Income Poll - Page 6 - 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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#151 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 04:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Nature View Post
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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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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Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
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.
I agree with or have the same perspective as the people I quoted above.

Regarding, what do I think is wealthy:

I think it means being able to buy luxuries and it not affecting your ability to pay for bills.

My definition of luxuries: 401K/retirement accounts, health/dental/optical insurance, savings, magazine subscriptions, makeup/hair products, more than three pairs of shoes (boots [cold-weather], shoes, sandals [warm weather]), more than one week of clothes, a vehicle, a house, pets, books (or any other collection), toys, shopping organic, memberships (Costco, co-op, Fitness club, etc), electronics (movies, video games, game systems, cd player, psp, laptop, pc, cell phone) and I'm sure there are more luxuries, but I can't think of anymore right now.

ETA: more luxuries:
Not having to cook everything from scratch.
Being able to eat out or order in.
Hiring any kind of childcare.
Hiring any kind of housecleaning service (maid, carpet cleaning, etc.)
Hiring any kind of home improvement service (roofer, tiler, deck builder, etc.)
Paying someone to cut/style/color your hair.
Paying someone for massage, chiropractic services, acupuncture, etc.

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#152 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 04:44 PM
 
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Well, that's just my point. The rich don't notice how rich they are. Instead you come on here and say, "I make so much money, but it's not really that much because I have this and this and that to pay for." Just the fact that you can get all that insurance...and man would I be happy to be able to afford a car payment. I don't begrudge people making a lot of money, it's when you refuse to recognize what you have, and come here and talk about how it's really not that much, then you list off all of the things that you have (or services, or insurance, or education.)
Much of that insurance is required by law, and we actually can't afford the $700 we have to pay for health insurance and have been known to charge it when we can't pay. But it's more expensive not to have it. Yes, we have one car payment, but we can only afford one car, and it's not even big enough for our family. So yes, I guess some people would call us rich (WOW! never ever thought I was rich) but believe me, we are not. We frequently can't even make the montly payments, which as I have outlined are necessary and not luxuries, and I have to now get a job and leave my daughter at home with DH while he tries to make a living and take care of her.

So yes, while we may make more than other people on this thread, we are not rich. I try not to be bitter, but when I hear of people just going out and being able to buy something they want, take their kids here or there, or go to the doctor and not think twice about whether you cheking account can handle the $25 co-payment, I get a little jelous. Or recently, when my glasses broke, being depressed because I just couldn't afford to replace them and had to tape them. That's not rich, at least not to anyone I know.
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#153 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Nature View Post
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.
You know, I can see what you're saying, even though I'm one of the "rich" people on this thread who doesn't see myself as rich at all. I remember when my DH and I were living in a 900 square foot, 2-bedroom, 1-bath apartment, and we definitely didn't appreciate it -- we called it a dump, couldn't wait to move out, etc. Then one day some movers hired by my company were moving furniture into my home office (our 2nd bedroom), and one of them looked around my apartment and asked if I lived there alone. I said, "Yes, my husband and I live here alone" and he said, "Wow, your place is so big!" It was really humbling, and I was, and still am, ashamed of my previous attitude about our apartment.

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#154 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 06:29 PM
 
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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.


Bingo.
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#155 of 200 Old 11-05-2007, 06:54 PM
 
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Fascinating thread, definitely some stuff for me to think about. Thanks to getting canned from my gig this summer we are broker than we have ever been in 10 years of marriage but certainly no where near the broke i grew up with, yet I am complaining since right now we are in what I call survival mode. Yet in reading this thread, I am reminded its all a matter of perspective, as to what you consider wealthy or even well off. More later, I am sick and babbling

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#156 of 200 Old 11-06-2007, 06:35 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.
Bingo.

I totally agree that it costs a lot more to live in certain areas than others. That's why we don't live in those places. People often argue that they need to live in these areas because it's where they know or where their families are. Well, we both have lots of family in the northern NJ area. It would be lovely to be closer to them. I have lots of friends in Seattle and CA, too. And I sure do love Berkeley! But unless we changed careers, we'd never be able to afford to live in those areas. It's just not even on the table. It would never be considered.

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#157 of 200 Old 11-06-2007, 09:03 PM
 
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Bingo.

