What do you think about the idea of a two income trap? - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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#121 of 147 Old 01-28-2009, 12:37 PM
 
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I'm sure I'm going to get flamed for this, but...

A lot of what we think we "need", we don't. We've just grown up with it, and we're used to it, to the point that it is like a need.

1950, almost all families that had a car at all had one car. Now, it's an average of 1.9 per family. The average house in 1950 was 933sq feet. In 2000 it was 2266. Floor area per capita has TRIPLED in that time. Things like a television set, air conditioning, computers, credit cards, cell phones, were non-existent (or very new) in 1950. Things like having more than two pairs of shoes (one for every day, one for Sunday), or one "good" dress/suit. It's interesting to note that "elective expenditures" increased from 13% of a middle income 1950 family's spending to 23% of a middle income 1997 family.

I understand that if you get hit by a medical situation, divorce, etc., yeah, you're probably screwed. At the same time, I do think choices - and I know this is controversial, so, I'm not going to say what I think about each specific situation - such as what job to pursue, where to live, when to have kids, when/how to buy a house (and, yes, I realize that these are often very interrelated) - do affect whether you end up in the "trap", so to speak. It's luck and choices...I think for very few people is it exclusively one or the other, but, I do think that choices (even choices made 10, 15, 20 years ago) play into it far more often than we (general we) acknowledge.

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#122 of 147 Old 01-28-2009, 12:42 PM
 
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As an aside, mostly off-topic, but very interesting, I found this online-book from PBS...the whole thing's online. The First Measured Century: An Illustrated Guide to Trends in America, 1900-2000.

http://www.pbs.org/fmc/book/pdf/
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#123 of 147 Old 01-28-2009, 01:08 PM
 
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I agree with you Kathee, and I'm sure a lot of people do. I have read many times, though, that two income families are going w/o a lot of these things and are still barely making it. So, it's not like they have to work to uphold their current lifestyle which includes huge tv's and a large amount of CC debt.

The thing that I have been thinking about is the cost of living aspect. I grew up in the Denver area and until a year ago, that is where DH and I were raising our family. I know it's cheaper than say, parts of california or manhatten where my bro lives, but a lot of couples (even w/two incomes) cannot afford to buy a decent home. I don't mean anything really nice, but something livable that doesn't need a bunch of work. SO, before we moved, we were definitely considered 'low income'-- DH was making $18 an hour (from the $7 he was making when our first was born) and we lived in one small apartment after the other. A few tiny rental homes, too. We could not afford to buy a house. But that doesn't mean we couldn't find a way to survive so I could SAH. And like I said in other posts, we couldn't have afforded for me to work, anyway. It was definitely a 'one income' trap.

I guess my point is I wonder about these high COL areas and think if the family was willing to downsize to a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment, go w/o a car (or only have one) then they possibly could have one parent SAH. But then it goes back to the comments about 'having a miserable life not worth living' or whatever; which stuck with me, because I am pretty sure I had friends and family who truly felt bad for us when we had to live with 5 people sleeping in one room, or shared a car and I had to take DH to and from work on a long commute if I had somewhere I needed to go. Or the fact that we didn't have savings for emergency situations. We didn't have extra money, at all. Not only were we paycheck to paycheck, but we frequently had to use the services of payday loan places (ick). I'm not saying this is the type of life other's should have in order to be a SAHM, because for many it would seem like a huge sacrifice, but I also have a hard time understanding how it can be completely impossible. I was happy overall, because I was able to be at home with my kids.

So, having not lived in somewhere w/a super high cost of living, maybe it's easy for me to say find somewhere super cheap to rent. Or move. Again, I know there are not jobs everywhere. We got extremly lucky with our current situation and DH's job offer, considering the average pay out here.

Now, if you have a TON of debt, other bills, etc., well yeah, you are trapped. I also understand the heathcare situation, I said before we went w/o and not for a min do I recommend doing so. Thru DH's work it is now over $700 per month. I'm just trying to understand how it is for families that have one spouse making even more than DH used to, have less children, yet still cannot afford to go w/o that second job. If our country truly did have insurance coverage for all, for free, and affordable housing in every city, then I guess it really would be possible.

