What is your economic status relative to how you grew up? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: What is your economic class relative to how you grew up?
Lower 81 28.72%
The Same 75 26.60%
Higher 116 41.13%
Other 10 3.55%
Voters: 282. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 06:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just thought this would be interesting. Feel free to elaborate!

Busy mom and loving it... dd (2/03), ds (6/05), dd (8/07), ds (12/09), ??? due 5/12

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#2 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 06:38 PM
 
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I grew up in I guess upper middle class. Now I'm not sure what we are. I guess we are middle class. Money is tight but my husband has a good job (engineer) and is on a good career track. But we just bought a house so things are tight. So I feel really broke on an every day basis but I think we'll grow into things as he progresses at work and I ultimately go back to work after our kid(s) are in school.

DS (6.06), DD (10.08), DD (05.11).

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#3 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 06:50 PM
 
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I grew up Upper Middle, and now DH and I make ends meet, but after baby is born I will be a SAHM (doesn't pay to go back to work with cost of babysitting). So, unless DH finds a better job (which hopefully he will), we'll definitely be struggling then on about $1,400/month income with a $1100/month rent.
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#4 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 06:59 PM
 
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I grew up poor and now am still struggling with poverty, but I'm in school and hoping to someday be better off.

"If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere." -Vincent Van Gogh
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#5 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 07:45 PM
 
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As a young child, we were "upper lower," I guess. We had a roof over our head, food, and clothes, but few to no luxuries. As I got older, we rose in socioeconomic status, and were upper middle to lower upper by the time I turned 18. Of course, I reaped only a few benefits since I didn't make the money, my parents did. DH had pretty much the same situation. Now I would say we are upper middle. I feel very blessed.
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#6 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 07:51 PM
 
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My parents were able to buy a house by the time they were 28, although they don't have as much education as DH and I do. My father also kind of lucked into a career that turned out to be pretty lucrative, so we (as a family) had progressively more money as I was growing up - until I was 18 and he had a stroke and that career was over. But, he and my mom are financially OK, though they don't own a house any more.

DH and I are just on a really different financial path (it seems), in a really different economy. Middle-class people could afford a home in CA in the 70's, without having to take on a mortgage 8-10x their income. It's just a different world now. So, although DH has a PhD and a good job, and I make a very good hourly wage at my part-time job, due to where we live we must rent, not buy, and we choose to only have 1 car so that we can have more discretionary income.

DH is also not on a tremendously upwardly-mobile path in terms of his career. He will make more, but his income will go up at a slow and steady pace unlike my father's income which seemed to double every few years for most of my childhood. I actually prefer this. I have no desire to be wealthy or even upper middle class, to have a big house, etc. And in this economic climate, at least, I have no desire to own a home.

We are content with our financial situation. But, it's not as good in objective terms as my parents' situation was when they were our age. At our age, my parents owned a nice home in a very good neighborhood, had 2 cars, savings etc., and we took expensive vacations. Those things are not possible for us, but I wouldn't say that our quality of life suffers for it.
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#7 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 08:00 PM
 
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I grew up working class/working poor, now I am technically middle class though with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt (student loans, mortgage, credit anmd medical) I don't really feel like I have improved all that much. Probably the thing that stands out for me is that folks were HS grads and I am a college grad with an advanced degree, both dh & I actually. Yet that education costs so am I really all that better off? I still live hand to mouth in a certain sense.

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#8 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 08:04 PM
 
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We are the same or lower, but a lot smarter about our money.

Mama to 3:
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#9 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 08:05 PM
 
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I voted lower, but honestly don't know exactly. My parents never talked about money at all, but I do remember doing some stuff with them that we could never afford right now.

We can't usually afford trips and even trips to stay with relatives tax the budget greatly.

It's a struggle to come up with money for classes/lessons/etc. for the kids and I routinely remember my sister and I going to camp and doing other 4-H activities that required additional funds.

My parents had a great retirement plan/fund above and beyond my dad's pension and he retired very early - while still in his 50's. Our retirement fund is really quite a lot less than they had/planned.
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#10 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 08:12 PM
 
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Lower.
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#11 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 08:20 PM
 
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My parents both had jobs, but with five kids struggled to make ends meet. I remember going without a lot of the things my friends had simply because we could not afford them.

I'm not saying we are wealthy or even very well off, but I get to stay home and there's never a question of "Will there be enough to pay the bills?" at the end of the month, and we can still afford the nice "extras" my parents could never afford.
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#12 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 08:47 PM
 
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DH & I were just talking about this the other day.

My dad has a bachelors degree, which he was going to school to earn when my parents were my age. When I was little we lived in a trailer park & all our clothes were thrift store clothes, etc.(Not that TS clothes are bad-my kids wear them too, but that was the only choice for clothing us, and I felt a stark difference between me & the kids at school) There was always plenty of food, the electricity was never turned off or anything, but I know my mom worried about money & getting all the bills paid. Now my parents do fairly well, dad is in a supervisory role at work. They weren't able to help any of their children with college. Their home is not paid for, they still have car loans & CC debt. When I was a kid, my mom did daycare & taught piano lessons for extra money.

