Author Topic: I make $900K per year, but I'm only middle-class  (Read 12943 times)

MrsPete

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Re: I make $900K per year, but I'm only middle-class
« Reply #50 on: May 21, 2016, 08:41:17 AM »
From Bogleheads forum:
https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=191337
A variety of thoughts:

- He seems to think being middle class is bad.  Not just beneath him, but bad.

- The three kids are triplets.  That is more expensive than three singletons, but while it might be a difficulty for a middle class family, it shouldn't matter to these guys. 

- I hear Dad's concern about providing his three girls with all the right opportunities, but I hear absolutely nothing about family time.  He mentions his desire to provide them with all the right stuff, to place them in the right schools, but his only nod to spending time with them is a mention of domestic vacations.  If I could speak to him, I'd say, "Priorities, dude, priorities."  I don't think having the nanny for three pre-schoolers is a bad thing, but I also suspect they're not sitting down to dinner together on a regular basis and really talking to these kids.   

- More about the nanny:  Did they actually say they'd continue her full-time status after the kids start school?  As someone else said, I suspect she's actually part-time nanny, part-time housekeeper.  I can see that with three kids they might continue to welcome help; imagine triplets who all need to do their 30 minutes of reading with a parent every evening -- I loved that with my kids, but it was sometimes tough to work in, and I only had one at a time.

- And they say they spend another 15K on help with the yard, etc.  So they're spending 75K/year on help.  I can see needing some help with three kids, and mom is more than making enough money to justify paying for that help, but if they're paying that much for other stuff, they have "too much house". 

- I see a disconnect in one spot.  They say they're both from long-time money families, big inheritances, both encouraged and given "all the right opportunities" as a child ... yet they are giving their parents money.  If the families are really all that wealthy, why can't their retired parents take care of themselves?  I suspect smoke-and-mirrors, families who project the look of money but don't actually have it, big hat - no cattle.  How could the writer not know this?

- Um, this guy thinks that with three in college he will qualify for some financial aid?  Deluded. 

- He received some excellent advice, but his own response made no sense.  He doesn't even acknowledge that he has options. 

- One last thought:  This guy's problem is that he has an external thermometer.  That is, he's not paying attention to himself, his own achievements, his own happiness -- rather, he's looking around at the neighbors and co-workers, and he's measuring himself against what he perceives they have/have accomplished.  Two major problems with this.  First, he's not able to see what they actually do/don't have -- he can only judge by what they allow him to see.  He can see their massive houses, but he can't see their debt.  Second, no matter who you are, someone always has more and someone always has less. 
« Last Edit: May 21, 2016, 08:44:25 AM by MrsPete »

franklin w. dixon

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Re: I make $900K per year, but I'm only middle-class
« Reply #51 on: May 21, 2016, 10:43:52 AM »
Hah!  What gets me is how they can employ a nanny, which they reasonably pay $60K and still have this perspective.  What class do they think the nanny is in?!  How do they think she is getting by on such a tiny salary?  Do they think that simply having 3 kids would automatically add $300K+ to their budgetary needs?!

Yowza.
For a couple years I worked with a woman named Claire whose boyfriend was a Bangladeshi bagooglyaire. I always thought it was funny that she had a really sensitive and well-developed sense of racial politics (because her family was super racist against her boyfriend), but didn't even have a hint of self-awareness regarding class politics. So she'd tell stories about how great Bangladesh is based on events like "traffic was really bad so we went by helicopter" and she'd make generic statements about Bangladeshi people like "oh everyone speaks English half the time" and "oh over there everyone has servants." Occasionally I'd say exactly what you have: "Really? Are you sure everyone has servants? Do the servants have servants?" but it never made any impression.

Anyway her family was hilarious too because I mean. Most people can keep their bigotry inside once you put a few million dollars on the table. But not Claire's mom, so she moved to Bangladesh forever, and more power to her, but I guess she's basically Marie Antoinette now so she better look out for guillotines.

