(Closed) Rich or Poor spin off: CNN middle class calculator

posted 4 years ago in Money
  • poll: Is this accurate?
    I think I'm middle class, and this calculator seems to think so : (116 votes)
    48 %
    I think I'm poor, but this says I'm middle class : (15 votes)
    6 %
    I think I'm rich, but this says I'm middle class : (2 votes)
    1 %
    I think I'm middle class, but this says i'm rich : (61 votes)
    25 %
    I think I'm middle class, but this says I'm poor : (14 votes)
    6 %
    I'm think I'm poor, and this agrees : (14 votes)
    6 %
    I'm think I'm rich, and this agrees : (19 votes)
    8 %
    Some other combo I didn't think of? : (3 votes)
    1 %
  • Post # 46
    9544 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: August 2013

    If we’re counting household income we’re above middle class and that’s what I would have anticipated. If we were going by the actual neighborhood where I live, we’d be even higher because we live in a pretty poor neighborhood (because it’s cheap!). 

    Growing up, it looks like my mom would have qualified at the low end of middle class and my husband’s parents would have been above middle class. Which is also what I would have anticipated. 

    My husband and I both lived a good chunk of our adult lives as poor grad students and we’ve kind of stuck with that frame of mind, even though we are obviously no longer poor. We’re quite frugal in many parts of our life. We rent a house in a poor neighborhood because the rent is half what we would pay in a nicer neighborhood, we don’t have cable, I just upgraded to a smart phone with data two months ago and we have the smallest data plan available, we don’t eat out often, we don’t buy clothes or home furnishings often and we do, we often look at Goodwill/consignment sales first. This allows us to aggresively pay down student debt and put money in savings. There are things, like vacations, that we really splurge on and that is really nice. We’re about to have a baby and I’m interested to see how that changes our spending habits, but we’ll have to wait and see. 

    ETA: This poll is going about how I would expect. People who are rich don’t tend to see themselves that way because there’s always somebody out there who’s richer. I think people generally don’t like to think of themselves as “rich”. To me, being above the middle class income (aka “rich” in this context) doesn’t mean you can afford anything you want at any time. There’s a huge range of difference in people who are just above middle class and people in the top 1% who are incredibly wealthy. But everyone has different views what it means to be “rich”, “wealthy”, “upper class”, “well off”, etc.

    Post # 47
    3065 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: September 2014

    pinkshoes:  This is crazy- I I live in Cook County IL ( Same county as Chicago but Im not actually in the city- in the suburbs) I would say that Darling Husband and I are firmly middle class but our combine household income based on our taxable income last year puts us over, I really am shocked but by the cost of living around here ect that the middle class range was so low. 

    Even if I just put my salary I would still be middle class and TBH I feel like its impossible to live or support a family on what I make, but I guess people make it work!

    Post # 48
    9214 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper

    LOL the middle class range in my county is $62k to $184k.


    Post # 50
    710 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: September 2014 - Jacksonville Inn

    We are at the the high end of middle class for our area, which is how I would describe us. 

    Post # 51
    5112 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: December 2014

    Middle class range in our county is 33-99K. That puts us right at the top or slightly above (DH’s income is variable). I feel like we’re middle class, but I think part of that is that our income is a new development, we haven’t had time to save much and I have a lot of student loan debt and we still rent. Going by our combined income from last year we are within the range. When I was single I would have been in the poor range. 

    Interesting that it doesn’t factor in household size, I would think that would make a difference.


    Where I grew up, I believe we were firmly in the middle class range, as suspected, though I had to estimate.

    Post # 53
    9214 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper

    pinkshoes:  Yeah, I had to choose “Other” for “I think I’m poor, but this says I’m rich.”

    Post # 54
    179 posts
    Blushing bee

    I didn’t read through the whole thread but it looks like the calculator only uses salary and location? 

    If so I think that’s misleading. 

    While I agree that salary can be an indicator of your “class” status, I don’t think it is nearly as telling as a family’s spending and saving habits.

    For example:

    Family #1 earns modest salary but saves aggressively over the years and acquires many assets  (property, investments, etc.), always reinvesting the interest rather than living on it so that the pile can continue to grow. They continue to pull in modest salary, don’t upgrade to a McMansion and designer cars, but are sitting on top of millions. However they’re middle or even lower middle class by this calculator.

    Family #2 earns big bucks and spends almost all of it on bigger and better houses, cars, clothes, vacations, weddings, etc. etc. They have little in savings but they are upper class by this calculator.

    Maybe I’m missing something and if so I apologize because as I mentioned, I did not read the whole thread. 

    Post # 55
    905 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: July 2013

    If I just use my income, I’m middle class. With hubby’s, it’s higher. But let’s be real, they have middle class in LA county starting at $36k; you can’t live a typical middle class life with that salary.

    Post # 56
    2573 posts
    Sugar bee

    TheGridMonster:   didn’t I read in one thread that you make 300,000 + combined? If so I would love to be “poor” lol

    Post # 57
    9214 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper

    sway0060:  We make about $500k combined now, but in Silicon Valley (and after fed/CA taxes), it doesn’t go far (esp since we’re trying to aggressively save for a house). We’re still renting because 1BR/1BA apartments that haven’t been renovated since 1963 go for around a mil. I really need to move.

    Post # 58
    1308 posts
    Bumble bee

    peachblushrose:  Interesting points to bring up, this is where the difference between “wealth” and “earning power” come into play.  Just because my “earning power” might be more than yours doesn’t mean I’m wealthier than you.

    This would be an entirely different calculator, wealth by county, which I’m sure exists somewhere out there.  I’m willing to bet a lot of times higher earning power counties actually have proportionally lower wealth than one might expect, due to the fact that higher income areas usually have higher costs of living, as well as “standards”, which will chip away at someone’s ability to accumulate wealth.

    When I was living in small town New Hampshire, I saved a ton more money than when I was living in the DC suburbs, even though I was making more money in DC.  Rent was slightly higher, but I just tended to spend more on day to day activities. Different lifestyle.

    Post # 59
    3729 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: City, State

    pinkshoes:  Yes and no. Darling Husband and I make a lot of money. I think of ourselves as rich. However, our county is full of people who make lots of money and we are at the very top of middle class. Anywhere else in the country, we would not be.

    Post # 60
    3184 posts
    Sugar bee

    Hmm, my friend told me that she looked at something and it said she and her Fiance, combined, are in the upper class for the area. For some reason, I thought that meant they were pulling in $400k/year. Looks like it’s just above $130k a year which is still a lot, but not as much as I thought. 

    The topic ‘Rich or Poor spin off: CNN middle class calculator’ is closed to new replies.

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