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#1 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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http://www.nydailynews.com/money/200...six_figur.html

I just read this article about how much a New Yorker must make in order to live a middle class life. I really think it's about time that the true erosion of the middle class made the news. I live in a high COL place, but this is really insane!

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Among the findings:

*
A New Yorker would have to make $123,322 a year to have the same standard of living as someone making $50,000 in Houston.
*
In Manhattan, a $60,000 salary is equivalent to someone making $26,092 in Atlanta.
*
You knew it was expensive to live in Manhattan, but Queens? The report tagged Queens the fifth most expensive urban area in the country.
*
The average monthly rent in New York is $2,801, 53% higher than San Francisco, the second most expensive city in the country.
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#2 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 04:46 PM
 
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$2800 for rent!!!!!!???????????

(faints)

i pay $525 rent for my newly remodeled 1800 square foot 4 bedroom house on a half acre.

is it really worth living in a place like that with rent so high?

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#3 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 04:52 PM
 
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$2800 for rent!!!!!!???????????
Yup.

Here in the bay area, a 1 br apt in a decent neighborhood with no yard can go for $1200. In SF proper, a studio with shared bathroom can be $2000. Which is why most students will have 5 or 6 roommates.

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#4 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 05:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cravenab00 View Post
$2800 for rent!!!!!!???????????

(faints)

i pay $525 rent for my newly remodeled 1800 square foot 4 bedroom house on a half acre.

is it really worth living in a place like that with rent so high?
Yes, it is. My years living in New York were a wonderful experience that I will never regret.
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#5 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 05:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cravenab00 View Post
$2800 for rent!!!!!!???????????

(faints)

i pay $525 rent for my newly remodeled 1800 square foot 4 bedroom house on a half acre.

is it really worth living in a place like that with rent so high?
Are you kidding me???!!!! We are paying close to $1,000 here for our small 2 bedroom.

ETA: and if we lived in the "nice" part of town it'd be way more than that.

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#6 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 05:42 PM
 
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How is this the erosion of the middle class?

It's NYC...it is EXPENSIVE to live there. It's expensive to live in cities on the coasts.

But if someone really loves it there, then it is worth it to them.

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#7 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 05:43 PM
 
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Are you kidding me???!!!! We are paying close to $1,000 here for our small 2 bedroom.

ETA: and if we lived in the "nice" part of town it'd be way more than that.

That's comparable to the great Los Angeles area. Our neighborhood is pretty ordinary as far as middle-class areas go, and there are currently 2 houses for rent on our street. Both are around 1600 sq. feet, 3 bedrooms/2 baths, and have fairly ho-hum interiors with small backyards. They're both available for $2500 and $2600 a month. That's cheap compared to living in nicer areas closer to the coast.
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#8 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 05:43 PM
 
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We lived on Long Island, about an hour's train ride into Manhattan, and the rent on our tiny 2 bedroom house that was over 100 years old and had severe plumbing issues cost $1400/month. And that was considered cheap.

We're now renting a house almost twice the size and in much better condition for $150 less per month. So glad we left NY.
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#9 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 05:46 PM
 
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The New Yorkers I know love New York...love it every way possible and couldn't imagine living anywhere else.

I know cities that I love and would pay a fortune to live there. There is something about the right city for the right person, it just sets your soul on fire to live somewhere you love.

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#10 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 05:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ruthiegirl View Post
The New Yorkers I know love New York...love it every way possible and couldn't imagine living anywhere else.

I know cities that I love and would pay a fortune to live there. There is something about the right city for the right person, it just sets your soul on fire to live somewhere you love.
:

it has always been my dream to live in manhattan (a designer's dream!) and once the kids are gone off to college, dh and i are planning to do just that. i'm more than happy to chuck the house, the cars and the stuff and live someplace that moves me. i plan to enroll back into school for my masters degree at either parsons or fit and live my dream! and we'll be roughly 44 when we do it!

ETA: of course, plans could change a tad between now and then (that's roughly 9 years away), but for now that's the plan!

