Income Poll - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: What is your annual household income?
Less than $20,000 30 5.95%
$20,000 to $29,000 44 8.73%
$30,000 to $39,000 64 12.70%
$40,000 to $49,000 53 10.52%
$50,000 to $59,000 62 12.30%
$60,000 to $69,000 61 12.10%
$70,000 to $79,000 37 7.34%
$80,000 to $89,000 28 5.56%
$90,000 to $99,000 24 4.76%
$100,000 or more 101 20.04%
Voters: 504. You may not vote on this poll

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#121 of 200 Old 11-04-2007, 09:56 PM
 
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Well...I think the results are QUITE skewed when it seems that many people with TWO incomes answered the poll. I thought this was based on ONE income...more specifically what your spouse makes- sahm forum and all...and what the poll asked. Just mho.
That's what I was wondering once I saw some of the two income posts. I'm not a sahm, but my partner is a sahd. We live off my income.
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#122 of 200 Old 11-04-2007, 09:58 PM
 
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I think people bring up stuff like the average rent in an area or the amount of student loan debt they have because it does make a difference.

We have alot of student loan debt. Our minimum payments are $700/month, on 30 year notes. We have about 25 years left. If we were making $1000 a month, we would not have money to pay rent. There is nothing, and I do mean nothing, not a room in someone's house, nothing, around here to rent for less than $300 a month.

I grew up in a harder place financially. I feel very lucky that we have health insurance. I feel very lucky that I have enough money for gas for my car, and I don't have to sit at home the 3-4 days before payday. I feel lucky that we have an abundance of food. But, these things do not make me rich. Middle class, maybe, but not rich.
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#123 of 200 Old 11-04-2007, 10:07 PM
 
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Where I live a modest 3 bed room 2 bath home costs over 600K. You're looking at 800K if you want more than a 6,000 sq ft lot, oh and basements and attics don't exist in CA. Rent is around $2,000 for 3 bed, 2 bath apartment, more if you rent a house that size. I know there are places where I could live a much higher quality of life for $2,000 a month total, not just put the roof over my head. I wouldn't even begin to speculate what kind of income a person would need to SAVE the 120K for the down payment on the 600K house, let alone the over $4,000 a month in mortgage and taxes they will be paying on a nearly 500K mortgage.


So I think comments like this
Quote:
I think that once you're up looking down.. you really can't judge how far up you really are any more.
are really closed minded, when it's very clear by looking at the living wage calculator there simply are parts of the country where a person could not put a roof over their families head if their income was only $1,000 a month, let alone feed them.
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#124 of 200 Old 11-04-2007, 10:08 PM
 
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Well...I think the results are QUITE skewed when it seems that many people with TWO incomes answered the poll. I thought this was based on ONE income...more specifically what your spouse makes- sahm forum and all...and what the poll asked. Just mho.

I didn't vote because we have two incomes, but I did post.
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#125 of 200 Old 11-04-2007, 10:41 PM
 
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Here's the thread about the living wage if anyone is interested.

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=654512
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#126 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 12:08 AM
 
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Where I live a modest 3 bed room 2 bath home costs over 600K. You're looking at 800K if you want more than a 6,000 sq ft lot, oh and basements and attics don't exist in CA. Rent is around $2,000 for 3 bed, 2 bath apartment, more if you rent a house that size. I know there are places where I could live a much higher quality of life for $2,000 a month total, not just put the roof over my head. I wouldn't even begin to speculate what kind of income a person would need to SAVE the 120K for the down payment on the 600K house, let alone the over $4,000 a month in mortgage and taxes they will be paying on a nearly 500K mortgage.


So I think comments like this
are really closed minded, when it's very clear by looking at the living wage calculator there simply are parts of the country where a person could not put a roof over their families head if their income was only $1,000 a month, let alone feed them.
I'm probably the least close minded person I know. Seriously.

I honestly do believe that some people have a hard time seeing how well off they really are. It wasn't a statement singling out anyone, as I've been guilty of it sometimes myself.

