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What is your economic status relative to how you grew up? - Page 3

Poll Results: What is your economic class relative to how you grew up?

  • 28% (81)
  • 26% (75)
    The Same
  • 41% (116)
  • 3% (10)
282 Total Votes  
post #41 of 90
much, much poorer. Strange thing is we are less stressed about money than our parents are. None of our family is concerned with frugality or being smart with their money, which definately changes things.

Mom isn't able to support herself on more than twice what we are making (more like three times plus she had my brother paying half of everything) and we have 4 people to take care of!!!

IL's make more money than anyone I know yet they are always crying about how poor they are. Stop spending money hand over fist and that problem will go away is what I often want to say.
post #42 of 90
My mom was a single mom. My sister and I didn't always get the latest and greatest new thing out there like nintendo or whatever, but our needs were always met. I was never aware of any financial strain except for one winter when my mom was getting divorced. We had electric heat. She slept with a coat on, but she didn't make me push my therostat down.

I wish I could say I was doing as well as my mom. However, I'm not sure that is possible while being home with my kids.
post #43 of 90
Originally Posted by bwylde View Post
IL's make more money than anyone I know yet they are always crying about how poor they are. Stop spending money hand over fist and that problem will go away is what I often want to say.
My mother is like this. She'll complain that she can't afford something big like a new deck (her current desire) but she'll buy a $5 piece of crap and say 'So what if it turns out to be crap, it was only $5!'. :
post #44 of 90
I think we are still technically middle class and I grew up in the middle class. So different though!

We live with a small savings and make the bills each month but not much more. We rent and have one car. Dh works a full time job that pays dramatically under what it used to be worth. I work a part time minimum wage job.

My parents both made 6 figures or really close to that each (pilot and air traffic controller). They had enough to pay a mortgage, getting a lake house, have 3-4 cars, take multiple vacations a year, buy fun things like canoes or jet skis whenever they want, and help out less fortunate relatives.

We may both be middle class but there is a huge difference!
post #45 of 90
My husband and I met in the middle- he grew up in the highest earning bracket and I grew up in the lowest, with about 9 of my childhood years spent on AFDC while my parents tried their hands at various educational goals. Literally at different points our annual income ($7000) was less than my husband's parents every two week income.

We earn very far above the median US household income but in our expensive city, we are solidly middle class. We do not have advanced degrees and my husband actually only works pt and goes to school. We pay our mortgage easily, have savings and investments, own our car free and clear, eat very well, get all of the things we need and a lot of what we want. No debt except the mortgage and we can donate to causes we support. So I consider myself positively rich by comparison to my parents when they were raising a family. I also consider myself rich by comparison to my ILs but that would be for different reasons. We are way happier than they were- money can't buy happiness.

My parents often had to wait for weeks or months to replace too small or worn out shoes and we rarely got new clothing except from holiday angel sponsorship. Most Christmases, someone from church or a food bank or an adopt a family type thing provided our food and gifts. One year, our main gift from the food bank was a puzzle that turned out to be missing pieces, a fact we were were disappointed to learn after a week of puzzling it out. While I don't care about the used clothing and buy some for my son, I have a compulsion about making sure he has plenty of shoes that are well fitting and not worn out. My brother has the same and his daughter is too little to walk. We also go all out for the families we sponsor for the holidays- 1 family we delivered to today got a hundred+ dollars worth of toys, games and books for their school age son, a whole wardrobe of clothes and a coat for him, a nice stroller for their newborn, clothes, toys and books for the newborn plus gifts for mom (haircut, nursing clothes, pampering items) and dad (music player) and eating out cards. It drives my mother nuts (I think she things we should spend that much on her, which we don't). That (shoes and holiday help) is the main way we try to make up for our childhood.

