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PostPosted: May 22 18, 11:06 am 
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I've seen this topic discussed elsewhere and it can be pretty interesting. In this topic I'm looking for quantitative answers like household income or net worth, not a qualitative factors like “surrounded by your loved ones”. You can look up technical definitions, but I think this discussion is more interesting if you to express your thoughts before you look up any hard numbers.

Below are some categories I've come up with, but feel free to make your own.

Poor
Lower Middle Class
Middle Class
Upper Middle
Rich


If you want to add other technical factors that’s your call. There are no wrong answers here.

I'll give my thoughts in a bit, but given I discussed this topic elsewhere I want this thread to breath before I weigh in.


Last edited by Michael on May 22 18, 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: May 22 18, 11:34 am 
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Family of 3 (just to be diff)

Poor. Annual income $30k.zero net worth
Lower Middle Class AI $60k zero net worth
Middle Class. AI $120K + $100NW
Upper Middle AI $300k + $500k nw
Rich. AI - doesnt matter much assuming NW of$2.5 Mill is accessible

Everybody that has to work without a NW cushion is not rich.
Obviously, farmers, business owners etc without liquid assets are an asterik.

Problem for US is net worth is even more top heavy than income. Most taxation is based on income and consumption - with wealth based investment income tax favored.

Needless to say, you can make a lot of money but still not be rich due to where and how you live and past debts.


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PostPosted: May 22 18, 11:58 am 
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General gist - from quantitative terms I give more weight to new worth than annual income

On the more fuzzy level(quantifiable, but not as easily done) a wealth factor is status where you have freedom to have time off and do things with money that are not-necessity.


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PostPosted: May 22 18, 12:07 pm 
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Good question.

Poor: Struggling to make ends meet on a daily basis. Can't afford anything above the basics (food, shelter, basic utilities, schooling for kids) without saving up or going into debt. "Splurging" is going out to eat at a sit-down restaurant. For most areas of the country, this is probably $30k-ish a year for household income, $50k in larger cities with higher costs of living.

Lower Middle Class: Generally living paycheck to paycheck while living with more comfortable means. Basics plus a few extras here and there (entry level house rather than a small rental, cable, high-speed internet). Have to save up or go into debt to buy nicer things up to $500 (say, a decent TV). $50k per year in most areas, $75k in larger cities.

Middle Class: Getting by comfortably, and saving a little bit on top of that. Can make occasional purchases up to $500, but over that would have to save up for a little while or go into debt. $75k-150k per year.

Upper Middle Class: Getting by pretty easily, and actively saving/investing to grow long-term wealth. Can make impulse buys up to $1000 without really thinking about it. Could even buy something $10k+ paying cash. Lives in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. Probably have more vehicles than driving age adults. $150k-$300k per year.

Rich: Upper Middle Class on steroids. Probably have a vacation house on a lake or something, or a nice boat or big RV. Drives brand new vehicles. May have paid cash for their last new car. Live in the nicer neighborhoods in pretty big houses. $300k+ per year in most places.

Uber-rich: You're buying Lambo's and [expletive].

Wealthy: You've always had money, and you don't think anything of it. Ivy League schools are a birthright, not a goal.


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PostPosted: May 22 18, 12:42 pm 
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Interesting question.

I've always been under the impression that there's really no way to define these terms unless you do it area code by area code (or zipcode though that would get pretty tedious).

Keeping it general, I'd quantify them as follows for individuals:

Poor: Income less than ~$15k if existent. No savings. Live in subsidized housing. No net worth.

Lower Middle Class: Income less than $30k. Little to no savings. Rent houses or buy cheaper houses in likely 'bad' parts of town where property is cheaper. Can increase net worth but it's a slog just to keep up with the bills.

Middle Class: Income less than $100ish K. Obviously there's a big gap here betwen $31k and $100k. But, the gist is the same. They have more choices for housing. Can probably afford to put some money into the retirement kitty. And, their networth will increase the longer they work (assuming positive returns on investments).

Upper Middle Class: Income between $100ish K and $500ish K. Easy to grow net worth with time, but they lack a trust fund or family fortune. Can live mostly wherever they want.