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#124 of 147 Old 01-28-2009, 01:19 PM
 
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You won't get flamed from me. I agree with many of your points. Choices I made 20 years ago (to start saving for having kids even though I didn't have any for another 15 years) is allowing me choices now. I lived on very little money when I was young...a 360 sq. ft. house, built our own addition, home cooked meals, did my own car repair, etc. That allowed me to save 10% of my income even though I only made $6000 a year. When I got a $15,000/year teaching job I was able to put away even more.

More recently, my current DH and I became very used to a double income. When I think of the amounts of money I wasted during a 10 year period I feel sick. When we decided to switch to a single income we quickly realized how many things we could cut out and still live very comfortably. We are always in danger of my DH's business going under and he often can't cash his paychecks for 6 weeks or more, but we still put food on the table, because we live within our means and have savings to fall back on until his paychecks are good. And we could tighten our belts even further if we need.

I watch our neighbors making the same choices on spending even after the wife got fired from her job. They still have cable and high speed internet, bought 2 new dogs (now have 4 total), cell phones for the kids, a fridge stocked with processed food and soda. They fell into the trap of qualifying for a home refinance based on 2 incomes and spent the extra dollars on furniture and an expensive new pickup truck. I feel bad for them as they will soon be losing their house but I also am shocked that they haven't cut back more severely on optional expenses in order to ride out this temporary setback.

I don't have a problem if both parents in a family decide they want to be working, but then they should be on an aggressive savings plan so that should the need arise they can drop to a single income. I think we have all gotten too used to "keeping up with the Joneses". I see the young employees at my Dh's company come in with such an expectation that they should be able to afford big screen TV's and a large house just a year out of school. They all buy lunch everyday instead of bringing it from home, they all have to have cable and expensive cell phone plans. And whine and complain that they don't make enough money after they have run up huge credit card debts. Frankly, I am sick of it. Right now we have a young man who is the first to take his finances seriously and is the first employee under the age of 35 to take advantage of our company retirement plan.

I want to clarify that I do think families where the wage earners make less than $15 an hour are going to have tough time making it on one income if they have kids, but I do not consider that to be a middle income wage earner. It is the middle income families that I think fall into the "trap".

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#125 of 147 Old 01-28-2009, 01:44 PM
 
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The fact is there is no "defined" middle class. And people's perceptions off what is middle class vary widely.
http://www.factcheck.org/askfactchec...nition_of.html

Polls suggest that 90 percent or more of Americans consider themselves to be "middle class" or "upper-middle class" or "working class." An April 2007 poll ... found...2 percent said they were "upper class," ...7 percent said... "lower class." In another poll, by Gallup/USA Today in May 2006, 1 percent said ..."upper class," and 6 percent said... "lower class." Since 12.3 percent of Americans were living below the official federal poverty level in 2006, these poll findings suggest many who are officially poor still consider themselves to be "middle class" or "working class."

Interesting stats:

The "median" income in the US (in 2005) was 44,389. The mean number of earners for that was 1.35.

The middle quintile incomes ranged from $34,738-55,331. At those numbers, the mean number of earners were 1.17-1.61. The middle third ranged from 30,000-62,500 (I'm assuming the purty numbers are rounded). At those incomes, the mean number of earners were 1.01-1.64
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#126 of 147 Old 01-28-2009, 01:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by katheek77 View Post
The fact is there is no "defined" middle class. And people's perceptions off what is middle class vary widely.
http://www.factcheck.org/askfactchec...nition_of.html

Polls suggest that 90 percent or more of Americans consider themselves to be "middle class" or "upper-middle class" or "working class." An April 2007 poll ... found...2 percent said they were "upper class," ...7 percent said... "lower class." In another poll, by Gallup/USA Today in May 2006, 1 percent said ..."upper class," and 6 percent said... "lower class." Since 12.3 percent of Americans were living below the official federal poverty level in 2006, these poll findings suggest many who are officially poor still consider themselves to be "middle class" or "working class."

Interesting stats:

The "median" income in the US (in 2005) was 44,389. The mean number of earners for that was 1.35.

The middle quintile incomes ranged from $34,738-55,331. At those numbers, the mean number of earners were 1.17-1.61. The middle third ranged from 30,000-62,500 (I'm assuming the purty numbers are rounded). At those incomes, the mean number of earners were 1.01-1.64
Yep, I read the same info. Wiki also has a pretty good discussion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_middle_class.
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#127 of 147 Old 01-28-2009, 02:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by slsurface View Post
Yep, I read the same info. Wiki also has a pretty good discussion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_middle_class.

thanks, that was interesting. Though, I'm still confused as to what really is middle, low, etc, class.

