Income Poll - Page 7 - 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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#181 of 200 Old 11-11-2007, 08:14 PM
 
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Oh, I hope so.
My husband has now been one week with no job.

Savings are being tapped into to pay bills.

I know, it's just been one week, that's not really long.

But when I voted on this poll, we had an income, and now we have none.

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#182 of 200 Old 11-12-2007, 02:20 PM
 
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Well, I voted 3i0-39 k, but some years we've made as little as 18k since DH works for himself. Our bills generally mean we need 2000/month to cover everything.

We live comfortably, but not over the top. We have 3 cars, but two of them are in really bad shape, and DH killed the transmission in the oldest one last week. We have a minivan since there are 6 of us total.

We go camping for vacation in the summer, and every 2-3 yrs we go to Nebraska to visit my parents for a big trip.

I can't imagine how much easier our lives would be though if we made 100k. That is anywhere from 2-5x's what we've been known to make in a year!

It's lonely being the only XX in a house of XYs.
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#183 of 200 Old 11-12-2007, 02:33 PM
 
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I voted 30-39k...but in reality its more than that. Simply because the pound converted to the dollar just comes out to more! lol -But we live here in the UK - so for us, its still just like you living in the USA making only 30-39k (if that makes sense!)
Basically - though the pound converted to the dollar is more in America, its not more here -its really the same. If you are making $5 an hour in the USA - you are making £5 here. Standards of living are the same, so just ignore the converting! hehe

Mummy me : > Thats Ann! and my beautiful SONS Duncanand Hamish 19/09/05 & 22/04/10!
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#184 of 200 Old 11-12-2007, 02:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spring Flower View Post

I'd be curious to know what occupations have a single earner over $100k.

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?
My husband is a network engineer for a cable company - he's been there for five years and has had a few promotions in addition to his annual performance-based raise. He's not a manager and has purposely chosen to avoid that track for the reason you mentioned. His position is extremely technical and he's the go-to guy for many divisions of the company (across the US) so we feel a bit of security job-wise.

Prior to being a SAHM I was also in the computer field but it's been six years now and I haven't kept up with the technology. It would be difficult for me to return to the field and even if I did I'd be looking at making only about 1/3 of what he makes. DH has a 70% long-term disability policy that we are definitely thankful for.

The disparity between our two incomes (if I was working) was a big concern for me so I've returned to college. I attended straight out of high school but never finished my degree. Now I am pursuing a field that not only interests me but the starting salary would be about 60% of DH's current salary. Not exactly what he makes but a lot better position than we'd be in if I had to return to work now to support the family.
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#185 of 200 Old 11-12-2007, 02:57 PM
 
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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..
Yup.

Salaries around here are much higher than the rest of the country. But so are property costs, food, clothing, childcare, etc.

When a family of four earning $54K a year qualifies for housing benefit, you know that the cost of living is out of wack with the rest of the country.

It is always possible to be struggling financially, regardless of money earned. Much of it comes down to past decisions - student loans, Adjustable rate mortgages, healthcare costs, etc. I have friends who are about to go bankrupt due to a balloon mortgage they took out, combined with unpaid healthcare bills and a student loan they are struggling to pay back - and they are both fully employed, with healthcare benefits, earning well over $100k.

I do think there is a huge difference between being able to provide the basics (shelter, clothing, food) and provide the "middle class" definition of the basics (two-three bedroom detached house, new clothes, cars, etc).

I think where the challenge comes from is that it takes even more money to afford what we often think of as a "middle class" lifestyle than in the past. The reasons for this are very complicated, but it is why in some parts of the country, $100,000 a year barely qualifies you for a middle class lifestyle. And in others $100,000 will get you an affluent lifestyle.

I think it does behoove those of us in the middle class to remember that much of what we see of as "required" is really not -and in most cases are luxuries which are just part of middle class expectations. It can help us sort out the crazy consumerism that has us judge our successes by the stuff we own.

Siobhan

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#186 of 200 Old 11-12-2007, 03:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ~Purity?Lake~ View Post
Oh, I hope so.
My husband has now been one week with no job.

Savings are being tapped into to pay bills.

I know, it's just been one week, that's not really long.

But when I voted on this poll, we had an income, and now we have none.
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#187 of 200 Old 11-12-2007, 10:18 PM
 
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In regards to the pps ?s regarding spouse's job and security (for those making 100K and over):

Dh is a Professor at an Ivy League university. He is on the tenure track. Next year we find out whether or not he gets tenure (meaning, has this job guaranteed, for life). If he does NOT get tenure, he will have to get another job at another university.

However, if he were to get another job (similar) elsewhere, he would most likely be paid MORE...this particular institution pays their professors significantly less than do non-Ivy League universities (so I hear). I guess the prestige of working there is supposed to compensate...(whatever). So dh makes LESS than he would elsewhere, if he were to work in a lower cost-of-living city. Right now he makes just over 100K -- the lower end of the payscale for his type of job -- in a very high cost-of-living area.