I totally agree that it costs a lot more to live in certain areas than others. That's why we don't live in those places. People often argue that they need to live in these areas because it's where they know or where their families are. Well, we both have lots of family in the northern NJ area. It would be lovely to be closer to them. I have lots of friends in Seattle and CA, too. And I sure do love Berkeley! But unless we changed careers, we'd never be able to afford to live in those areas. It's just not even on the table. It would never be considered.
Actually, we need to live in this area because this is where my husband's career is. He COULD commute an hour each way every day. And we are thinking about it. But as it is, we live 4 miles away from his job and he can get there and back rather quickly. Since he works LONG hours and usually on the weekends, this is a HUGE, big deal for us. If he had to commute an hour each way on top of his time at work, we would never, ever see him.
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#158 of 200 Old 11-06-2007, 09:45 PM
 
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I think it is hard to get an accurate picture with anything when you look at it in simple terms. Rarely is anything really simple. There are always variables. We live in a fairly high cost of living area. We could move and be much better off finacialy. To do that though, I would move away from an amazing support system. My family is here and I come from a very close family. I'm not sure I how I would have made it through the last year without their help and support. It would also mean possibly damaging a very close relationship between my children and their cousins, uncles and grandparents.
Everyone has different situations and different needs. If someone chooses to live somewhere with a high cost of living and be tight money wise for that decision, that's their path to take. At the same time though, I feel lucky to be able choose not to move. Heck like other posters mentioned. I feel lucky to live in a place where I have choices and options.

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#159 of 200 Old 11-06-2007, 09:48 PM
 
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Well I voted in the $40-49000 range. Dh works and I WAHM( selling ebay). We live comfortably. Our cars are both working and paid for(ok the air doesnt work in the jeep but hey, i cant complain) We buy things we want but dont go overboard and we eat good. We have excellent health insurance and our health is good. We also live in a small town where the pay is not that good unless you work for a few select businesses in town. I grew up dirt poor( my dad was unemployed and we starved basically, my mom wasnt around) so i feel very wealthy and lucky to have what I have.

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#160 of 200 Old 11-06-2007, 10:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Nature View Post
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.
People are actually leaving CA in droves for places like Nevada or Washington state where the cost of living is cheaper. It's hard for young families to make it here. I know quite a few people who have left. Someone mentioned that it is priveledge just to be able to have the choice to live in a high COL area. I agree with this to a point. It's also a tough position to be in when your family is here and you grew up here. Where I grew up in CA was very working class at the time. My dad was a drywaller. The neighbors all had similar blue collar jobs. The houses in that area now are all over 500K. For the same house! I can go drive by the little 1970's house I grew up in and it will be going for half a million dollars. Crazy! I used to be kind of bitter about the situation, but I've accepted it. I do feel priveledged that we are now looking at buying a house. We'll be "house poor" for awhile, but hey, at least we have that choice. I realize that most people do not.

What I was responding to, when I brought up COL initially, was this post, and some others like it,


"Wow. That boggles my mind. We are at the very bottom end of 20 000 to 29 000. And are happy we aren't lower. No wonder so many people on here can afford pretty diapers, tons of slings, etc. And a house. (We rent)"

This makes it sound like anyone making 100K must have a house full of nice things and own a house to put it all in. I'm here to tell you, this just isn't the case. I rent too. And those nice slings that go for over $100 a piece, nope, never owned one. When we made 60K in a high COL area and had no health insurance, I pretty much never bought anything. My kids wore used clothes or the cheapest clothing I could find at Target. I didn't buy new clothes for myself. We never went out to eat. I'm definatly not trying to cry poor, I just don't have as much "stuff" as some people seemed to be speculating because it's going to housing.
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#161 of 200 Old 11-09-2007, 02:45 AM
 
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Wow, I had a feeling that the MDC mamas were doing better by far than my family, but now I know it's true. So many over 100K, I am so jealous!

I had heard that being a SAHM has started to something mostly only women with husbands who earn a great deal do, but seeing it in print makes me realize that it's really coming true.

I see it when I go to playgroups at mamas' houses, and they live in $500K homes. We have a 2 bedroom apartment. I think most women married to men who make significantly less have jobs.

It's rough being in the lower middle class when you know if you worked you wouldn't be. But then when a couple makes a total of $100K together, it's not worth as much as when just one partner makes that much, anyway.

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#162 of 200 Old 11-09-2007, 04:22 AM
 
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Wow, I had a feeling that the MDC mamas were doing better by far than my family, but now I know it's true. So many over 100K, I am so jealous!