This part was interesting:
Quote:
The lower middle class also commonly needs two income earners in order to sustain a comfortable standard of living, while many upper middle class households can maintain a similar standard of living with just one income earner
I guess then, you either have to be "low class" (like we were, considering the size of our family) or "upper middle class" (which, we are now, IMO of course ) in order to make having a SAHP work out. Because, either your 'standard of living' is so low that you just do with what you have and cannot afford to have two parents working (unless you had free childcare, I suppose) or you have one partner who makes enough money to live comfortably. The latter, however, is always a relative thing. There are many families that survive off much less, and still find a way to say, eat organic and pay their bills on time.

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#128 of 147 Old 01-28-2009, 02:10 PM
 
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I think that my household is middle class. For starters, we have 1.0 workers, not 1.35, and our 2008 income was $32,500. I think if went back to work part time, I could probably bump us to the mid 40's.

(The problem with that, is, as I elaborated upthread, between taxes, loss of WIC benefits, childcare and transportation, I'd break even, so what's the point? If I had to spend additional money on work clothes, grooming, or meals out, I'd probably lose money.)

I think that it has a whole lot to do with where you live. The median income in my region (MI's U.P.) is significantly lower than that of the rest of the state or the country as a whole. It's lower than WV's, actually, which, IIRC, is the lowest in the nation.

If we made $32,500 in Ann Arbor, no way could we afford the accoutrements that indicate a middle class lifestyle. We'd go broke just trying to pay rent. (I know, I lived in Ann Arbor - making $40,000 a year between two people, no dependents other than two cats, and we could.not.afford.to.live.)

But here, even though energy costs are much higher, everything else is less expensive, from groceries to real estate. So I feel that we are pretty solidly middle class- we own a home that cost us less than 20% of DH's gross (incl. taxes and ins.) and two cars, outright, and we can afford for me to stay home. I think that is as telling as DH's W2.

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#129 of 147 Old 01-28-2009, 04:15 PM
 
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(I have not read all the posts) I agree with the OP that there are factors that make it more difficult to live on one income.

I also agree that many are not trapped by outside forces, but by their own lifestyle choices. I think that people may not be willing to live like people did in the past. My grandparents had 6 kids and not much money but my grandma was a SAHP (She had a math degree from UCLA and was gainfully employeed as a scientist when she married. She actually made more than my grandpa. Pretty crazy for the 1950s). Their big outing was going to McDonalds once a month after payday. They grew a lot of food, never use the heater, ect. I am always trying to learn from her!

I am a SAHP and my dh is a self-employed electrician. When we were having hard times, we thought about getting me a job in the evenings. But even though I have a BA, dh makes 5-8X what I could per hour. So we figured it was better for him to focus on expanding his business and trying to find more jobs. That was the right choice. He says I am the key to his success because he does not have to worry about paying bills, feeding himself, who will watch kids, clean his uniforms ect..He can focus on the business.

I also think there are different definitions to "making it" on one income...Does that include being able to purchase a home, for example? Having a savings account for emergencies? The issue is very complicated, IMO but I enjoy the discussion and wil go read some more posts while I try and recover from this head cold!

ETA--I don't think everyone needs to live on one income and have a SAHP. This works for our family. I was talking about the trap in relation to people I know in life who seem to make more money than dh and I (nicer cars, homes, vacations ect) and then tell me how lucky I am so afford to stay home. I do feel blessed but we are living this way on purpose

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#130 of 147 Old 01-28-2009, 04:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by slsurface View Post
Oh, I'm sorry, but $32K IS middle class. It may be lower middle class, but I am still middle class.
I know there is no hard and fast definition for middle class in the US. However, I don't view those who qualify for WIC or food stamps to be "middle class". If you qualify for those programs, surely by definition you are low income and therefore not middle class?
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#131 of 147 Old 01-28-2009, 04:42 PM
 
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I know there is no hard and fast definition for middle class in the US. However, I don't view those who qualify for WIC or food stamps to be "middle class". If you qualify for those programs, surely by definition you are low income and therefore not middle class?
this was my thought as well. Before DH's promotion, he made $18 an hr. Which, even in an average COL area (if denver is that) would probably be okay for a single person or maybe even a 1-2 child family. However, given that we had 4 children, we qualified for WIC, state insurance for the kids, and probably some other "low income" type of programs. To me, that was what made us lower class. That and the fact that we couldn't afford to buy a house on that income (w/our family size), even if we had had zero other debt.

