really, pretty and having a hunk for a husband while raising two super smart kids.

Obviously there are some well adjusted people left in this country who don't subscribe to craziness like that but it is what people are bombarded with every day.
post #75 of 200
Cost of living is very high where we live (average home price is 500,000). DH also insists on saving about half his salary. So between these two pressures we live as though we were just above poor. I've had to restructure and budget harshly the past few months. We live in a not so great neighborhood (average home price in my neighborhood is 350,000, so we're below average) and I am the only SAH on my street. One lady on my street recently lost her job so she is unwillingly SAHMing but she is looking for a job.
post #76 of 200
Dh makes aroun $35K a year we struggle with our bills part of that is poor budgeting on our part but we are working on that.

As to cost of living we built our very nice 2 bedroom, 2 bath house ( I have no idea total square feet) for just over $65K the 3.5acres it sits on cost us just over $7,000. Cost of living is very low here. Our 20 year mortgage is $523 month. Land taxes are just over $560 a year.
post #77 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amys1st View Post

and the awards dinner people- not people I want as neighbors IMHO.
Actually, they were extremely nice and a lot of fun to hang out with. I not only would want them as my neighbors...I want to BE one of them. $50 million? I'll take it. With that much money I'd probably be very happy and laid back too.
post #78 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by LolaK View Post
So I have to ask, everyone who posted saying their household income is over $100K also pointed out that they are struggling in some way, or don't have new things, or aren't extravegant. What is wrong with making a good income? Why do you guys sound almost guilty about having money??
We make 91K a year, not quite 100, but I'll bite. In the area where I live, it doesn't really feel like we make a lot of money. We rent. We are just now, after 10 years of marriage, looking to buy a house. Our rent on a 1970's era 1200 sq ft condo with no upgrades is 1700 per month. The houses we are looking to buy are in the upper 500K range and are just basic 3 bedroom 2 bath houses, nothing extravagent at all. So it's not that I'm apologetic about making money, but with the cost of living here, I certainly don't feel rich.
post #79 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
The rest of us ... whether at 40k or 100k ... the tendency to say "oh, it's not so much" is nagging at me a little bit. I'm not dripping gold, and neither are you. I'm not 100% debt-free, and neither are you. I'm not driving fancy cars, living in mansions, or sitting on huge nest eggs, and neither are you. But we're still affluent ... we're still incredibly blessed.
This is true too. I feel really lucky that we don't struggle. It's just the posts that assume someone making that amount is able to fill thier house with lots of big purchases and have everything they want. I have everything I need and some of what I want and consider myself really lucky. However, if you came into my house and looked around, I doubt you'd correctly guess how much money we make. Our t.v. is 10 yrs old. We have mostly hand me down furniture. I'm not trying to make us out to be destitute and I don't mean to sound ungrateful for what we have. The reality is, that in the state I live in, in order to live in a good, safe, area, you have to make a lot of money. So most of what we are paying for (a safe, low crime area with good schools) you can't see. I feel very lucky that we are able to do that.
post #80 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittycat9 View Post
But what I hate about these polls, is that those that are in the 100+ category - and we are solidly in that, are put down for spending habits (should we need to budget) or viewed as some holy grail of wage earners.
I just wanted to comment on this...
I'm sorry you feel this way- don't worry, it goes the other way too.
We make a little over 20k (I think I said this earlier but it seems like it was a post way early in this thread). We make it work, I can spare you the details. But we are on WIC and ds and I are on state health care (I feel pretty guilty about this); I think in large part because of this (but maybe not) I have a friend who is constantly questioning our spending (why we bought a wrap, but not a britax- for instance). This is really draining as I don't want to feel like I have to explain our budge to her. I think we're doing an awesome job and have valid reasons for our choices but I shouldn't have justify them, iykwim?
I guess I'm just trying to say that I sympathize and I'm sorry you feel judged.
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