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Thread: What do you consider middle class?

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    Senior Member gimmethesimplelife's Avatar
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    What do you consider middle class?

    I'm not sure but I believe I was just referred to as middle class by another forum regular which really threw me for a loop but from an income perspective it is true. It just seems so bizarre to me sometimes - and I don't mean this is bad, just bizarre - that I ended out at a place that one would even begin to consider to be quasi successful. Me, of all people!

    But then I wonder - what exactly is middle class, anyway? Is it just income, or is it material markers, attitudes, criteria for how one does and does not approach life, etc? I am hoping we can have an interesting discussion here - this is relatively new to me and I don't know how to answer other than based off income. And some nice recent furniture I bought - second hand at the Junior League Sale two Saturdays ago - very grateful work let me have that morning off. The point is that the furniture looks much nicer than what I am used to even if used. So, nicer things than if I were back where I was before? Rob

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    Senior Member HappyHiker's Avatar
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    A fascinating question. Many definitions, I bet.

    Is MC solely based on income?
    Home ownership?
    How much you spend?
    How much debt you have?
    How much savings?
    What about education?

    I view us as ""muddle class."

    We live quite frugally, don't take exotic vacations (prefer to be in nature) yet we own our home, two cars, have comfortable savings and no debt.

    Yep, we're Muddle Class and Living Poor with Style. It's our preference.
    peaceful, easy feeling

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    Senior Member Tradd's Avatar
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    I think some of it has to do with mindset. You don’t have a “poor” mindset if you’re middle class. You have some ability to delay gratification. It’s not uncommon that a lot of poor people will spend any windfall or extra money on luxury items, rather than putting the money away or paying bills.

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    Senior Member Tradd's Avatar
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    Forgot to add - there does seem to be an educational component to it, in some cases.

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gimmethesimplelife View Post
    I'm not sure but I believe I was just referred to as middle class by another forum regular which really threw me for a loop but from an income perspective it is true. It just seems so bizarre to me sometimes - and I don't mean this is bad, just bizarre - that I ended out at a place that one would even begin to consider to be quasi successful. Me, of all people!

    But then I wonder - what exactly is middle class, anyway? Is it just income, or is it material markers, attitudes, criteria for how one does and does not approach life, etc? I am hoping we can have an interesting discussion here - this is relatively new to me and I don't know how to answer other than based off income. And some nice recent furniture I bought - second hand at the Junior League Sale two Saturdays ago - very grateful work let me have that morning off. The point is that the furniture looks much nicer than what I am used to even if used. So, nicer things than if I were back where I was before? Rob
    let’s see, white man, college educated, management-level job making an easily livable wage, owns real estate worth $$$ and a is landlord.

    Of course you are middle class. we have had many discussions about class markers on this site over the years and I always find them interesting.

    But the real question is why that label bothers you so much.

    In your mind, me having sofas for years I pulled in from the alley negates my middle-class ness? Hell I recently bought beds with used mattresses. Guess I am just part of the po folks brigade.

    Rob, I do not think buying your furniture second hand defines your “class.”
    we know inheriting old furniture is a marker of upper class. Here, I mean multi-centtury old furnitue and and sterling silver as well.
    I am not a serious person.

  6. #6
    Senior Member gimmethesimplelife's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    let’s see, white man, college educated, management-level job making an easily livable wage, owns real estate worth $$$ and a is landlord.

    Of course you are middle class.

    But the real question is why that label bothers you so much.
    Remember Sofia on The Golden Girls and how she would start one of her Sicily stories with
    "Picture this"? Picture this - I am in line at a museum in Marrakesh (in 2015) and all around me Arabic is being spoken and of course I have no idea of what anyone is saying. This for me is what the concept of being middle class is - not a problem, mind you, but something alien almost. It definitely requires and has required adjustments on my part. I don't know that the label bothers me, IL, it's just that it is different - very different - and I don't seem to have all the skills one in the middle class might have to deal with it. Rob

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    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    Jocular guideline:

    If you rent your furniture, you are lower-class.
    If you buy your own furniture, you are middle-class or new money.
    If you have ancestral furniture, you are comfortably upper-class, even if you are poor.

    Perhaps of interest:

    "Class: A Guide Through the American Status System", Paul Fussell

    "Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There", David Brooks

    "White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America", Nancy Isenberg

    "The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die", Keith Payne

    "Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis", Robert D. Putnam

    "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America", Barbara Ehrenreich

    "The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class", Elizabeth Currid-Halkett

    "People Like Us: Social Class in America", Charles Murray

    "Limbo: Blue-Collar Roots, White-Collar Dreams", Alfred Lubrano

    "Inequality in the Promised Land: Race, Resources, and Suburban Schooling", L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy

    "Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right", Arlie Russell Hochschild

    "Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City", Matthew Desmond

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    I think examining values around money and wealth reveal class markers.

    Middle class people save money and invest it because they expect to always have some money, and they expect it to fund a stable life.

    The chaos of poverty often imparts the value “spend money while you have it” because money comes and goes, it is not a stable presence in one’s life if you are poor.

    Of course there are plenty of blue collar/working class folks who save money and invest it, too. But generationally poor people tend to not hang on to money.
    I am not a serious person.

  9. #9
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    My dear Rob I am not a gay man and hence did not watch or even like Golden Girls! Haha.
    I am not a serious person.

  10. #10
    Senior Member gimmethesimplelife's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    My dear Rob I am not a gay man and hence did not watch or even like Golden Girls! Haha.
    This is one of very few markers of being an American gay male that I actually fit. I LOVED that show! Especially Blanche but they were all good in their parts. Rob

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