Are you the same class that you were raised as? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 89 Old 03-27-2010, 01:34 AM
 
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My parents were middle middle class but because they were so good at saving and being frugal, we had things upper middle class people had like private school educations, annual international vacations, buying cars and appliances for cash, etc. We didn't live in a large house and I didn't have a pony. It wasn't that kind of upper middle class mind you. They weren't flashy. I don't think others could tell just how much my parents had saved up. Just because my parents could buy things for cash didn't mean they did. They are two of the most frugal people I know.

My inlaws I would say were lower to middle middle class. My FIL was a blue collar worker, and my MIL had various jobs over the years from real estate agent to part-time model. The only job she held for more than a year was her real estate job. They are both avid spenders. Very lavish and very much about keeping up appearances. They lived/and still live beyond their means. My MIL still works even though she's in her late 70s. She's not working because she wants to. She's working because she has to. She didn't save for retirement, and now she's paying a price for that.

I would say we're middle to upper middle class, but we spend more than they do. We are better savers I think than the average American, but not as good savers as my parents. Still I learned from them. When my DH and I bought our first (used) car, we paid cash. We saved and saved, caught the bus, until we had what we needed to buy the car. We sold that car eventually and got another used car. I'm a big believer in buying slightly used cars.

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#62 of 89 Old 03-27-2010, 02:51 AM
 
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Financially, I think we are doing worse than my family of origin, but better than his family of origin. My family of origin is middle class (both my parents were first generation in their family to attend college). For the most part, they lived like they made much less than they actually did, in order to pay off debts quickly. My husband and I are more lower middle class financially, although I think class is more than just how much money you make, it also includes things like whether you have books in your living room.

My dad never finished college, but worked his way up to a white-collar management position, and my mom is (was) a nurse. I remember asking my dad how much money he made, when I was a teen. He awkwardly answered a number that is roughly the same as what my husband and I, combined, have only made during the one and only year when we BOTH worked full-time. And of course, this is 15 years later, so that amount doesn't go nearly as far today.

My mom often gets onto me for working too much. I have a really hard time getting through to her that I work these night shifts because I HAVE to work them. Working less hours is really not an option, given that my husband does not make enough money (especially not lately) to pay for mortgage, utilities, and food to eat. The concept of HAVING to work is foreign to her, since my dad has always made enough money so that working was optional for her- she stayed home most of my childhood, and only worked out of the home when she wanted to, not because she HAD to work.

Although we make much less money per year than his parents, who make really decent money considering that only one of them even graduated high school, we are much better at planning ahead and deferring gratification with our money. His parents, in their 50s, continue to live paycheck to paycheck and have zero savings or retirement.

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#63 of 89 Old 03-27-2010, 03:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post
So, do you get class pride/adherence in the US...? Often in the UK you will hear people of ANY income level saying "i'm working class and i'm proud of it!" and there is an undercurrent of the feeling that one should be PROUD of being working class and NOT try to ascend the class system among some people. Examples of that would perhaps be a father saying to his son "you got into university!? What you want to go there for? That's not for people like us." In fact "that's not for people like us" i have heard applied to riding lessons, music concerts, theatre trips, clothing styles, you name it.

Does that happen in the US? Do people try to ascend the class system, and is there resistance/disapproval from others for their doing so? Do you have class pride, class guilt (feeling bad at how much you earn because it gives you a better life than others in "your" class who earn much less), do you have the phenomenon of "working class chip on the shoulder?" whereby someone is clearly ascending by circumstance or design out of the working class but still tries to cling fiercely to the standards and codes they were raised with (including feeling other people of their "new" class must automatically be getting at them personally because of their origins)?

I understand this is sensitive for many of you, and i don't want to hurt or offend - i'm just fascinated! It's amazing how different our cultures are considering we share common language and some common origins.
Yes, this absolutely happens in the US. I actually deleted part of my previous post about the "crabs in the bucket" phenomenon that I see in my DH's family... trying to pull down those who try to escape. They all live paycheck to paycheck, lots of bankruptcies etc, but when a teenager goes to college, certain older members mock them for it, implying that the college-goer is being uppity or something by furthering their education.

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#64 of 89 Old 03-27-2010, 03:56 AM
 
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Well I grew up in a communist country, there was no middle class. Pretty much everybody was poor then. My parents made themselves upper middle class after they immigrated to America through hard works. Though I never lived with them after they got well off, so I never experienced having good life and letting somebody else pay for it.

DH and I are middle class and I'm pretty satisfied. I think I can have half as much and still be very happy.