It wouldn't matter if I lived somewhere where the cost of living was higher or not. I'd have to make 1,000 a month work because thats all we receive in disability. There is no other choice. Its not like the amount I receive would change substantially just to make up for the fact that I live in a more expensive place. Some things would scale, like housing subsidies. Most things wouldn't though.

Renting an apartment is all we'll be able to do on this amount. Even renting a house is beyond our budget. Right now we can't even afford a used car payment, which we'll need come Feb when our current beat up car no longer fits all of us.

I believe how we view personal finances is largely a matter of perspective. Just as I cannot fathom how someone can pay hundreds of dollars a month in student loans, or afford two car payments, or even afford to tithe.. some people cannot see how I spend less than 150 a month on groceries for a family of 5.. or how I only buy clothes for my children every couple of months, and usually from second hand stores... or why purchases like new toothbrushes, shampoo, or a cup of coffee NEED to be budgeted in or left out...Or how its possible to not go out to eat for years.

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#127 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 12:34 AM
 
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It wouldn't matter if I lived somewhere where the cost of living was higher or not. I'd have to make 1,000 a month work because thats all we receive in disability. There is no other choice. Its not like the amount I receive would change substantially just to make up for the fact that I live in a more expensive place.
I understand that, I really do. But it also means you would never live in a community where it is impossible to put a roof over your head for that $1,000.
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#128 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 09:00 AM
 
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I voted in Aussie dollars, which is current ly worth about 90% of the US dollar. I used our combined income, although I contribute very little to our our all income... about 1/40th of our total, i reckon....

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#129 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 10:12 AM
 
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I believe how we view personal finances is largely a matter of perspective. Just as I cannot fathom how someone can pay hundreds of dollars a month in student loans, or afford two car payments, or even afford to tithe.. some people cannot see how I spend less than 150 a month on groceries for a family of 5.. or how I only buy clothes for my children every couple of months, and usually from second hand stores... or why purchases like new toothbrushes, shampoo, or a cup of coffee NEED to be budgeted in or left out...Or how its possible to not go out to eat for years.
Student loans suck. We will pay for 30 years on mistakes we made as young kids. My dh is the first in his family to go to college; I'm one of the first. We just weren't advised that it's not smart to go in that much debt. But, it's something you just have to deal with. You can't ever get out of your student loan debt unless you die. No bankruptcy, no nothing. You can delay them, but eventually, they have to be paid. Some days, it feels like a lifetime sentence for bad decisions.
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#130 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 10:16 AM
 
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I understand that, I really do. But it also means you would never live in a community where it is impossible to put a roof over your head for that $1,000.
No, I suppose if I had a choice you're right. I wouldn't live there. However, what if I didn't have that choice? What if I was born in the area, landed on SSDI and now have to try to put a roof over my head, pay all the bills, and food and gas for 1,000 a month. Since I haven't been in that situation, I can't say. I wonder what others in that situation do? Do they move clear across the country, among strangers, just for lower rent? Surely there must be people who survive off disability payments in California or other places.

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#131 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 10:27 AM
 
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Well we're in euros but I reckon we're at 30-39US$, not much and we don't own our own home , we could NEVER afford anything around here, but when I go to work then things will change - I just have to get a job in france?!? Ooohh but then I didn't count in that we have 100% health covered by dh's job so it probably works out 40-49 now - sorry.!

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#132 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 10:39 AM
 
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artgoddess, maybe someone couldn't afford a roof that has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms under it on $1000/month, but I'm certain there are people in your area that live on very little.

Someone earlier commented about how Boston has one of the highest COL, then someone else piped in and said they live in Boston on an income of $40-$49K. When people need to make it work, they make it work, because they have to. There is no other option. They don't have all the extras that so many people take for granted.