I had heard that being a SAHM has started to something mostly only women with husbands who earn a great deal do, but seeing it in print makes me realize that it's really coming true.

I see it when I go to playgroups at mamas' houses, and they live in $500K homes. We have a 2 bedroom apartment. I think most women married to men who make significantly less have jobs.

It's rough being in the lower middle class when you know if you worked you wouldn't be. But then when a couple makes a total of $100K together, it's not worth as much as when just one partner makes that much, anyway.
I have to agree with being surprised by the results of this income poll. I was very surprised that most voted $100,000 or more. But you have to remember this is not a scientific poll, and it is voluntary, so the results are by no means a representative sample.

That said, I have to disagree that most MDC moms have husbands who make close to or over $100,000.

My perception from reading posts has been that many MDC families are middle to lower income and many rely on programs such as WIC and state funded health care programs. I guess it depends which posts you read...

In my real life, I know ZERO stay at home moms whose husbands earn over $100,000. I don't know any stay at home moms who have $500,000 houses. Not one.

I know roughly 20 SAHMs in real life and plenty of working moms. The SAHMs have husbands who make $40k, $50k, $60k mostly. They cut corners on their budget and they live frugally, or maybe they receive a lot of help from parents. I only know of 2 stay at home moms whose husbands make more than $80k.

I'd be curious to know what occupations have a single earner over $100k. My husband and I are both college educated, we both have or had "good" careers, and we waited to have children to become established in our careers (close to a decade of work experience before kids). We never earned $100,000 or more even with both of us working.

I am able to stay at home because I saved a lot of my salary and now we use that to supplement my DH's salary. It won't last forever and soon I'll go back to work.

Also, I don't think the grass is always greener. Sure, it would be nice in some ways to have a DH earning over $100,000, but to me that comes with some inherent problems if salaries between spouses are so imbalanced...

...such as what if DH is layed off? Then what happens to the family? What if DH is disabled or worse? With a corporate culture of downsizing and outsourcing, I am thankful my husband and I have fairly equal earning power. I feel safer. Companies often look to save money, and they have a penchant for cutting middle managers, ect with inflated salaries. That is very scary to me. I'd feel very vulnerable if DH earned significantly more than the average worker and significantly more than me (while of course also enjoying the good times while they lasted). ...particularly in this economy.

Just some thoughts...anyone else concur?
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#163 of 200 Old 11-09-2007, 04:33 AM
 
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SpringFlower,

Just adding to your post regarding skewed sampling of SAHM's.

Any on here likely have internet at home.

So that means many SAHM's, especially the ones who cannot afford internet at home, did not vote.

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#164 of 200 Old 11-09-2007, 04:45 AM
 
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SpringFlower,

Just adding to your post regarding skewed sampling of SAHM's.

Any on here likely have internet at home.

So that means many SAHM's, especially the ones who cannot afford internet at home, did not vote.
Exactly!

:

Also, I think I read earlier in the thread that some two income households responded before they realized it was a poll for stay at home parents. Honestly, I wouldn't trust this poll because it is voluntary, and open only to MDC members who bother to respond, etc. Look at US Census data if you really want to know...and you'll see that most people do not make that high of an income.

The posts themselves are rather enlightening, however.
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#165 of 200 Old 11-09-2007, 04:50 AM
 
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SpringFlower,

Just adding to your post regarding skewed sampling of SAHM's.

Any on here likely have internet at home.

So that means many SAHM's, especially the ones who cannot afford internet at home, did not vote.
Another thought...I think salaries are so contingent on where you live. My husband and I together never made over $100,000 but I imagine if we both worked in the same fields BUT in a certain city (NYC or LA for example) I have a feeling we would earn over $100,000 but would be paying much, much more for living expenses due to the cost of living.

It's all so relative...
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#166 of 200 Old 11-09-2007, 09:12 AM
 
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Right now we're in the 30-39k range. But hopefully with the job my husband recently interviewed for which looks like he's likely going to get (his DREAM JOB btw!) we'll be a little higher than that. He had another job opportunity where the job had potential to pay up to 200k or so a year, but I think it's worth it for him to choose the job of his dreams even if the potential income for the future (about 80k) is less than the other job (that would also keep him away from home A LOT). Plus this job could lead him to even BETTER jobs!
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#167 of 200 Old 11-09-2007, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Spring Flower View Post
Another thought...I think salaries are so contingent on where you live. My husband and I together never made over $100,000 but I imagine if we both worked in the same fields BUT in a certain city (NYC or LA for example) I have a feeling we would earn over $100,000 but would be paying much, much more for living expenses due to the cost of living.