I'm really tired so I apologize if that made no sense.
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#188 of 200 Old 11-13-2007, 01:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by siobhang View Post

I do think there is a huge difference between being able to provide the basics (shelter, clothing, food) and provide the "middle class" definition of the basics (two-three bedroom detached house, new clothes, cars, etc).

I think where the challenge comes from is that it takes even more money to afford what we often think of as a "middle class" lifestyle than in the past. The reasons for this are very complicated, but it is why in some parts of the country, $100,000 a year barely qualifies you for a middle class lifestyle. And in others $100,000 will get you an affluent lifestyle.

I think it does behoove those of us in the middle class to remember that much of what we see of as "required" is really not -and in most cases are luxuries which are just part of middle class expectations. It can help us sort out the crazy consumerism that has us judge our successes by the stuff we own.

Siobhan
I thought your post here made very good points, especially the part I highlighted in bold.

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#189 of 200 Old 11-13-2007, 01:58 AM
 
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I don't know seems to me if you have 2-3 kids then a 2-3 bedroom house(including a car if you don't live in a major metro city) counts as basic shelter not a middle class lifestyle. I mean I get what your saying but if we go by that then everything above food would be deemed for middle class. What counts as middle class nowadays anyway? anyone know?
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#190 of 200 Old 11-13-2007, 02:18 AM
 
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Good question, Jeca.

What is middle class, outside of income?

ETA:
We live in a 2 bedroom, 1 bath mobile home with a family of 4, 5 when my bonus son is here.

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#191 of 200 Old 11-13-2007, 03:44 AM
 
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Good question, Jeca.

What is middle class, outside of income?

ETA:
We live in a 2 bedroom, 1 bath mobile home with a family of 4, 5 when my bonus son is here.
Good question.

Wikipedia has a good entry:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_middle_class

For 2005, according to the U.S. Census:

middle 33% of population: $30,000 to $62,500
middle 20% of population: $35,000 to $55,000
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#192 of 200 Old 11-13-2007, 03:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ~Purity♥Lake~ View Post
Good question, Jeca.

What is middle class, outside of income?

ETA:
We live in a 2 bedroom, 1 bath mobile home with a family of 4, 5 when my bonus son is here.
Oops...I see you were asking what middle class is outside of income. Hmmm...not sure how to answer that. I don't know if I've ever seen a middle class definition outside of income statistics.

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#193 of 200 Old 11-13-2007, 03:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jeca View Post
I don't know seems to me if you have 2-3 kids then a 2-3 bedroom house(including a car if you don't live in a major metro city) counts as basic shelter not a middle class lifestyle. I mean I get what your saying but if we go by that then everything above food would be deemed for middle class. What counts as middle class nowadays anyway? anyone know?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Purity♥Lake~ View Post
Good question, Jeca.

What is middle class, outside of income?

ETA:
We live in a 2 bedroom, 1 bath mobile home with a family of 4, 5 when my bonus son is here.
Interesting and thought provoking, ladies!

Not sure, but I wonder if definitions of middle class don't take into consideration family size. I know that on our income, we're solidly middle class, but we have a small family. We wouldn't have nearly the buying power if we had 3-4 or more children, obviously. But, I don't think that would change our middle class status necessarily.
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#194 of 200 Old 11-13-2007, 03:55 AM
 
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...I don't know seems to me if you have 2-3 kids then a 2-3 bedroom house...
I know that "living wage" calculators never use houses (as in the detached, typical American dream house) as a standard. It seems those calculations usually use a 2 bedroom apartment at median rent for the area.

I remember reading somewhere (wish I could cite it here) that the "average" household number of kids was like 1.7 now. To me this means that most households have 1 or 2 children.

3 and 4 plus kid households are becoming rare except maybe here on MDC.
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#195 of 200 Old 11-13-2007, 11:12 AM
 
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definition of middle class. Good question, especially since, IMHO, "middle class" as seen on TV/movies/commercials is actually upper middle class or higher. It really skews our idea of "normal".

Class is complex b/c it is judged based on income, on profession/education (which is how some people are "middle class" even though they earn less than folks considered "working class"), and the stuff you own/spend your money on.

The role of class, in a sociological sense, is for individuals to measure themselves (and others) how they are doing vis-a-vis their peers. What class you identify with gives you a broad category of "peers" to compare yourself to.

However, our own interpretations of class are very skewed by unrealistic portrayals of "peers" on TV. There are VERY few working class families on TV and most "middle class" families are really upper middle class if you were to add up all the stuff they clearly own. Heck, even sitcoms like Friends was insanely skewed with income. The professor at the Natural history museum could afford a one bedroom apartment in manhattan??? A middle manager and an actor could afford a HUGE two bedroom apartment? It is insane.