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#65 of 89 Old 03-27-2010, 12:07 PM
 
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I would say I grew up in a lower class family. On the upper end of it for sure, but looking back, definitely lower class. We were surrounded by lower class people so didn't feel all that different until we went to the regional high school.

DH's family was so much better off. He was quite a bit younger than his siblings and by the time he came around the money was disappearing. By the time he was in his teens, he considered himself poor. Imagine what I thought when I went to his parent's house for the first time and saw the monstrous thing on acres of lawn, 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, indoor hot tub, pool table, big screen tv, huge garage, etc etc. Turns out they are kind of poor but stuck with the house because no one will pay the price they want. They struggle to pay the upkeep on it.

So, if we were in a position to buy a house when we first met, DH probably would have gone for something big and impressive looking because that's what was "normal" to him. After being on his own for years he realized that simple is better (something I always wanted) and we bought a 935sq ft home in the country with a tiny mortgage. We make ok money but are fairly frugal. Once we really get settled in, we should be able to set aside a good amount in savings. For now we're fixing up the house (because it seriously needs it).

Our income will go up over the next couple years (I'm not even working right now!) but I'd say we're lower middle class. From what other's opinion of what middle class is, I guess we're right in the middle but really, I see us on the bottom edge.

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#66 of 89 Old 03-28-2010, 03:46 AM
 
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That's a loaded question when it comes to my family. Yes and no.

My dad and stepmom put together made over 100k. I don't know exactly how much but when I was in high school I asked because we had to do budgets for lifeskills and he said it was six digits. So I always lived in a nice house and had food on the table, health insurance, etc. My parents never worried about paying the bills or anything.

However, they also didn't worry about providing anything other than food and roof over head for their children. I always had to come up with ways to get my own clothes, school supplies, etc. So I never considered myself "rich" because I never had any access to my parent's money.

Now my husband and I are making ~$20k

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#67 of 89 Old 03-28-2010, 02:43 PM
 
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We are better off than my family was growing up. Oh, we had as much or more "stuff" when I was growing up as my family does now, but my parents were in a tremendous amount of debt & eventually had to do debt consolidation. DH & I have very little debt and make probably three or four times the amount of money my parents did.

DH's family was pretty poor growing up, so we're definitely doing a TON better financially than his family did.
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#68 of 89 Old 03-28-2010, 02:53 PM
 
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I have no idea what the class levels are. But dh and I are way better off than our parents were when we were kids.

We both grew up poor to single moms. No dad in the picture.

Dh has an good job making okay money. I'm a sahm and we make the most of our income. Own a decent home, have a decent vehicle. We tend towards the frugal so that dh can be home more instead of working to pay for stuff.
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#69 of 89 Old 03-28-2010, 07:50 PM
 
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Not at all.

My parents are upper-middle class or lower-upper classs. I don't know where the distinction is. (My parents combined make about 150-175K)

My husbands parents are the same Maybe even middle-upper. The don't live in a mansion or anything, but they have mega disposable income. If I HAD to guess, I'd say they make 250K+ combined.

We live below the poverty line (We make 40K). That said, they are always willing to help out and do on a regular basis.

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#70 of 89 Old 03-28-2010, 08:04 PM
 
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My parents and my husband's parents both made more than double the amount we make... their education was fully paid for, they bought homes without mortgages, cars without loans, they owned their own businesses. Did people even have credit cards back then? However, now, we are better off than our parents are, right now. My fil filed for bankruptcy in '02 and my own sometime in the last five years. Besides the mortgage, we have no debt.

Oh, when our dads were little they were in extreme poverty though! They definitely moved up a long, long way.
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#71 of 89 Old 03-28-2010, 08:11 PM
 
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Pretty much. The only difference is that we aren't on welfare where as my mom and grandma milked the system for all it's worth. Also we make wiser choices, my parents and grandparents never owned their own home.

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#72 of 89 Old 03-28-2010, 09:42 PM
 
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I both agree and disagree with that. I grew up on North Shore (Boston area for those who don't know), DH in Hartford.
Hee, hee. Here in Chicago "North Shore" might mean money, but it also is used by the "want to be seen as rich" suburbs where you can't see the lake no matter how high the building you are standing on. One of those diluted terms, used by realtors to showcase the area they are representing.

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#73 of 89 Old 03-29-2010, 07:44 AM
 
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Not sure. My parents never talked about money. I'm going to say they were solidly middle. I would consider us lower middle, but not at the moment. My dh is in school full time this semester, income and assistance wise we would look like poverty line at the moment. But outwordly we both have paid off 2001 vehicles, a good house in a nice neighborhood, I WAH and am able to homeschool.

