(Closed) What do you consider well off?

posted 6 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 31
Member
7976 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

… having thought about this more, I think wider socio-economic circumstances are the key to being welathy. Take my example of the couple who make 120K a year combined, but basically live a millionaire’s lifestyle. How did they do it?

They both started their careers in the NHS in the 1970s. Unemployment was at a record high. The NHS then offered a guaranteed above inflation payrise and very generous terms of employment (eg pension etc). Just by virtue of being in the right place at the right time, they were already ahead of the curve. When they bought a house, mortgage rates were generous, and house prices were incredibly low due to the 1970s recession.

Fast forward to just before the last recession: house prices at a record high, massively appreciated assets, and no mortgage because they had paid off the minute amount they had borrowed in the first place. Because they were on “grandfather contracts”, when the credit crunch hit then their terms of employment did not change, unlike the contracts of younger people who were laid off.

The credit crunch depressed house prices once more, allowing the couple to buy rental properties at low prices. As people could no longer get mortgages, the rental market expanded enormously, and they could charge massive rents on these properties in line with market values. It costs significantly more to rent a house than to pay a mortgage, so they were golden.

Certainly I feel like in the UK at least, the older generation had a lot more opportunity. They had great pensions, a well funded NHS, free university tuition, an expanding economy, guaranteed above inflation payrises in public sector jobs etc etc… all things which the younger generation will never have. In addition, the younger generation will be taxed through the nose to pay for the nursing home care of their parents’ generation.

Huh. Well. That was a depressing series of thoughts… it’s largely down to being in the right place at the right time…

Post # 32
Member
4743 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I think it varies. DH and I are not what most would consider “well-off,” but we live comfortably (lifestyle-wise – we still rent), own our cars, have savings and retirement accounts, and no debt. However, we also live in the DMV and, when DH was in his previous job, we just barely made $100K combined, which makes us definitely NOT well off in this area. (I work in nonprofit).  

However, I grew up in a small town – my father and my mother raised 3 kids on a rural public school teacher’s salary (and eventually, a small income from my mother’s job once she reentered the workforce), paid for 3 college educations, owned a nice house (and 6 acres of land), and went on annual vacations. I didn’t consider us well off (my parents were frugal), but looking back, we were for the area we lived in. It’s very dependent on circumstances and location.

Post # 33
Member
3173 posts
Sugar bee

I live in a medium sized city in the South. I feel like we would feel better if we made just $100k combined. Well off? $200k. 

We would definitely be well off in my home town with $100k though. Cost of living there is considerably lower than it is here, three hours away.

Post # 34
Member
2703 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

In the DC/Northern Virginia area, I’d say that a coupld with no kids would be well off making at least $250k.  It’d be more if you have kids but since I don’t know how expensive kids really are I can’t put a number to it.

Post # 35
Member
2013 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I live in the Midwest. When I think “well-off,” I think at least $200K annually. The mean household income for the city I live in is about $63,000/year.

Post # 36
Member
112 posts
Blushing bee

We are in Baltimore and I would say about 250k. We are at 150k right now and have a 3 bedroom house in the city, two cars, dog, a few vacations a year, season tickets to sporting events and still manage to save but I don’t feel ‘well-off’ because we have to budget for each of those things. When I think of “well-off,” I think about people who don’t really need to plan where exactly their money is going because they have plenty of it.

Post # 37
Member
784 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

View original reply
Rachel631:  Hmmm, I am not sure about that chart. Where I live it puts my age group in the top 1%, definitely not feeeling that I live there. And ABSOLUTELY did not feel it when I was growing up, but it says we were.

Also, it does not offer any geographic data, and I doubt very seriously that people NYC and LA who are only making $200k a year feel they are in the top 1%. 

Post # 38
Member
9800 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

I live in the midwest.  I would say $200k salary per person or maybe $300k+ combined (around here).  But well off to me means that you don’t have to worry about money or budget.  There is a difference to me between living comfortably with some luxuries and being well-off.  But compared to most of the world we are all well-off.

Post # 39
Member
1336 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

For my area in the midwest it would be around the same as the first poster Christabel, maybe about 20% Higher.  That is individual salary, so double per 2 adult household.

Those numbers assume little to to no debt as well.  

Post # 40
Member
15136 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

250-300k, in Boston suburb

Post # 41
Member
1526 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2016

I am in St Louis and we have one of the lowest cost of living rates in a large city. You can buy an amazing house for under 200K and basically a mansion for 500K. I consider “well off” to be 100K or more per year. Of course it also depends on debts, but in this city you can live VERY well off 100K.

Post # 42
Member
860 posts
Busy bee

I work with people who are very, very low income (think $500 a month) so my view is pretty skewed. I also living in the boonies. So for me…. 40,000 a year combined income is going to make you more than comfortable. 

Post # 43
Member
836 posts
Busy bee

“Well off” – no loans, retirement maxed out each year, full coverage insurance, owning your own property, able to pay off credit card each month (goes along with no loans), owning your own car (unless leasing is a priority, but then loans..)

I don’t base if off of a salary, since I know some people who make mid 6 figures (in Michigan) and have debt like crazy but are clearly making poor financial decisions with that money. If you can live comfortably within your means I think you’re well off for sure.

Post # 44
Member
2675 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

View original reply
teaberrie:  I would have to respectfully disagree with your husband…although it depends upon where he lived in SoCal. I lived in 3 major metropolitan cities in the northeast, before moving to CA. The cost of living here is significantly higher than it was on the east coast (with the exception of NYC.)

I sometimes question my sanity for choosing to live here…..but I love it and for me, the pros still outweigh the cons!

Post # 44
Member
9529 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

I’m in the SF Bay Area and our HHI is around $430k but I don’t consider us well off. We’re in the throes of househunting and in our frustration have even talked about moving to NYC where FI’s family is since it’d actually be more affordable. It’s that bad around here right now. #thankszuckerberg

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