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#132 of 147 Old 01-28-2009, 05:30 PM
 
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I know there is no hard and fast definition for middle class in the US. However, I don't view those who qualify for WIC or food stamps to be "middle class". If you qualify for those programs, surely by definition you are low income and therefore not middle class?
I just wanted to say that with certain programs like fuel assistance for instance the income limits have been expanded to include folks who used to be considered middle class. In my state if you make something up to 42K you qualify for fuel assistance.

I work in social services and there is a growing realization that what used to be middle-class really doesn't take you as far as it used to.

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#133 of 147 Old 01-28-2009, 05:38 PM
 
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I work in social services and there is a growing realization that what used to be middle-class really doesn't take you as far as it used to.
But, when "what used to be middle class" doesn't take you as far, doesn't that mean that it is no longer middle class?
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#134 of 147 Old 01-28-2009, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by katheek77 View Post
I'm sure I'm going to get flamed for this, but...

A lot of what we think we "need", we don't. We've just grown up with it, and we're used to it, to the point that it is like a need.

1950, almost all families that had a car at all had one car. Now, it's an average of 1.9 per family. The average house in 1950 was 933sq feet. In 2000 it was 2266. Floor area per capita has TRIPLED in that time. Things like a television set, air conditioning, computers, credit cards, cell phones, were non-existent (or very new) in 1950. Things like having more than two pairs of shoes (one for every day, one for Sunday), or one "good" dress/suit. It's interesting to note that "elective expenditures" increased from 13% of a middle income 1950 family's spending to 23% of a middle income 1997 family.

I understand that if you get hit by a medical situation, divorce, etc., yeah, you're probably screwed. At the same time, I do think choices - and I know this is controversial, so, I'm not going to say what I think about each specific situation - such as what job to pursue, where to live, when to have kids, when/how to buy a house (and, yes, I realize that these are often very interrelated) - do affect whether you end up in the "trap", so to speak. It's luck and choices...I think for very few people is it exclusively one or the other, but, I do think that choices (even choices made 10, 15, 20 years ago) play into it far more often than we (general we) acknowledge.
:

I agree.

I was actually thinking about posting what was considered "basic" in the era commonly associated with SAHPs (ie the 1950s and 1960s) and identified in the book.

That perception of basic is very different than the perception today for all the reasons you mentioned.

So, yeah, I totally agree!

(Although I wouldn't say that the choice to when to have kids impacts my ability to be a SAHP. If I'd had them young in life, I wouldn't have been able to pull off SAHPhood for sure. If I'd had them much later in life than I ended up, I probably wouldn't have been very fertile, and might not have had them at all.)
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#135 of 147 Old 01-28-2009, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by slsurface View Post
Oh, I'm sorry, but $32K IS middle class. It may be lower middle class, but I am still middle class.
I agree. $32k per year is most definitely middle class. There have been income breakdowns listed time and again on MDC and $32k was always middle class. On a single income, $32k comes out to about $15 per hour, which is above the living wage figures in almost all U.S. cities (even the high cost of living ones).


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Of course not. But we would all know it. What's the point of living paycheck to paycheck and eating crap? : It is tragic that some people feel that death is the only way out of their situation...and speaks to how stretched many Americans feel.
I get what you are saying, and I agree. If basic needs aren't met (and I mean basic like Katheek was talking about earlier) then life isn't ideal for your child, and it's time to re-evaluate (my opinion anyway).
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#136 of 147 Old 01-28-2009, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Leta View Post
It's lower than WV's, actually, which, IIRC, is the lowest in the nation.

If we made $32,500 in Ann Arbor, no way could we afford the accoutrements that indicate a middle class lifestyle. We'd go broke just trying to pay rent. (I know, I lived in Ann Arbor - making $40,000 a year between two people, no dependents other than two cats, and we could.not.afford.to.live.)

But here, even though energy costs are much higher, everything else is less expensive, from groceries to real estate. So I feel that we are pretty solidly middle class- we own a home that cost us less than 20% of DH's gross (incl. taxes and ins.) and two cars, outright, and we can afford for me to stay home. I think that is as telling as DH's W2.