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#11 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 06:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by msjd123 View Post
That's comparable to the great Los Angeles area. Our neighborhood is pretty ordinary as far as middle-class areas go, and there are currently 2 houses for rent on our street. Both are around 1600 sq. feet, 3 bedrooms/2 baths, and have fairly ho-hum interiors with small backyards. They're both available for $2500 and $2600 a month. That's cheap compared to living in nicer areas closer to the coast.
That's what houses go for rent around here, too. Then again we're not all that far a part (I'm in the Palm Springs area).

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#12 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 06:15 PM
 
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THings are expensive in New Work, and worse elsewhere in the world.

Before he got divorced and moved to DC, my BIL and his now-ex wife were paying over $2000 a month for a one bedroom in NY. The ex-wife moved to London and was paying (in US dollars) $3500 a month for a two bedroom -- split with one housemate. She just came back to the States, I suspect because she couldn't afford to keep up the other place.

We're in the poor side of town of a wealthy neighbourhood near Chicago. For what we pay in mortgage for our three bedroom house, we could get a lot more house and/or land by moving to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. But you need to go where the work is, and there's nothing for the husband to do regularly at that office.

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#13 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 06:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ruthiegirl View Post
The New Yorkers I know love New York...love it every way possible and couldn't imagine living anywhere else.

I know cities that I love and would pay a fortune to live there. There is something about the right city for the right person, it just sets your soul on fire to live somewhere you love.
That, and salaries are much higher in New York than in places with lower COL. Otherwise nobody could afford to live in NY
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#14 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 06:27 PM
 
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Salaries are higher, but not THAT much higher than other places. I work for a large corporation and there are people doing my exact same job in hundreds of other cities around the country, and I know that my salary is higher than most for the same job due to cost of living, but it's probably around $5,000 more than others make across the nation.

It's crazy expensive to live in the NYC suburbs, too. We live in a small 2 bedroom condo, in a "cheap" condo complex in a "cheap" tax town. My FT salary brings in less than mortgage, condo fees and taxes are each month. So, yeah, it's pricey, and no, I could never live her alone. You basically MUST be partnered/have a roommate in order to afford housing.
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#15 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 06:34 PM
 
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In some areas, salaries don't keep up with housing. In New England it is like that, big city or small. Salaries are higher than other areas of the country, but not *that* much higher.

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#16 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 06:43 PM
 
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It *is* expensive in NY, no question, but you have to keep in mind that you don't really need a car to live there, so there's a decent chunk right there. I mean, we live in a very low col area but we both have to have cars or one of us has to stay home at all times, basically, so there's trade offs that way. What really shocks me is people who live in westchester county who pay obscene amounts for their home, but sorta need to own a car, too...

ETA... I'm not trying to say that it's not still expensive, but it's somewhat less than it looks b/c there's good mass transit/walkable-ness...

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#17 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 06:44 PM
 
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Ha! No wonder we felt poor. We were only making about 75K!

Anyway, I agree: salaries aren't that much higher than other areas on the east coast. I made 45K a year in the tech industry there, and when I switched to teaching in 2003, started at 39K a year. I lived in Astoria, Queens, by the way, and paid $1350 for a good sized 1BR apartment. We moved from a teeny 1 BR, 7th floor walkup in Manhattan that we were paying $1900 for.

Yep, we have a lot of discussions about the value of our NYC years now that we're paying off debt Dave Ramsey style. I think there are a lot of things we'd do differently, but we wouldn't trade those years for anything.

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#18 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 06:58 PM
 
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Ha! No wonder we felt poor. We were only making about 75K!

Anyway, I agree: salaries aren't that much higher than other areas on the east coast. I made 45K a year in the tech industry there, and when I switched to teaching in 2003, started at 39K a year. I lived in Astoria, Queens, by the way, and paid $1350 for a good sized 1BR apartment. We moved from a teeny 1 BR, 7th floor walkup in Manhattan that we were paying $1900 for.

Yep, we have a lot of discussions about the value of our NYC years now that we're paying off debt Dave Ramsey style. I think there are a lot of things we'd do differently, but we wouldn't trade those years for anything.
I lived in Sunnyside, and I did always have roommates. There is no way I could have lived there, earning what I did as a recent immigrant, without roommates. But it was totally worth it.
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#19 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 07:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How is this the erosion of the middle class?