My mother comes from a long line of generational poverty and I am the first high school (and college) grad in her family and the first out of poverty, unless you count my debt fueled aunt. My mother is brilliant but never went to school as a child past 6th grade. My father comes from a middle class background filled with professional and college degrees. He was the poorest of his siblings as an adult.
post #46 of 90
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
Dh's parents have one associates degree between the two of them. And my mom has a bachelor's. Dh and I have 2 higher level degrees between the two of us
The number of people with college degrees is WAY higher now than in my parents generation (my Dad is 65, mom is 54). While I agree with the well documented trend of earnings not keeping up with inflation, it is worth noting that the earning potentials for various education levels always drops by a lot as more and more people obtain it. High school graduates used to be hired for MANY jobs that you now "need" a BA, if not a MA for. Education levels for entry level jobs are higher than ever before, because the supply of educated workers is such that an employer can pick and choose among educated people. Take for example teaching, which used to require a 1-2 year certificate post high school and now in many districts demands a post graduate degree. My old employer now asks for a BA for a job I did in college without an AA and that pays all of $10-14/hour. : I was unaware that you need to be able to make it though 4 years of college to answer phones and take registrations for parenting groups.
post #47 of 90
I grew up middle class and lived with my parents and 2 younger brothers in a small crowded house. Mom is a nurse and took time off when we were babies/preschoolers and then went back part time so they are totally supportive of me doing what I can to be SAHM. Although we never struggled for money growing up I remember my parents being pretty wasteful of some of the money we had ie just buying small useless items for no apparent reason so I am trying to learn from that. It helps that I married an accountant who keeps me in line We are still middle class but seem to be doing better financially then we were when I was growing up. Different choices and different priorities.
post #48 of 90
I grew up in a classless society - everybody was dirt poor. We were so poor people rarely locked their doors because nobody had anything of value. If somebody ate instant noodles they were considered fancy. My parents became upper middle class later after I left home. DH's parents are middle class and we're middle class right now.
post #49 of 90
It's really hard to say because my parent's financial status fluctuated a lot when I was growing up. Throughout most of my childhood they were really struggling -- partly low-wage work, partly bad financial decisions, and partly my dad's PTSD/Alcoholism and then their divorce. But after the divorce both my parents ended up doing reasonably well for themselves and were solidly middle and even upper-middle class.

DH and I are definately middle class at the moment. We make just over the median household income on my salary alone, and with him in the job market we'll be in a higher income bracket still. We also don't have the whole substance abuse/PTSD/Divorce issue. So in some ways I feel like we're doing really well. On the other hand, we're carrying a huge amount of debt from the educations we needed to get to be able to hit that income level, and we're living in an economy where the basic needs of a family (shelter, day care, food, car, etc.) take a bigger bite than they did when I was a kid. So I don't feel like really we're that better off than my parents were after all.
post #50 of 90
Call me ignorant, but I don't understand really what lower or middle or upper or lower-middle or middle-upper class mean...are there clear delineations or is it a relative thing (relative to one's community?)?
Someone please fill me in?
post #51 of 90
I grew up poor. DH grew up working class (lower middle). We are pretty solidly middle class right now. It wasn't until I earned my degree and started working a job with benefits that we went from living paycheck to paycheck to having some extras and not feeling panicked about how we would deal with emergencies.
post #52 of 90
I voted the same but really we are doing better. I grew up on welfare and we never owned a home. DH and I only make 24K but we don't get foodstamps or WIC and we own a house' a car and a 2007 motorcycle outright and we have no debt. DH is a SAHD now, he was poor growing up, his mom never worked and SA collecting welfare. DH left home at 16 (he and I met at job corps when we were 17) We both have GED and no higher degree. DH is a self taught computer programmer http://reviews.chemicalkungfu.de/index.php?game=4 and hopes to someday his Redhat certifications so he can get a good job working for Linux.
post #53 of 90
Hard to say. Maybe it's better because the house I grew up in was more of a fixer-upper. But otherwise it feels like it's the same as how I grew up.