Yep. :

And Ann Arbor is certainly not the highest cost of living area. Think of areas on either coast. It would be difficult to have a SAHP on $40,000 maybe even $50,000 in those places, even though that is considered "middle class."
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#137 of 147 Old 01-28-2009, 07:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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this was my thought as well. Before DH's promotion, he made $18 an hr. Which, even in an average COL area (if denver is that) would probably be okay for a single person or maybe even a 1-2 child family. However, given that we had 4 children, we qualified for WIC, state insurance for the kids, and probably some other "low income" type of programs. To me, that was what made us lower class. That and the fact that we couldn't afford to buy a house on that income (w/our family size), even if we had had zero other debt.
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I know there is no hard and fast definition for middle class in the US. However, I don't view those who qualify for WIC or food stamps to be "middle class". If you qualify for those programs, surely by definition you are low income and therefore not middle class?
Middle class and low income can overlap in the lower middle class/median income range.

Some of those programs were set up to help that income bracket, specifically.
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#138 of 147 Old 01-28-2009, 07:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by shayinme View Post
I just wanted to say that with certain programs like fuel assistance for instance the income limits have been expanded to include folks who used to be considered middle class. In my state if you make something up to 42K you qualify for fuel assistance.

I work in social services and there is a growing realization that what used to be middle-class really doesn't take you as far as it used to.
Thanks! That is exactly what I was trying to say in my post below!
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#139 of 147 Old 01-28-2009, 07:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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To keep this thread open, I'd like to refocus on the social and economic aspects of the idea of a two-income trap, and whether it exists or not, and why.

I'd really like the discussion to stay away from broad moral statements about parents staying at home or working.

We're all parents, whether we are SAHPs or parents drawing a salary with outside employment.

I know because I've been both, at various times, and the amount of love I have for my child, and receive from my child, does not change based on my ocupational status. I am still the parent, and I am still raising my child.



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#140 of 147 Old 01-28-2009, 07:45 PM
 
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To keep this thread open, I'd like to refocus on the social and economic aspects of the idea of a two-income trap, and whether it exists or not, and why.

I'd really like the discussion to stay away from broad moral statements about parents staying at home or working.

We're all parents, whether we are SAHPs or parents drawing a salary with outside employment.

I know because I've been both, at various times, and the amount of love I have for my child, and receive from my child, does not change based on my ocupational status. I am still the parent, and I am still raising my child.




The original post was questioning the existence of the 2 income trap... so that sort of is pertinent to further posting. And I have been both as well, and I understand what goes into being both and I HATED sending my daughter to daycare, but there was a time when that wasn't a choice. And I'm sorry that for some parents it isn't an option to stay home. what I'm saying is, that if there's two parents.... and there could be lifestyle modifications (because we don't really need much to live-food, clothing, shelter).... and if both parents are pulling an income and there's a say a big house and a couple of cars and dining out and paying for entertainment and buying clothes at the mall...then they are indeed in a two income trap. If one is shopping at thrift stores, eating at home, getting entertained for little to no cost, growing what one can of ones own food, etc... and there is still a need for both parents to work in order to pay the rent/utilities and buy food... then that's the way it is. However, daycare isn't cheap either. I know of many families with two working parents that are choosing luxury over family. Is stuff really as important as our children?
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#141 of 147 Old 01-31-2009, 04:07 PM
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I've removed some posts and PMed some people, and I'm returning this thread for further discussion. Please remember that we're here to support all families in doing what works best for that family in terms of parental employment, and if you're not able to do that, please refrain from posting. I think That Is Nice said it very well here:
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We're all parents, whether we are SAHPs or parents drawing a salary with outside employment.

I know because I've been both, at various times, and the amount of love I have for my child, and receive from my child, does not change based on my ocupational status. I am still the parent, and I am still raising my child.
Thanks,

Dar

 
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#142 of 147 Old 01-31-2009, 04:21 PM
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But, when "what used to be middle class" doesn't take you as far, doesn't that mean that it is no longer middle class?
That's exactly my point. If you are having difficulty in providing the basics for your family, that's not middle class. The book we are discussing was about The Middle Class.