It's NYC...it is EXPENSIVE to live there. It's expensive to live in cities on the coasts.

But if someone really loves it there, then it is worth it to them.
Because it shouldn't take an upper class salary to live a middle class lifestyle in the NY (aka Queens), kwim? It shouldn't take 2.5 times the salary to live the same lifestyle in NY as in Dallas (50k vs. 123k). I can understand things being more expensive, but seriously, 2.5 times as expensive? And NY is an extremely populated place. If MOST of the people there can't make a middle class lifestyle, then that shows a problem.

Yes, it's more expensive on the coasts, but that's also were most of the people are. If most of the people on the more populated areas can't scrape by on an average middle class income, then that speaks to erosion for me.

Ami

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#20 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 07:42 PM
 
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And it isn't just a question of loving it there. What if your whole family is there, and has been for a century? You have the choice of either a low standard of living, or moving away from your family. Not a great choice.
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#21 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 08:10 PM
 
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Because it shouldn't take an upper class salary to live a middle class lifestyle in the NY (aka Queens), kwim? It shouldn't take 2.5 times the salary to live the same lifestyle in NY as in Dallas (50k vs. 123k). I can understand things being more expensive, but seriously, 2.5 times as expensive? And NY is an extremely populated place. If MOST of the people there can't make a middle class lifestyle, then that shows a problem.

Yes, it's more expensive on the coasts, but that's also were most of the people are. If most of the people on the more populated areas can't scrape by on an average middle class income, then that speaks to erosion for me.

Ami
And yet, I and many of my friends who were just-off-the-boat emigrants, with no third level educationl, were able to live there just fine. In fact, I was the only one among the many I knew from my country who was NOT undocumented at that time. But all the college educated, privileged Americans can't afford to live in NY? Something strange about that.
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#22 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 08:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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And yet, I and many of my friends who were just-off-the-boat emigrants, with no third level educationl, were able to live there just fine. In fact, I was the only one among the many I knew from my country who was NOT undocumented at that time. But all the college educated, privileged Americans can't afford to live in NY? Something strange about that.
I'm not talking about 'living there fine' I'm talking of being middle class. Most recent fob immigrants (btw, I am an immigrant myself as well--just got my green card 1 yr ago) are NOT middle class. I'm not saying it's impossible to live there, just that it shouldn't take an upper middle class salary to be middle class, kwim? And no, the majority of Americans are not college educated. About a quarter of the population has some tertiary education (not necessarily a degree), and even fewer have an actual degree. So I'm not sure where your statement about 'educated, privileged Americans' comes from.

I'm not sure why you find something 'strange' about my post? What's strange about saying that it shouldn't take 6 figures to be middle class in NY? That's all I was saying.

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#23 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 08:51 PM
 
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$2800 for rent!!!!!!???????????

(faints)
Not surprising to me at all. We pay $1,440/month for 1,250 sq.ft. in a townhouse (rowhouse?) - no yard, just a patio, and a tiny, tiny (about 4' X 10'...maybe) "garden plot" at the front of the house, which is half taken up by a large bush. It's an old complex, in a not wonderful (but not terrible) part of town. When we moved in here, it was by far the best deal available in our municipality. Smaller units in basements (so less space, but at least some yard access) were going for around $2,000.

I can't imagine living in New York.

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#24 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 09:00 PM
 
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And it isn't just a question of loving it there. What if your whole family is there, and has been for a century? You have the choice of either a low standard of living, or moving away from your family. Not a great choice.
Yup. Cost of living isn't anywhere near as bad here as in New York, but dh and I are facing exactly that. DH doesn't care - he gave up his family and hometown already (for me), but I'm dreading it...absolutely dreading it. We're going to have to go, for sure. We're basically just hanging in for a couple years to let ds1 graduate with all his friends (some of whom have been classmates since kindergarten).

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#25 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 09:30 PM
 
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And it isn't just a question of loving it there. What if your whole family is there, and has been for a century? You have the choice of either a low standard of living, or moving away from your family. Not a great choice.
Yes, you are right. It is not always about loving a city. I grew up in LA and left because of the cost of living/quality of of lifestyle and it was just this kind of choice -- live in a crappy apartment, deal with the traffic and crime or move on and live a long ways from family. We chose to move on, but it was a hard decision to make. It would have been harder had I loved living in LA, but I didn't.