I have never lived in a 3 bedroom apartment, and certainly not one with 2 bathrooms. I have never been able to afford something that luxurious. We don't have a car payment because the cars I buy cost about $500. Before that, we took the bus. (I'm pretty sure most urban areas have public transit, but for some reason, people seem to think they need cars.) I haven't been to the dentist for 9 years, because I can't imagine spending so much money. We don't eat out. We certainly don't have heaps of insurance. I currently plug the hole in the pipe under my sink with my finger so water doesn't spray everywhere when I drain the sink, because we really need to make it last as long as we can before we hire a plumber. We don't have cell phones, or cable. My ds doesn't do ANY activities that are not free, except maybe swimming once a month for $3. I don't buy coffee out. I honestly can't remember the last time I bought a new clothing item for anyone in the family. But these are not the things I focus on.

I am incredibly grateful for what I have and I really do have an abundance. I have a house and a car that gets me where I want to go. Five years ago I didn't have those either. I wouldn't imply that we don't really make much money because our mortgage has to be paid, or because we have student loan payments, because I recognize that we are fortunate enough to have a mortgage and student loans. Your money is going a lot further than you can see.
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#133 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 10:44 AM
 
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... when it's very clear by looking at the living wage calculator there simply are parts of the country where a person could not put a roof over their families head if their income was only $1,000 a month, let alone feed them.
I guess the thing that I don't understand is how some seem to be giving the impression that they don't understand that the ability to live modestly yet reasonably in high cost of living areas is itself highly privileged.
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#134 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 11:09 AM
 
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I guess the thing that I don't understand is how some seem to be giving the impression that they don't understand that the ability to live modestly yet reasonably in high cost of living areas is itself highly privileged.
Yes! ITA. It's not that I'm unaware of how the cost of living can skew the scales a bit. I know that if we lived in another part of the country we would not be considered low income. And I know b/c of where we live, if our income were to double we would still not be considered rich. But you are so right about the privilege factor. It is a privilege to be able to afford things like cars, cell phones, and cable TV (all of these things my family does w/out, BTW). Oh, but I will add that I am also aware that we are on the high end of low income, if that makes any sense. I am quite aware that my own family has the privilege of not having to rely on public housing, even though we qualify. We have the privilege of paying for unlimited long distance so we can keep in touch w/ people out of state. We have the privilege of paying for internet, even though it is not high speed. These things are not somehow entitled to us, rather we are lucky (privileged) to be able to have these things.
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#135 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 12:49 PM
 
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But there is a difference (at least in my mind) between feeling grateful for what we have/grateful that we are priveleged, and feeling that we are wealthy.

Being able to have a home, transportation (car, public, bike, doesn't matter), healthcare, and food does not make you wealthy. More privileged than many in the world? Yes, absolutely. "Rich" in the current-day first world meaning? I don't think so.
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#136 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 01:13 PM
 
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Being able to have a home, transportation (car, public, bike, doesn't matter), healthcare, and food does not make you wealthy.
I couldn't disagree more. That whole perspective thing again.
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#137 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 01:34 PM
 
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I guess the thing that I don't understand is how some seem to be giving the impression that they don't understand that the ability to live modestly yet reasonably in high cost of living areas is itself highly privileged.
Good point. I have to agree with this. I mean, I know PLENTY (yes, plenty) of families who would LOVE to live in say San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, NYC, Portland, Denver, etc but due to the higher cost of living, choose to live somewhere else.

Yes, it's a choice, but if their income were a little higher (privilege) they would most likely try to make it work in the city of their dreams.

So, yes, I consider living modestly yet reasonably in high cost cities itself a privilege (not to say it wasn't earned, but it is still a privilege).
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#138 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 01:40 PM
 
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does not make you wealthy..."Rich" in the current-day first world meaning? I don't think so.
Interesting. I think we're probably using different definitions and scales for "rich," "wealthy," "affluence," etc.

Again, it's a matter of perspective.

To me, I kind of think of the brackets in loose Census terms...like 1 or 2 income households earning more than $100,000 (no matter where you live) that is high income. One income households earning $60,000 or more are high income.

I know people will disagree with this, but again, it's perspective. Look at the income levels for public assistance programs and you will get a new perspective on high income, middle income, low income.