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#74 of 89 Old 03-29-2010, 11:41 AM
 
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Wow. I guess I am in the minority. We do much better than my parents did, and currently make about the same as my dad and more than my mom (divorced.)

As a small child, my parents were financially lower class- one step above living on the street... crumbling mobile homes, rat infested tenements.

By grade school, we could mostly pay the bills but sometimes the phone or gas was shut off (probably a dozen times over the years.) Of course, this costs more to get it turned back on than if you had paid the bill in the first place, and they were just generally terrible with managing whatever money they did have.

DH and I are squarely middle class for our area.

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#75 of 89 Old 03-29-2010, 01:46 PM
 
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Yes I think so. Hubby no, he definatly stepped up.

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#76 of 89 Old 03-29-2010, 08:22 PM
 
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Grew up quite upper middle class - trips everywhere including Carribean, Europe, and several other trips per year. Several luxury cars at any given time even though only my dad drove. Lived in million dollar houses, had a vacation apartment in a cushy Manhattan area for when my parents went to the opera so they wouldn't have to get a hotel.

H and I are now living on just under 18,000 a year.

We'd easily have spent that on a week's vacation growing up.

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#77 of 89 Old 04-03-2010, 04:21 PM
 
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DH and I are living almost exactly the same as we grew up. Before we had DD we were pretty high income. I quit when we had her and we moved back to our hometown. We lost a ton when we sold our house and it wiped out our savings. We now live a few miles from where we grew up in a distinctly middle-middle class lifestyle. I guess the big difference is that our parents were both two income families to get to where we are.

Its a bit shocking to be without my income. I made as much as DH even after I stepped off the high-powered track and went to work for a non-profit. I'm glad we have chosen this life. We both got a good foundation in life. Good schools and such even if we didn't have expensive cars and trips.

If I had kept working in the city then we would have been in the world of nannies and private schools that cost more than I paid for college because the public schools just weren't an option there.

We have chosen this life and I'm quite happy with it.

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#78 of 89 Old 04-04-2010, 12:50 AM
 
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My parents were wealthy. (I think my dad made 250-300K a year) My dh's parents were probably low-mid class but had no debt either. I am guessing we are low-mid/mid class depending what year it is (our income can vary a lot since dh is self-employed).

I did not think I would ever be wealthy though because I had different goals in life than I was raised with. I am happy to be a SAHM, camp for a vacation, and on the brink of being totally out of debt..I feel very rich

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#79 of 89 Old 04-04-2010, 10:12 AM
 
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I grew up as working class masquerading as lower middle class. We never wanted for the basics, and even went to parochial school, but everyone else always seemed to have things that we didn't. As a kid, I thought my parents were cheap! It wasn't until I was in my early 20's, and my dad was downsized, that I found out he'd been supporting us on less than $30,000 per year and credit. Lots of credit. He had to declare bankruptcy when he couldn't get a job.

I started adulthood as working poor, and have pretty much stayed there, although now I think I'm masquerading as lower middle class, too. We now live in an apartment in a middle class neighborhood, and my dc attend the private school I teach at (although not for much longer, unless I hit the lottery).
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#80 of 89 Old 04-04-2010, 10:33 AM
 
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I haven't read the whole thread yet, but to answer the OP I was raised middle middle to upper middle class and am living middle middle class right now.

My profession will eventually lead me to upper middle class (as I move up the pay scale) but part of that is dependent on how much money my partner makes.

She was raised lower middle class, and is in a minimum to low paying job, without much room for advancement.

That is frustrating to me.

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#81 of 89 Old 04-04-2010, 01:13 PM
 
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#82 of 89 Old 04-04-2010, 03:21 PM
 
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I grew up as working class masquerading as lower middle class. We never wanted for the basics, and even went to parochial school, but everyone else always seemed to have things that we didn't. As a kid, I thought my parents were cheap! It wasn't until I was in my early 20's, and my dad was downsized, that I found out he'd been supporting us on less than $30,000 per year and credit. Lots of credit. He had to declare bankruptcy when he couldn't get a job.

I started adulthood as working poor, and have pretty much stayed there, although now I think I'm masquerading as lower middle class, too. We now live in an apartment in a middle class neighborhood, and my dc attend the private school I teach at (although not for much longer, unless I hit the lottery).
Kids DO tend to think that. This is why I make sure my kids know what we earn and where the money goes. They shop with me and know the price of groceries, they pay the bills with me and know the cost of their tuition, our mortgage, etc. I want them to have realisitic expectations - not expect to magically be able to afford everything they want as adults. They need to understand that money has to be earned, that choices made regarding education and employment affect the ability to earn, and that, of course, there is more to life than money, but poor handling of money can cause a lot of misery.
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#83 of 89 Old 04-04-2010, 03:35 PM
 
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Yes, we have more and earn more than any of our parents ever did.

