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A Frugal Middle Class Assessment

I was in twitter when I noticed that tweeted a link to a U.S. News article on yahoo called “How to gauge your middle class status“.  Since I love feedback and statistics, I thought I’d check it out.

It was interesting read so I decided I’d write about how I was doing.

Income: We are very close to the midde-middle income level for a 2 parent, 4 person household.  We are a bit above that $81,000 dollar number, but still less than $100,000.

Housing: Our house is assessed at $200,000, but it’s only 2,100 square feet.  It’s good size for my family though.

Medical Expenses: First, we are doing a HSA, so it’s kind of like it’s still our money.  But we are much lower than the $5,100…   We are more like $500…

Cars: We have 2 cars, both were bought new, but only cost about $30,000.  That period in time may be the last time we buy new cars.  Our expenses around them are less than average, because I telecommute a few times a week and car pool with a buddy occasionally.

College Savings: This is one area that I am very average.  My savings rate is around $4,000 a year.  To date, I have a total of $65,000 saved for my kid’s college expenses in a 529 plan.

Vacations: We’re pretty typical here too!  Although we usually only spend about 75% of the $3,000 amount the average middle class American spends.

Retirement: I save about 15 to 20% of my gross income in this area.  I got hit hard during the recession, but it’s coming back nicely!

Everyday Spending: This is one area we use to really win at (being frugal and all), but kid’s sports, and other needs has had this number slowly rise over the last 5 or so years.  We have been going thru a bit of a lifestyle creep for our kids.  But at least our kids are happy…  Our cost are still far less than the average though!

Number of Earners: For the past 9 years, it’s been primarily me, but since my daughter started kindergarten, my wife now works a side job for about 6 to 8 hours per week.  She works mainly to keep her skills fresh.  Since it’s not critical, the job she works has a high degree of flexibility.

Hours Worked: With my wife working now, we still work less that 50 hrs a week, but definitely more than 40.

Education: Both my wife and I have college bachelor degrees.  I play around with the idea of going back for an MBA, but so far, I’m too busy.

Free Time: We are fortunate that we have an adequate amount of free, but busy time, no big complaints here.

Household Net Worth: I don’t think this number is for the average 4 person middle class family…  When compared to a similar socio-economical family like ours, we are higher than average.  Hopefully in the near future our spread will continue to expand, since we are totally debt free (no house mortgage).

Debt: I have no debt (credit card, auto or mortgage) at this point in my life.  I’m actually surprised that the payments towards debt is only 18% of the disposable income!  I was thinking the percentage would at least be over 20%.

Well, they you have it!  My assessment for how I’m going verse the average middle class American!  Overall, I’m very happy with our progress.  In fact, I believe we are going better in every area above, at least in a positive sense (for example, our hours worked isn’t over 70 per week, and I view that as very positive).

How are you doing, do you have any weak spots with your financial armor?  Are you developing a plan to rectify any deficiencies?  Reading personal finance blogs helps, on my home page, check out my Yakezie links in the sidebar to the right, it’s under “Best of MR”, I’m sure you’ll find someone that was in the same situation you may currently be in.

Enjoy the weekend!


My Middle Class Lifestyle

This is a glimpse of a typical day in my middle class life. Phase 1) Waking up.  I wake up to my alarm clock that I’ve had since I was in high school. The alarm clock is about the size of a small child’s shoebox, and the plastic is factory painted to look like it’s wood.  The… Continue Reading