Weath is a little harder to define because that involves more than income...it's more long term than that and includes property, investments, retirement, etc. Harder to understand than just looking at one's annual income.

What do others think when they hear "wealthy"?
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#139 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 01:49 PM
 
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Being able to have a home, transportation (car, public, bike, doesn't matter), healthcare, and food does not make you wealthy. More privileged than many in the world? Yes, absolutely. "Rich" in the current-day first world meaning? I don't think so.
I think depending on who you are, your perspective in this will differ. To the person who is homeless, living on the street, trying to beg for food for their children, and dig through dumpsters to find old clothes to bundle up with... the fact that I am able to rent an apartment, have a crappy car, and access welfare is seen as very wealthy.

I can remember being the homeless person with no money at all and no home at all. I consider myself wealthy because I have those things now. Even at only 1,000 a month.

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#140 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 01:56 PM
 
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What do others think when they hear "wealthy"?
To me, wealth means no debt and having sufficient income via investments (enough so that you don't have to work outside the home if you don't want to).
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#141 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 01:59 PM
 
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What do others think when they hear "wealthy"?
It appears that many people on this thread think that wealthy or affluent is anyone that earns more than them, and that's not a half-bad definition.

This would be a great spinoff topic!!
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#142 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 02:24 PM
 
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What do others think when they hear "wealthy"?
I get the feeling that some people think Scrooge McDuck.
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#143 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 02:42 PM
 
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To me, wealth means no debt and having sufficient income via investments (enough so that you don't have to work outside the home if you don't want to).
I don't know anyone like that, in my own personal experience. I don't know anyone who would be young enough to have kids who they stayed home with (20 years old to 50 years old, let's say) AND who has enough investments in order to live off the interest and not work.

To me, that would be some kind of inheritance situation. Even to come up with the money to make good investments, takes capital to begin with.

Everyone I know who has disposable income, a home, etc works with two incomes or they worked two incomes and now are getting by temporarily on one income.

And most of my friends are well educated...most have master's degrees...but they do no have investment incomes...they work.
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#144 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 02:50 PM
 
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I believe how we view personal finances is largely a matter of perspective. Just as I cannot fathom how someone can pay hundreds of dollars a month in student loans, or afford two car payments, or even afford to tithe.. some people cannot see how I spend less than 150 a month on groceries for a family of 5.. or how I only buy clothes for my children every couple of months, and usually from second hand stores... or why purchases like new toothbrushes, shampoo, or a cup of coffee NEED to be budgeted in or left out...Or how its possible to not go out to eat for years.
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I think depending on who you are, your perspective in this will differ. To the person who is homeless, living on the street, trying to beg for food for their children, and dig through dumpsters to find old clothes to bundle up with... the fact that I am able to rent an apartment, have a crappy car, and access welfare is seen as very wealthy.

I can remember being the homeless person with no money at all and no home at all. I consider myself wealthy because I have those things now. Even at only 1,000 a month.
Exactly!

:

I grew up under the poverty line, so maybe I should add that as a caveat, but truly as a solidly middle class woman, I do not ever want to insulate myself so much so that I forget that there are people who do not have a warm home to come to when it is cold or raining, that there are people who go hungry or pick through dumpsters for food, and who even go without such things as medical and dental care.

I do not pine for SUVs or jewelry or even large amounts of disposable income. In fact, when I've had opportunities to get these kinds of things, I feel a little guilty and extravagant and I end up not fully enjoying it, thinking of what I can donate to charity, etc. Don't get me wrong, I like being comfortable, but I never want to live a lifestyle so beyond the majority's that I feel out of touch.

There is so much beauty in simplicity and frugality.
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#145 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 02:55 PM
 
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Student loans suck.


Yes, student loans can be a burden, definitely.

My perspective is a little different, though. I am ETERNALLY GRATEFUL for the opportunity my student loans gave me. I value my education immensely and I know it is the single most important investment I have ever made in myself.