It's all so relative...
This is sooooo true. In your earlier post, you mentioned not knowing any SAHMs who had a house worth more than $500,000 -- where I live, our little 2-bedroom condo is worth more than $500,000, so virtually *everyone* I know who lives in even the smallest of detached homes has a house worth $600,000 or more. It's verrrrrry relative.

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#168 of 200 Old 11-09-2007, 06:10 PM
 
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This is sooooo true. In your earlier post, you mentioned not knowing any SAHMs who had a house worth more than $500,000 -- where I live, our little 2-bedroom condo is worth more than $500,000, so virtually *everyone* I know who lives in even the smallest of detached homes has a house worth $600,000 or more. It's verrrrrry relative.
Well, you've got me there! Good point! Yes, I have to agree that in some areas of the country (LA, San Diego, etc) there are probably median house prices in the $500k to $600k range.

Where I live a $500k home would be a large mansion of a home. But, like you said it's relative...very, very relative.
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#169 of 200 Old 11-09-2007, 11:26 PM
 
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So I have to ask, everyone who posted saying their household income is over $100K also pointed out that they are struggling in some way, or don't have new things, or aren't extravegant. What is wrong with making a good income? Why do you guys sound almost guilty about having money??
I agree. We are able to be where we are after 20+ years of hard work and hard knocks-for both of us-no guilt here whatsoever! Some of the jobs we've held and the things we've had to put up with were appalling.
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#170 of 200 Old 11-10-2007, 12:13 AM
 
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So I have to ask, everyone who posted saying their household income is over $100K also pointed out that they are struggling in some way, or don't have new things, or aren't extravegant. What is wrong with making a good income? Why do you guys sound almost guilty about having money??
Not to be snarky or anything, but I honestly can't understand how making $100,000 per year could still result in financial struggle.

I've looked into moving to high cost areas and what salaries would be comparable in terms of spending power and $100,000 basically allows you to live comfortably nearly everywhere.

I know people who struggle because they make $10,000 or $20,000. That's really struggling.

We don't make anywhere near $100,000 and I would say we're comfortable and feel blessed.

But, I agree, you shouldn't feel guilty or like you have to apologize...
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#171 of 200 Old 11-10-2007, 12:39 AM
 
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This is sooooo true. In your earlier post, you mentioned not knowing any SAHMs who had a house worth more than $500,000 -- where I live, our little 2-bedroom condo is worth more than $500,000, so virtually *everyone* I know who lives in even the smallest of detached homes has a house worth $600,000 or more. It's verrrrrry relative.
Agreed! I mean, we're living on approx. 36k a year. Yes, we rent an apartment and don't have a house but that's actually because of credit issues (long story with one of his old job trying to make him pay for things THEY were responsible for) and not because we can't afford it. Right now we're having some troubles, but only because DHs work found a way to get out of having to give him his commission check ($1,300) last month which is why he's looking for a new job. We eat well, go out to eat when we get the notion (we could afford to go out a lot, we just don't choose to). We basically can afford whatever we really want and need. Could we afford a brand new Mercedes Benz? Perhaps (with low payments), but probably not. But those are things we don't *want* anyways! We do well with what we have. But I know in LOTS of places if a family of 3 made $36k a year they'd be living in a really bad neighborhood and eating ramen noodles. And they'd be living in a tiny apartment, whereas ours is about 1200sq.ft (2 bedroom) which isn't that bad at all!
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#172 of 200 Old 11-10-2007, 03:56 AM
 
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We are solidly in the 100K category and I would describe us as affluent
<snip>
We also do try to spread it around as much as possible...
..and we help out friends as needed and try to treat people to little luxuries they might not otherwise be able to afford (dinner out, concert tickets, gift certificates etc.)
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#173 of 200 Old 11-10-2007, 11:29 AM
 
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Wanna be my friend??


Hey get in line! No cutting!


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#174 of 200 Old 11-10-2007, 03:29 PM
 
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We make 56,000 a year between my p's salary and my disability insurance (which will last until I have the babe, our income will go down as I go onto govt mat leave and then nothing as I will continue to sahm.) We are very comfortable. Our house will be paid off in January which will help alot too. We do not have an extravagant lifestyle. P drives a $500 truck, I have a 4 year old car which is on payments. We have some personal debt, but not too much....around $20K, which will go down dramatically after house is paid off.
Its all relative though. We live in a rural community. If we lives somewhere live Vancouver, we would be scraping by and not be able to afford a house.