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#26 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 09:33 PM
 
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I believe it.

My bro lives in Manhattan and makes 6 figures, yet his apartment could fit in the space my formal dining and living room takes up.

He loves it, though.

ETA: I haven't read past the OP, so sorry if this doesn't add to the discussion

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#27 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 09:55 PM
 
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I'm not talking about 'living there fine' I'm talking of being middle class. Most recent fob immigrants (btw, I am an immigrant myself as well--just got my green card 1 yr ago) are NOT middle class. I'm not saying it's impossible to live there, just that it shouldn't take an upper middle class salary to be middle class, kwim? And no, the majority of Americans are not college educated. About a quarter of the population has some tertiary education (not necessarily a degree), and even fewer have an actual degree. So I'm not sure where your statement about 'educated, privileged Americans' comes from.

I'm not sure why you find something 'strange' about my post? What's strange about saying that it shouldn't take 6 figures to be middle class in NY? That's all I was saying.

Ami
Define what middle class means to you and I'll let you know if we were living that way. I'm saying that we didn't need upper middle class incomes to live in NY and enjoy our lives there immensely.

Congrats on the green card, I know how much it means!:
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#28 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 10:01 PM
 
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I believe it.

My bro lives in Manhattan and makes 6 figures, yet his apartment could fit in the space my formal dining and living room takes up.

He loves it, though.

ETA: I haven't read past the OP, so sorry if this doesn't add to the discussion
That's the kind of trade off you make to live in the city. I live in downtown Boston now, and could have a McMansion in the suburbs for the same price as my 2 bedroom condo. We have no car either. It's worth it to us to live in town. Friends that live in the suburbs and need two cars, etc end up paying around the same as we do in living expenses. Every family has different priorities, and different ideas about what adds up to a good life. For us, living in a small space is not a problem. We wouldn't use a formal dining room if we had one

The houses in Europe tend to be much smaller, with smaller rooms than the US, so my apartment does not seem that small to me. Friends' suburban houses always seem huge in my eyes.
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#29 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 10:06 PM
 
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That's the kind of trade off you make to live in the city. I live in downtown Boston now, and could have a McMansion in the suburbs for the same price as my 2 bedroom condo. We have no car either. It's worth it to us to live in town. Friends that live in the suburbs and need two cars, etc end up paying around the same as we do in living expenses. Every family has different priorities, and different ideas about what adds up to a good life. For us, living in a small space is not a problem. We wouldn't use a formal dining room if we had one
oh, we don't use the formal dining room. Someday I want a nice table in there but we wouldn't eat there because of the white carpet and small children. And we don't live in the suburbs, technically, nor have a McMansion. A huge house, yes, but it's custom and in a more rural area. But, I hear ya and know what you are saying. When we lived in Denver it meant small apartments for not much less than what we are paying now.

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#30 of 90 Old 02-06-2009, 10:08 PM
 
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Because it shouldn't take an upper class salary to live a middle class lifestyle in the NY (aka Queens), kwim? It shouldn't take 2.5 times the salary to live the same lifestyle in NY as in Dallas (50k vs. 123k). I can understand things being more expensive, but seriously, 2.5 times as expensive? And NY is an extremely populated place. If MOST of the people there can't make a middle class lifestyle, then that shows a problem.

Yes, it's more expensive on the coasts, but that's also were most of the people are. If most of the people on the more populated areas can't scrape by on an average middle class income, then that speaks to erosion for me.

Ami
I guess I see it as trying to compare apples to oranges.

What would be an upper-middle class salary in the middle of the country or a small town, is just not going to be an upper-middle class salary in NYC.

You just can't make that comparison. It doesn't work...

And like previous posters have mentioned, you may not need a car, can walk many places, it's seems to be commen to share an apartment there, salaries will be somewhat higher, etc.

I wish I could explain better. But "average" middle-class income is just that...an average. It will be more in some areas and less in others. Most people will fall in that middle, average area, but for some areas the numbers will be different.

Same with COL, housing prices, etc.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato
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