I self-financed 100% of my college education and I am very proud to pay off my loans. I get so much satisfaction from it. It is a big accomplishment.

I would never have been able to go to college without students loans and I think the student loan program is one of the best programs out there.

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#146 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 03:14 PM
 
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I do not pine for SUVs or jewelry or even large amounts of disposable income. In fact, when I've had opportunities to get these kinds of things, I feel a little guilty and extravagant and I end up not fully enjoying it, thinking of what I can donate to charity, etc. Don't get me wrong, I like being comfortable, but I never want to live a lifestyle so beyond the majority's that I feel out of touch.

There is so much beauty in simplicity and frugality.
I agree. When tax returns come around and I have a chance to get myself something after debts are paid, I just can't. Rarely I will buy a new pair of cheap shoes (I have weird feet and can only get certain ones), but I feel horribly guilty about it.

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#147 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 03:15 PM
 
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I guess the thing that I don't understand is how some seem to be giving the impression that they don't understand that the ability to live modestly yet reasonably in high cost of living areas is itself highly privileged.
Well yes of course. I know that I am privileged, and I live in one of those high cost of living areas, where a person on an income of 1,000 a month would have to move, no way around it. And my DP makes about 65K a year pre-tax and we live in a small duplex, rent half of it, and own one car, and enjoy eating out way more often than we should. To our friends we are the poor neighbors, and that is nuts! This is the "highest on the hog" I have ever lived in my 37 years of life. I am very very grateful for the privileges I have. But there were some really no so nice comments made earlier in this thread and I don't think that is fair at all. It certainly isn't going to open the eyes of someone who is not understanding how saying "I'm not privileged" when you own a home and have $$ in the bank is not going to make any sense to those who will never have any money to give their kids for college, because they are too consumed with making sure they have enough $$ to feed the kids. And what I was really commenting on when thie exchange began was the things that were said.
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#148 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 03:16 PM
 
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I don't know anyone like that, in my own personal experience. I don't know anyone who would be young enough to have kids who they stayed home with (20 years old to 50 years old, let's say) AND who has enough investments in order to live off the interest and not work.

To me, that would be some kind of inheritance situation. Even to come up with the money to make good investments, takes capital to begin with.

Everyone I know who has disposable income, a home, etc works with two incomes or they worked two incomes and now are getting by temporarily on one income.

And most of my friends are well educated...most have master's degrees...but they do no have investment incomes...they work.

You can plan for this, but you have to start young.

Theoretically, one could work in a big city and make a realtively higher income, save the money while rooming with two others in a studio apartment...then move to Nebraska and buy a small house in cash and put the rest into an investment with a dividend.

I consider that wealthy, simply because this person does not have to work, they own their (tiny) house, and they have what they need.

I do know someone who did just that.

If we were to sell our tiny house here near Boston and pick up our kids and move to a low cost of living area, we could do the same thing. Buy a small house, put the rest in savings/investments and live off the $15-20,000 a year income without having to work outside the house. I'd consider that wealthy, even though we wouldn't be able to afford two pricey cars or anything like that. We've have a paid-for roof over our head and enough to pay basic bills.

However, we won't do this because my husband LOVES his job and he is well-known for what he does. He HAS to be here to work. If he decided one day that he hates it, then maybe we'll do the above. However, I don't see him suddenly loathing his work.
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#149 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 03:18 PM
 
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I guess "wealthy" to me means that you have no debt, you are able to have whatever style lifestyle you desire (yearly vacations, shopping at Whole Foods occasionally, whatever you want), still put money in the bank for savings every month, and not worry about money every day.

We are certainly not wealthy by this definition. But, we have a roof over our heads (upside down on a mortgage), health insurance, we're not hungry, and we own a car. So, I'd say we are comfortable.
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#150 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 03:30 PM
 
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it looks liek this poll was for sahms so i guess i shouldnt have answered. we make about 40000 and are not comfortable by any means. we had no gas all summer and had to get a loan to pay teh 1000 to put it back on. and i agree that student loans suck since we didnt even graduate and have all of this debt
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