It is commonly assumed that a middle class lifestyle these days includes:

* owning your own home/apartment
* having an office job or a job which requires a Bachelors and perhaps even a Masters or other advanced degree
* a car
* a yearly family vacation
* ability to eat out now and again
* payment for educational "extras" such as music lessons or sports teams.
* stuff in the home like broadband connectivity/computer, cable TV, cell phones, etc.
*new clothes

I know there are folks who consider themselves to be middle class who do not own those things - but it is more often a choice by the family, rather than something unattainable. It is expected that most middle class families SHOULD be able to afford those things, and if you don't, and you are middle class, it is because you consciously reject them.

I find conversations about class to be fascinating because they relate so closely to how we view ourselves. So many factors go into it - cultural ties, income, profession, and politics.

For example, I have a good friend who, honest to god, defined herself as working class. But her father was a lawyer (and is now a Judge) and owns a four bedroom house in an expensive suburb in the North East. At the time, she was pursuing a PhD, after graduating with very few loans from an Ivy League college.

I called BS on that one and finally, after years of defending this self=definition, she admitted that, okay, her grandparents were working class, but the day her dad graduated from college, that ended.

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#196 of 200 Old 11-13-2007, 11:20 AM
 
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I forgot to add a HUGE factor in class. Race. Racism and classism are closely tied together and in fact classism often masks racism and vice versa.

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#197 of 200 Old 11-13-2007, 11:32 AM
 
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Re: the whole struggling thing, it makes sense to me to read that some of the big earners consider themself struggling. I'm sure if I were to ask DH if we were struggling, if he answered w/o thinking about it he'd say yes. (He earns around 75K). He would be referring to the fact that he worries about paying for our children's education (we hope to pay for their college costs and we'd love private schools) and retirement. Even though we have insurance, we still have out of pocket costs and that worries him. Our house requires constant maintenance like all houses do. God forbid if he were to lose his job or health, we'd quickly be in a world of hurt since I can earn about 35K. So to him "struggling" wouldn't mean fighting to eat healthfully and keep a roof over our heads as much as struggling to maintain what we have. He gets a 2.5% merit raise yearly, but his insurance has just switched to HSA and certainly food and fuel costs are far outpacing the 3% inflation rate the liars in gov't say we're facing.

Now of course the "problems" I've listed are in a sense problems of affluence, but I think it's possible to feel you're struggling at most incomes, just as it's possible to feel gratitude at all income levels.
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#198 of 200 Old 11-13-2007, 12:57 PM
 
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definition of middle class. Good question, especially since, IMHO, "middle class" as seen on TV/movies/commercials is actually upper middle class or higher. It really skews our idea of "normal".
:

I totally agree with this, that most people think middle class in terms of upper middle class or higher.

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#199 of 200 Old 11-13-2007, 12:59 PM
 
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I find conversations about class to be fascinating because they relate so closely to how we view ourselves. So many factors go into it - cultural ties, income, profession, and politics.


Me, too. GREAT post, by the way.
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#200 of 200 Old 11-13-2007, 01:03 PM
 
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Re: the whole struggling thing, it makes sense to me to read that some of the big earners consider themself struggling. I'm sure if I were to ask DH if we were struggling, if he answered w/o thinking about it he'd say yes. (He earns around 75K). He would be referring to the fact that he worries about paying for our children's education (we hope to pay for their college costs and we'd love private schools) and retirement. Even though we have insurance, we still have out of pocket costs and that worries him. Our house requires constant maintenance like all houses do. God forbid if he were to lose his job or health, we'd quickly be in a world of hurt since I can earn about 35K. So to him "struggling" wouldn't mean fighting to eat healthfully and keep a roof over our heads as much as struggling to maintain what we have. He gets a 2.5% merit raise yearly, but his insurance has just switched to HSA and certainly food and fuel costs are far outpacing the 3% inflation rate the liars in gov't say we're facing.

Now of course the "problems" I've listed are in a sense problems of affluence, but I think it's possible to feel you're struggling at most incomes, just as it's possible to feel gratitude at all income levels.
Well, I see your point. But there is a BIG difference between struggling to maintain middle class, upper middle class, or higher lifestyles and STRUGGLING in the sense of not knowing where your next meal is coming from or not having a roof over your head.

But, then, what I've just said is kind of obvious...

Still, I don't think of myself or my DH as struggling and we're solidly middle class. I know people who are struggling and their lives and economic situation is much, much different from mine.

I think you make an excellent point about the slippery grasp many of us in the middle class and upper middle class have on our economic position. Every year, with inflation usually outpacing raises and wage increases, means the middle class is eroding. It is getting harder and harder to maintain, just like you said.
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