I Just Re-categorized Myself Out of the Middle Class!
I’ve come to this conclusion because after thinking I understand what middle class is, and what it takes to be a member of it, lately I’ve changed my mind because now I’m not so sure. Typically, my mind changes when I’m doing something mundane like mowing the lawn. I’m behind the mower and WHAM, I think “Hey, I’m not really middle class, instead I’m more within the working class, and here’s why…“. My mind is evil that way, continuously raining on my parade!
To backup my new reclassification, I reference Felix Dennis, who believes that I’m not even comfortable poor! Under his definition, you need 2 to 4 million to be within the range of comfortably poor, thus meaning that I’m “uncomfortably poor“. The more I think about it, the more his argument makes sense to me!
Why I May Not Belong To The Middle Class
- History! Since we are a newer country than most, we have to look at Europe and England in particular for a more true definition of what being in the Middle Class means. According to them, the middle class of yesteryear were rich merchants but not in the nobility class. Some of the merchants of the middle Class were even richer than the aristocrats. You see, to them (England in particular) the middle class isn’t the same as middle wage earners. So in their society, the new rich are more in the middle class than the nobility that fell upon hard times. Since I’m not rich, perhaps I’m not in this group! I’m sure if I lived in England, I wouldn’t be considered Middle Class.
- I must work for money or else my family goes hungry. Since I have to work, doesn’t that naturally put me in the “Working Class“?
- I don’t have one million dollars in net worth yet! So if I were forced to live on all my assets invested in stocks or/and bonds, I would be below the poverty level for a family of four.
- I don’t have any power in my community. In my town, when I talk, nobody listens or at least goes out of their way to do so. Now if I had money to support local community goals, then people would listen, or if I created special events that benefit my local community, then people would listen.
Perhaps I Am in the Middle Class?
- I have a college education, and advanced training
- My net worth is much higher than average for even the middle class category. This is from years of being frugal and investing.
- I usually go on a nice vacation (at least one or two a year).
- My kids are in sport and will probably go to college without paying anything or taking out a loan.
- I’m in a continual state of learning.
- I have power within my small social groups, where my ideas are listened to and sometimes acted out. This is true among my friends and work peers.
- I look middle class…
Or Am I Upper Middle Class… (not)?
Nope, I’m not even close to being in the category! Actually, I use to fancy myself being on the line between middle and upper middle classes. However, if examined my salary, I’m close to making an Upper Middle Class salary (according to some measures anyway). As for education, I only have a bachelors degree, but as I mentioned before, I’m in a continual state of learning.
I’m a home owner and I’m totally debt free. My kids have some of the finer things (my son recently got a ipod touch and soon will get a cell phone). We go on nice trips for vacations and mini-vacations.
Even with all of the points above, I know that I fall short in this group, so I won’t waste anymore time thinking about it, perhaps in future. Check out my financial pyramid for the way I define my progress…
So in the end, I guess it’s how I look at what I do and what I am. One could argue that I’m a member of all of the social classes: Working Class, Middle Class and possible the Upper Middle Class (again this is stretching it).
For more great reading material on this subject, check out Roshawn’s brilliantly written article called “The Impossible Question: Just Who Is The Middle Class?” about why it’s so hard to determine who is in the middle class and not!
Thanks for ruminating with me!