I did find an interview with one of the authors where she cited $20,000 as being the bottom of the middle class, and I just think that is loony. The federal poverty guideline for a family of 4 is $22,050.
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#143 of 147 Old 01-31-2009, 04:32 PM
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I agree. $32k per year is most definitely middle class. There have been income breakdowns listed time and again on MDC and $32k was always middle class. On a single income, $32k comes out to about $15 per hour, which is above the living wage figures in almost all U.S. cities (even the high cost of living ones).
Just because a majority of people earn $x per year, that doesn't mean that that defines middle class. There is a difference between median and middle class. If someone was living in a country where the wages were a very small amount, but they made twice what the average wage was, would you call them rich? Take Ghana for example. The average daily wages in Ghana are $6 a day. I would not call someone who made $10 a day rich. Or even middle class.

I have been on a board where an anonymous poll was done, and the average individual income was reported at between $50K and $60K. Not per household, but per earner. I think anytime you do a poll you have to remember where your pool of potential responders is coming from.
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#144 of 147 Old 01-31-2009, 05:37 PM
 
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I know there is no hard and fast definition for middle class in the US. However, I don't view those who qualify for WIC or food stamps to be "middle class". If you qualify for those programs, surely by definition you are low income and therefore not middle class?
oops.
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#145 of 147 Old 01-31-2009, 05:47 PM
 
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I think that it has a whole lot to do with where you live. The median income in my region (MI's U.P.) is significantly lower than that of the rest of the state or the country as a whole. It's lower than WV's, actually, which, IIRC, is the lowest in the nation.

If we made $32,500 in Ann Arbor, no way could we afford the accoutrements that indicate a middle class lifestyle. We'd go broke just trying to pay rent. (I know, I lived in Ann Arbor - making $40,000 a year between two people, no dependents other than two cats, and we could.not.afford.to.live.)

But here, even though energy costs are much higher, everything else is less expensive, from groceries to real estate. So I feel that we are pretty solidly middle class- we own a home that cost us less than 20% of DH's gross (incl. taxes and ins.) and two cars, outright, and we can afford for me to stay home. I think that is as telling as DH's W2.
Very true. We happen to live in a high cost of living area in Michigan. Our money doesn't go nearly as far here, as it did when we lived in Indiana. Now when we go visit my family in Indiana, I am always shocked by how much cheaper food is at the grocery or even restaurants. Not to mention housing/rent and utility costs are like 40% less in Indiana than Michigan. It's crazy how different costs are only a hundred miles away. :
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#146 of 147 Old 01-31-2009, 07:22 PM
 
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It's hard to say yes or no when talking about a 2-income "trap" because there are so many variables - income of both parties, cost of living, debt, medical issues, etc.

The one thing I miss about working full time is not having to live paycheck to paycheck as we pretty much do now. It was really nice to have $ in the bank and a cushion of savings. It wasn't about having "stuff," it was more about having financial security. And before the kids, our two incomes together, allowed us to buy a house in our high cost of living area, something that was big on my priority list. And the insurance from my job allowed me to HAVE my 2nd child (insurance covered 80% of IVF).

I quit working to stay home when my youngest child was 2. Now that I am stay-at-home mom (I do work part time during school hours), I really have to budget and I am seriously concerned about paying for college for the kids. We have retirement savings, but we don't have anything set up for the kids.

I am puzzled why it was a "trap" to have 2 incomes...it's not like we own a mansion, or have a boat, or travel to Europe. We don't. It allowed us to live a middle class lifestyle without worrying so much. Personally, I am much happier right now being with the kids as much as I can, but as they get older that may change.

And FWIW, I can't see $32K for a family of 4 as being middle class. You'd just barely be getting by here in Seattle.
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#147 of 147 Old 01-31-2009, 08:47 PM
 
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I am puzzled why it was a "trap" to have 2 incomes...it's not like we own a mansion, or have a boat, or travel to Europe. We don't. It allowed us to live a middle class lifestyle without worrying so much. Personally, I am much happier right now being with the kids as much as I can, but as they get older that may change.
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What I got from this book is that this IS the trap. The fact that, to live a comfortable life, without much worrying, you really need more than one income.

In the 50s and 60s, one income could, most of the time, provide middle class security without worrying about money all.the.time. With the rise of the number of women in the workforce (which in and of itself isn't a bad thing), employers have been able to stagnate salaries, because lots of families have more than one wage-earner.

Thus, it becomes a "trap" that there is no longer a choice to work or SAH, if you want the middle class, we watch our money, but we don't worry a whole lot, sort of lifestyle.
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