However, other than a house in the best school neighborhood.. you'd never guess. I have two old, old cars. I get most of our clothing at swaps and thrift stores. I cook at home most nights. We don't go out and do "fancy" things but once or twice a year.

We do send the kids out to summer camp one week each year so that we can have a "grown-ups only" get away.

We do have on nice vacation a year with the kids. Not always far away or glamorous... but a time that just the four of us, seeing new things.

I have some savings and little debt.
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#84 of 89 Old 04-04-2010, 04:53 PM
 
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My parents were lower middle class. They never managed their money well and had many financial setbacks though so we actually lived at about a working class level: a cheap semi-detached house, used cars, etc. They spent money on us though, and we took classes, including horseback riding once. We took trips but in the car, and they were "international" only in that we went to the states since we are Canadian. It was more than many of my friends did, but everyone on here has me thinking that we were poorer than I realized.... My mom never worked.

We are definately working class, struggling to pay bills and get out of debt. No luxuries and we eat on a strict budget. I don't know where we will end up when DH is done school. I don't want money, I just want to find a way to survive on one income so I can be a SAHM if and when we have kids. I don't know that it will be possible for us though.
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#85 of 89 Old 04-04-2010, 05:04 PM
 
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*double post*
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#86 of 89 Old 04-04-2010, 05:11 PM
 
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DH and I have had upper middle incomes most of our adult lives and have consistently lived below our means. This is higher than both our childhoods. I would rate DH's childhood as working class and my own as lower middle class. DH likes to tease me about being a "rich teacher's kid". He thought the teacher's kids were all rich when he was in school. After reading this I should tell him he was rich because his parent bought him a horse. He grew up on a farm and in reality his parents income can and has swung wildly from year to year depending on the price of the commidities they raise, the weather, etc.
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#87 of 89 Old 04-05-2010, 10:42 AM
 
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DH grew up lower middle class. His parents had him young, and so didn't have alot of money, but he never wanted for anything. I grew up lower class (raised by my grandma). We couldn't afford alot of necessities. I remember one time someone stole all our underwear off the clothes line, and we couldn't afford to replace them for a couple of weeks, so we hand washed the one pair we each had every day. We lived in a bad neighborhood, and our house was really run down. We had no heat in the winter. Sometimes I lived on Raman Noodles because they were cheapest. Honestly though, I never minded too much, I guess, because I didn't know any better.

Now, I'd say DH and I are middle class, I guess. We make enough to live comfortably, and are able to save a little each month. The Kids will be going to public school, but they want for nothing, we have heat. It's been bery interesting trying to balance voluntary simplicity (i guess that's what you'd call it) with the feelings I sometimes have of just wanting something because I didn't have it as a kid. Like the heat for example, we try to keep the heat turned down to 65, but sometimes (just once in awhile) I just feel like "screw that, I'm not poor anymore." YKWIM? Does that even make sense? Anyone else out there have similar issues with the balance?

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#88 of 89 Old 04-05-2010, 10:54 PM
 
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I grew up as upper middle class in Dominican Republic, but my parents got divorced my dad was rich, my mom wasnt. He did continue to pay for a bilingual private school, sometimes taking me on holidays with him, giving me a big allowance and big Christmas presents and for Bdays. I believe my education and how I behave is very middle class.

But right now Im very poor. I dont work, DP does. Im on MedicAid, we receive WIC and just applied for food stamps. It's something completely foreign to me to not be able to travel whenever I want to, buy whatever I want, but I think Im a lot better at managing money than DP is and he grew up in a very poor family.
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#89 of 89 Old 04-06-2010, 01:59 AM
 
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I grew up upper middle class. several trips to europe, private school, twice yearly trips to ny (where we stayed with family), my sister has a horse.

We're young, however we want to live a simple life. less stuff, less money, less need to be working a job we dislike away from family and more time together. I'd say combined, if we keep making the same amount of money we've been making, we'll make... 24,000 between the two of us? holy crud, that is a lot of money. we need to get in a less expensive apartment so we can save more of it. so basically, we're way way way "lower class" than I grew up however I don't really feel deprived really. I mean, it's a lot less eating out than i grew up with and I'd love to join the martial arts gym we can't afford, but we live REALLY REALLY well for money, and living simply is important to us.

(we also are living way way way better materially than when DP was a teen. when he was little his family was upper middle class (though no trips to europe etc), and then became poor. so he's a lot "higher class" though I don't know if we make more money, or they just had a LOT of debt).

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