DH's dad was a HS teacher and later principal & superintendent. When I married DH (their youngest of 6 kids) they had just paid off their house. They pay cash for their cars, and they helped DH pay for his bachelors, masters, & EdS degrees. They live a lower standard of living than my parents do (have less things, spend less $, house is older) but their financial position is much more secure and they have no debt. They have some investments, and are able to travel around & enjoy their grandkids in their retirement. DH's mom was also a SAHM, but she cleaned houses for people & did daycare for extra money.

DH & I do a lot better than our parents did at our age. He makes less than his dad did at retirement, and less than my dad currently makes. DH only works part time hours & I stay home with the kids. We are buying a nice house that is well within our means. It is our second house, we bought our first house when I was 23 & DH was 26. Our parents were well into their 30's when they bought their first homes. I gather that DH makes more money than the other households in our neighborhood, and we are 10-15 years younger than the average family here.

I don't have to worry about how the bills will be paid, although there are months I am frustrated that I am not saving as much as I would like to. We are also more secure in that if I needed to work I have a work experience & a bachelors degree that neither of our moms have.
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#13 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 08:51 PM
 
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I voted "Other" because we have more money than my parents but live much less comfortably because of the cost of living, debt from lay-offs, and the cost of 4 kids (2 more kids than my parents had and we spend more on their school and activities).

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#14 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 08:52 PM
 
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I grew up in upper middle class and now live in lower middle class.

Lauren
Mama to one awesome little girl and her adorable baby brother.
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#15 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 08:59 PM
 
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Dirt poor then, slightly less poor now

Amy ~ Web Designing Single Mom to 4: DD14, DS12, DS5, DS3
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#16 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 09:00 PM
 
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Mo' po'. By far.
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#17 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 09:10 PM
 
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I chose the same, but I don't really know if that's true. I know we were pretty poor when I grew up, but don't know how poor officially. Now, though, we are, qualifying for assistance, etc.

However, I hope to change that when I finish my training.
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#18 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 09:10 PM
 
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Same. I grew up middle class, and I'm still middle class.

New signature, same old me: Ann- mama of 2 boys and 2 girls, partnered to a fabulous man.
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#19 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 09:11 PM
 
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Mo' po'. By far.
Not funny... Just sounds so.
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#20 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 09:13 PM
 
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I grew up upper middle, but my mum was receiving a life insurance pension (my dad died when I was young) and my stepdad had a very good wage, so even though mum was a SAHM mum our family had 2 incomes.

I'm now a SAHM with a DH on a reasonable wage, but our mortgage, health insurance and groceries use up about 90% of our income now. So I would say I'm now lower on the financial ladder than what I was growing up. I'm hopeful that if we continue to be frugal we will have paid off our mortage within 10 years, and then we'll be able to be a lot smarter about investing our money.

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#21 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 09:15 PM
 
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Not funny... Just sounds so.
It's okay actually. I'd rather be po' than have to sell out, and really for me that was the choice. I did get the choice though... that's the privilege of an upper class background.
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#22 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 09:17 PM
 
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I grew up very poor. We rented in a bad neighborhood and had very little. When I married Dh he made $7.00 an hour and was a college student (older one). Now 11.5 years later we have a very nice house in a very nice neighborhood. We are upper middle class I guess. The most important thing to me is that I feel safe - I hated living in the ghetto and always lived with fear!
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#23 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 09:18 PM
 
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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.
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#24 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 09:25 PM
 
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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.

I totally agree with you. We are in the same boat, despite the higher education dh & I have, we are not better off than my in-laws who have been financially saving our butts for a while now. In fact we joke that dh would have been better off following his dad's footsteps and becoming a electrician rather than a journalist. We are living in some crazy financial times. I honestly though education would mean financial stability and that has so not been the case, in fact the more educatiom I have gotten the worse off I am financially.

Shay

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#25 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 09:41 PM
 
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i think both dh and i are about the same as we were growing up.

Chrissy, lucky mama to Noah (9), Lilah (6), Rowan (3) and Laney (1).
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#26 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 09:56 PM
 
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I grew up middle. If I were alone, my status would be lower. But, due to my partner, it's higher.
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#27 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 10:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
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.

You aren't alone with this theory. Economists have been saying this for years, that our wages haven't kept pace and that the purchasing power of the dollar has been eroded making it much more difficult to live a class equitable lifestyle like our parents on the same or even greater income.
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#28 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 10:22 PM
 
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DH only works part time hours & I stay home with the kids.
Just curious, and you don't need to answer me, but what field does your DH work in and does he have a full time job that only requires part time hours to fulfill? DH used to have a job like that (maintenance was only part time but you were "on call" for questions/help most of the day but they kept adding on more work to his job until it was ull time hours with only COL increases). Sorry, just curious!!!

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I totally agree with you. We are in the same boat, despite the higher education dh & I have, we are not better off than my in-laws who have been financially saving our butts for a while now. In fact we joke that dh would have been better off following his dad's footsteps and becoming a electrician rather than a journalist. We are living in some crazy financial times. I honestly though education would mean financial stability and that has so not been the case, in fact the more education I have gotten the worse off I am financially.