For DH it's definitely way better than how he grew up. They were really dirt poor.
post #54 of 90
Much lower, and it's been hard to adjust to. Our finances are improving though so perhaps in ~10 years I might be back to "normal."
post #55 of 90
Interesting poll & topic. I consider us "middle class" and my DH and I are both well educated. But my family growing up was in a lot better shape economically, I think. Their mortgage payment was a smaller portion of their income. We took lots of vacations and my parents had more disposable income than my DH and I do. I just think the situation is very different in terms of the economy then and now. When I was younger, I expected that by now I would be more comfortable and secure--have a huge boatload of savings, etc. While we both have retirement savings and the like, the "boatload of savings" part hasn't happened. Housing, transportation, etc. costs are real barriers for us. I still have hopes for the future, but my parents at my age were better off financially than we are.
post #56 of 90


Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
I voted the same even though it is not quite true. We live as comfortably as my (and dh's for that matter) parents did but we make much less. We have different priorities (small house, one car, no fancy vacations, cook from scratch) so our income stretches much further. We also choose to live in an area with much lower cost of living but are "paying" for it with much reduced income. Dh and I both have multiple engineering degrees and could make a BUTTLOAD of money and be "upper middle class" if we both worked full time in our field. But, that would require us to live in a location with a higher standard of living and IMO, a lower quality of living. As it is, dh works two jobs, one full and one part time, neither in his field. And both jobs are very flexible, low pressure, and make dh happy. I work very part time in my field (just to keep the probably useless resume current) but am mainly a sahm.

We are very happy with where we are. We occasionally hit hard times and recently a VERY hard time when dh was unemployed and I was working as a bartender. But that is a choice we are making. We could move and be much more "successful". But that measure of success is not meaningful to us so we chose not to. Our parents shake their heads at our tiny old house and dd's second hand clothing, but we feel fulfilled so poo on them I am sure we would feel much differently about our situation if it was not a choice we could step away from at any point.

As a side note, I would like to add that it is my theory that we (as in the currently 25-40 yos) are the first generation to do "worse" than our parents financially. Although I consider ourselves to be doing "as well" as our parents even though we are choosing to earn and live below our means, the equation does not add up. Dh's parents have one associates degree between the two of them. And my mom has a bachelor's. Dh and I have 2 higher level degrees between the two of us in fields that traditionally make much more money than our parent's fields yet our total earning potential matches. Something is not right.
How do you get to this point? I wish my husband could get there...
post #57 of 90
Definitely lower than it was when I was growing up. My mom was a SAHM until I was in middle school (my younger brother was in elem. school) and she went back for another master's degree and became a teacher.
My dad has a PhD and is an engineer, so together they made pretty good money.
I am a nursing student and DH is a chef and we live in a pretty expensive area (CT) so it's tough for one-income families.
post #58 of 90
i voted other...

growing up my parents owned a home--currently we do not/ we rent a craptastic apartment
never had to worry about food, went to restaurants and such weekly
-now-- my parents bought us groceries two weeks ago...
always wore/had nice things--- ( haven't really boughten clothes for anyone in my family( inlaws buy clothes for my kids.. )

however- my hubby and i do not have any addictions like my parents have, and hubby makes more money then my dad does( even though they are in the job field) also my parents had filed 3 bankruptcies... we came close but never filed.

i think we will be better off as soon as our debt disapears... then i can really say where we fit in...
post #59 of 90
I voted other because two years ago, before my dh was laid off, he made way more money than our dads did. Since then, he makes about 60% of what he used to make which drops us down to their income level (pre-retirement). HOWEVER, the COL is so much higher and we have 5 kids plus a disabled cousin to look after.

I just think there's no comparison between the two situations, yk?

Regarding education levels...we are encouraging our children to apprentice, if at all possible. It is just not cost effective to get a college degree anymore unless you have a very specific field in mind, ie. engineering or medical. When you factor in time and tuition it really makes you wonder if it's worth it, yk?
post #60 of 90
Lower. I grew up probably in upper-middle class. Learned how to drive in a Mercedes. Never was in need of anything and we were always debt-free.

DH though was super-poor. He's was one of the only white kids in a neighborhood near the 9th ward in New Orleans. To him, a teachers salary is big bucks!
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