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#175 of 200 Old 11-11-2007, 05:11 PM
 
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According to wikipedia, US household income broke down this way in 2006:

$0 to $25,000 -- 28.22%
$25,000 to $50,000 --- 26.65%
$50,000 to $75,000 -- 18.27%
$75,000 to $100,000 -- 10.93%
$100,000 to $150,000 -- 9.89%
$150,000 and up -- 5.84%

So, it's not surprising to see so many 100K+ incomes here. 15% of the population is a significant group.

For what it's worth, at various times in my adult life I've lived on under 20K/year and I've lived on 145K/year. And pretty much everywhere in between -- all, incidentally, in one of the "very high COL cities" mentioned in this thread.

Neither end of the spectrum made me any more or less happy!

I did different things when I had less money (like taking the bus... or walking if I didn't have bus fare) than I did when I had more (like shopping at Whole Foods without even looking at price tags, or travelling internationally). But even though the *details* of my life changed with my income, the *themes* of my life did not.

The important things in my life have been people and experiences, not things. I can have as much fun over a bowl of ramen and a glass of tap water as I can in a four star restaurant, if I'm with the people I love.
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#176 of 200 Old 11-11-2007, 08:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by chinaKat View Post
According to wikipedia, US household income broke down this way in 2006:

$0 to $25,000 -- 28.22%
$25,000 to $50,000 --- 26.65%
$50,000 to $75,000 -- 18.27%
$75,000 to $100,000 -- 10.93%
$100,000 to $150,000 -- 9.89%
$150,000 and up -- 5.84%

So, it's not surprising to see so many 100K+ incomes here. 15% of the population is a significant group.

For what it's worth, at various times in my adult life I've lived on under 20K/year and I've lived on 145K/year. And pretty much everywhere in between -- all, incidentally, in one of the "very high COL cities" mentioned in this thread.

Neither end of the spectrum made me any more or less happy!

I did different things when I had less money (like taking the bus... or walking if I didn't have bus fare) than I did when I had more (like shopping at Whole Foods without even looking at price tags, or travelling internationally). But even though the *details* of my life changed with my income, the *themes* of my life did not.

The important things in my life have been people and experiences, not things. I can have as much fun over a bowl of ramen and a glass of tap water as I can in a four star restaurant, if I'm with the people I love.
Wonderful post. I completely agree and like how your phrased details and themes of life, in relation to money. That is a great way to explain it.

:

But, if 15% earn more than 100k, that leaves 85% under 100k. So, most people don't earn that much money. I only know a few people, including two income families, that earn over $100k. One is a doctor and the others are other highly educated, highly paid professionals.
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#177 of 200 Old 11-11-2007, 08:07 PM
 
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Less than $20,000 -- gotta love the Army.

Excellent benefits though. And our house is paid for (about 1700/month)

And last year DH got a $22,500 bonus, which is more than we make in a year.

We live in a very high COL area (Hawaii)

If you factor everything in we're just fine. Our only bills are cell phones, car insurance, and phone/internet. We're definitely on a budget, but we're not hurting for anything.

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#178 of 200 Old 11-11-2007, 08:10 PM
 
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Another thing that might be worth considering with this poll and thread, is some mothers (and their DHs) might be older, having put off having kids to advance their careers or pay down debt or build up savings, while others might have had kids younger in life, and still be climbing up the career and salary ladder.

I didn't make at 22 what I could earn now. So, for 22 year olds to compare themselves to 30 and 40 somethings is a little unrealistic.
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#179 of 200 Old 11-11-2007, 09:07 PM
 
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....

Spring Flower...

Or some, like me, were previously married with no children, had to pay down their ex-spouses debt, then were finally, 10 years later, the same educationally and financially as they were at 20, then remarried and had kids, later in life, with no college education.


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#180 of 200 Old 11-11-2007, 09:11 PM
 
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....

Spring Flower...

Or some, like me, were previously married with no children, had to pay down their ex-spouses debt, then were finally, 10 years later, the same educationally and financially as they were at 20, then remarried and had kids, later in life, with no college education.



Starting over can be very hard, but it is often so much better (not easy, just better) than sitting in all the muck of a bad marriage.

Everything will work out. And you've got your new family and children as a blessing.

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