Shay
I double agree. The longer I was in school, the more debt racked up, I got older and was out of the job market (meaning I worked full time but at almost minimum wage) and with little upward movement over the years. When I got m MS and started my job, I started with a little more pay than my co-workers with bachelors degrees, but they were on higher steps then me (teacher) and had no or lower student loan bills, so they might be paid a bit less but they had fewer or lower bills. Then, they worked on their MS over years at night and ned up making the same amount and came out ahead. They may have made less over the years, but they weren't paying so much in interest for student loans. Grrrr...

I put "lower" but it is hard to say. Together DH and I have so much owed for student loans that it will be hanging over our head for 10-20 years. At my age, my parent were just starting their family(me), but had been in a house for 7 years and both had been working for that long (mom worked as we were growing up). They had no bills beyond the mortgage and food, ect. At that point they were comfortable. DH and I are trying to sell our condo and buy a house. We have an almost 5 yo and a 9 mo, and I have to work right now because our bills are more than DH makes. Money is tight, and although I would like to stay home we have to figure out a way for DH to make more or for me to pull in $1k per month staying home. Oh, and I have the "good" insurance, so we'd have to figure that in to the amount too, so I may have to pull in more than $1k. Anyway, I think my parents were much more comfortable then DH and I are, but Mom started teaching at 22 yrs old and I didn't start until I was 26 (NO one had a MS in Education back then - and I have 160 plus ug credits, so I spent a few extra years in school trying not to become a teacher).
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#29 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 10:27 PM
 
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I make more than my dad did at this age (he was white collar). My mom was a doctor's receptionist before I was born, then SAHM until I was in 7th grade, when she went back to work in the same doctor's office to help pay for my and my brother's Catholic school tuition (I was in the publics until the end of 7th grade).

The cost of housing is the true difference. My parents bought a small lot in a middle-class suburb of Detroit in 1965, the same year they were married. They rented a two-bedroom townhouse (rent was $95/month when they moved out) while they saved up enough money to build a small 3 BR 1 BA brick house on that lot. They moved into the house in the fall of 1968 - the house cost just under $16K to build. In the early 70s, they added a detached garage for $3K. Their house payment, in the last few years before it was paid off in 1998, was $300/month! $200 of that was taxes and insurance!

I got out of suburban Detroit in early 1996 because I wanted to get away from the auto industry and its influence (for worse) on Michigan's economy. I'm in Chicago and will make about $44K this year. There's no way I could afford a house or a condo here without living in the very far out burbs. On my end of town (NW side of Chicago), decent apartments are affordable. Like New York, there are many people here who are life-long renters, so unlike where I'm from, renting for years on end doesn't carry a stigma.

I just looked at the online classifieds for my hometown, and a similar apartment to mine looks to be about $100/month cheaper or a little less. Houses like I love (1920s bungalows/cottages) are $75K-$100K cheaper. But then the economy in suburban Detroit is in much worse shape than that in Chicagoland.

I'm in the first on my dad's family to get a college education, let alone attend. If I didn't have my degree and 14+ years experience in my industry, I would be making less. I'm also one generation from relatives being on welfare. My mom was born in 1942, the youngest of 17 (including two stillbirths). Her father took off in mid-1943 and was never seen again. Back then, welfare was primarily for women whose husbands had abandoned them or whose husbands were disabled. Her family was on welfare. They lived in the projects, back when the projects were for poor folks of all backgrounds, not for primarily black folks as they later became. There was a hole in the bathtub area. My mom's mom died a year after she graduated from high school, and she then went to live with an older married sister for three years until she got married.

My dad's family was working class and still is. I'm told my younger, less-educated cousins consider my lack of a mortgage a sign of immaturity (!) but I also don't have a huge debt load on a relatively unstable income due to auto industry influence. I'm told they're all up to their eyeballs in debt.

You used to be able to get good jobs without having a college degree, but that's mostly gone. My mom retired in the late 90s (due to some health issues and change of doctors where she worked) and she was only making $10.50/hour! They're lucky my dad has a good pension from his 30+ years at Ford. Since I'm still single, I'm socking away 10% in my 401K. I'm not counting on getting married, although I really hope it happens (I'm 38). As soon as my car is paid off next year (only owe $4400 left), I'm going to really bump up the retirement to 15% as well as put other money away.

ETA: My parents had their own house at 26-27. I'm 38. They did pay for my college (I kicked in a lot for living expenses). But I'm much more careful with money than they were. My mom always liked to eat out a lot or cooked convenience foods. I get the impression from her comments that cooking from scratch is for poor people.

ETA2: I voted "same," too.

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#30 of 90 Old 12-23-2007, 10:57 PM
 
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DF probably comparatively makes more money than my parents were making at our age, but they didn't have the debt that we have and they also lived in an area with a much lower COL.

DF actually makes more money than my dad does right now, but again, our life situations are so vastly different that it feels like we make waaaaay less!

ETA: I voted "same"
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