Rich: One of two criteria here. Income of $500k+ or a net worth of more than is needed for retirement by the age of 20.

Of course, what one needs for retirement is subjective.

That's my two cents.


Last edited by AWvsCBsteeeerike3 on May 22 18, 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: May 22 18, 12:47 pm 
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Also, it should be noted that high incomes don't necessarily translate to high net worth, and vice versa which makes pinning down incomes and net worths difficult and why I tried to avoid it. A lot of people can save more than they do, and while life is worth living to the fullest, people don't necessarily need to spend a lot of money to live life fully.


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PostPosted: May 22 18, 1:02 pm 
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AWvsCBsteeeerike3 wrote:
retirement by the age of 20.


That must be nice, but who wants to retire when you can't legally drink yet?


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PostPosted: May 22 18, 1:05 pm 
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Popeye_Card wrote:
AWvsCBsteeeerike3 wrote:
retirement by the age of 20.


That must be nice, but who wants to retire when you can't legally drink yet?

Those little [expletive] smoke pot and pop mommy's xanax. No need to drink.


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PostPosted: May 22 18, 1:17 pm 
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Michael wrote:
I've seen this topic discussed elsewhere and it can be pretty interesting. In this topic I'm looking for quantitative answers like household income or net worth, not a qualitative factors like “surrounded by your loved ones”. You can look up technical definitions, but I think this discussion is more interesting if you to express your thoughts before you look up any hard numbers.

Below are some categories I've come up with, but feel free to make your own.

Poor
Lower Middle Class
Middle Class
Upper Middle
Rich


If you want to add other technical factors that’s your call. There are no wrong answers here.

I'll give my thoughts in a bit, but given I discussed this topic elsewhere I want this thread to breath a bit before I weigh in.

Generously looking at family income (which is higher as it excludes generally poorer non-family households), I'll go with:
Poor 0-20%: $0-$32,400
Lower middle class 20%-40%: $32,500-$58,000
Middle middle class 40%-60%: $58,000-$90,000
Upper middle class 60%-80%: $90,000-$140,000
Rich 80%+: > $140,000

Given this truly massive inequality within the top 20%, there should probably be very rich, ultra rich, and oligarch rich type categories too.

Edit: Yes, I am intentionally going directly to technical definitions. The reason is that this provides grounding. Without it, wealthier people consistently underestimate how wealthy they really are.


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PostPosted: May 22 18, 1:34 pm 
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Arthur Dent wrote:
Michael wrote:
I've seen this topic discussed elsewhere and it can be pretty interesting. In this topic I'm looking for quantitative answers like household income or net worth, not a qualitative factors like “surrounded by your loved ones”. You can look up technical definitions, but I think this discussion is more interesting if you to express your thoughts before you look up any hard numbers.

Below are some categories I've come up with, but feel free to make your own.

Poor
Lower Middle Class
Middle Class
Upper Middle
Rich


If you want to add other technical factors that’s your call. There are no wrong answers here.

I'll give my thoughts in a bit, but given I discussed this topic elsewhere I want this thread to breath a bit before I weigh in.

Generously looking at family income (which is higher as it excludes generally poorer non-family households), I'll go with:
Poor 0-20%: $0-$32,400
Lower middle class 20%-40%: $32,500-$58,000
Middle middle class 40%-60%: $58,000-$90,000
Upper middle class 60%-80%: $90,000-$140,000
Rich 80%+: > $140,000

Given this truly massive inequality within the top 20%, there should probably be very rich, ultra rich, and oligarch rich type categories too.

Edit: Yes, I am intentionally going directly to technical definitions. The reason is that this it provides grounding. Without it, wealthier people consistently underestimate how wealthy they really are.

Considering my wife and I combined fall (just barely) into your 80%+ bracket, I agree wholeheartedly with the part I bolded. I don't consider us rich. We've lived in a very modest house, don't buy a lot of expensive things, usually only have 1 car payment, never carry credit card debt, etc, etc. But we won't be able to afford to send our kids to the best of the best colleges, and will most likely have to work well into our sixties to retire. I would be much more comfortable saying we are upper middle class. Rich people can buy boats and BMWs, have second homes, and go to Europe or Tahiti every year. That is definitely not us.


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