BlueHouse

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stylesjl

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Re: I make $900K per year, but I'm only middle-class
« Reply #53 on: May 21, 2016, 11:57:24 PM »
I tried looking it up in Google and yet 'bagooglyaire' did not return any results, not even this thread.

Is that like the term squillionaire, only for Bangladeshis?

elysianfields

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Re: I make $900K per year, but I'm only middle-class
« Reply #54 on: May 23, 2016, 12:00:39 PM »
Everybody thinks they are middle class.  How's this for an objective standard:  15% marginal tax bracket = working class; 25% = middle class; 28% = upper middle class; everything above that is high income.

Nice try, and there's too much variability to use tax brackets this way.  Single vs. MFJ, 0 children vs. 1 vs. 2 vs. 10, standard deduction vs. itemized deductions, low COLA to high COLA...

In Pew Research's latest report on America's Shrinking Middle Class (http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2016/05/11/americas-shrinking-middle-class-a-close-look-at-changes-within-metropolitan-areas/), they define the middle class as 2/3 to 2x the median household income, after adjusting for household size and area COL.

StockBeard

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Re: I make $900K per year, but I'm only middle-class
« Reply #55 on: May 23, 2016, 02:40:05 PM »
$900k/yr really isn't all that much in some areas.
Excuse me? Someone making that amount of money would make in 3 years the amount it takes a life for average household in the US (the richest country in the world) to make.

Where exactly on Earth is $900K a year "not all that much"? And with a more constructive criticism, what is there in that place on Earth that makes it so desirable that people would be ok to feel that 900K is only "average" just so that they could live there...?

mm1970

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Re: I make $900K per year, but I'm only middle-class
« Reply #56 on: May 23, 2016, 04:05:19 PM »
Hah!  What gets me is how they can employ a nanny, which they reasonably pay $60K and still have this perspective.  What class do they think the nanny is in?!  How do they think she is getting by on such a tiny salary?  Do they think that simply having 3 kids would automatically add $300K+ to their budgetary needs?!

Yowza.
For a couple years I worked with a woman named Claire whose boyfriend was a Bangladeshi bagooglyaire. I always thought it was funny that she had a really sensitive and well-developed sense of racial politics (because her family was super racist against her boyfriend), but didn't even have a hint of self-awareness regarding class politics. So she'd tell stories about how great Bangladesh is based on events like "traffic was really bad so we went by helicopter" and she'd make generic statements about Bangladeshi people like "oh everyone speaks English half the time" and "oh over there everyone has servants." Occasionally I'd say exactly what you have: "Really? Are you sure everyone has servants? Do the servants have servants?" but it never made any impression.

Anyway her family was hilarious too because I mean. Most people can keep their bigotry inside once you put a few million dollars on the table. But not Claire's mom, so she moved to Bangladesh forever, and more power to her, but I guess she's basically Marie Antoinette now so she better look out for guillotines.
This is funny. I  have a friend from Bangladesh, but not from a rich family.  She must not really get out  much - I mean, she only has to watch a TV show like Amazing Race when they go to India to get a clue.

I have a friend who was pretty much middle class and married into a wealthy Filipino family.  She waxed on and on at how amazing the Philippines are after her first visit.  Um...you only really saw a small slice.

jeromedawg

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Re: I make $900K per year, but I'm only middle-class
« Reply #57 on: May 24, 2016, 04:09:25 PM »
Digression:

Triplets... I was just thinking about this. How common is it to have triplets? Well, it doesn't seem all that common. Either they're really lucky or they're really rich (enough to afford several rounds of IN VITRO)... well, they're probably both lucky and rich. Ahhh, now it's starting to all make sense.

Based on their income, I really would be surprised at all if they dropped $$$ like it was nothing on IN VITRO, and when they found they were having triplets, they were probably like "CHECK - kids done"


jeromedawg

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Re: I make $900K per year, but I'm only middle-class
« Reply #58 on: May 24, 2016, 04:14:44 PM »
Interesting. I don't think the guy is a troll, because I have met people with this mindset in similar situations.

First of all they are living in one of the most expensive areas in the country in one of the highest tax areas in the country. There is no escape from the tax code when your income is W2 or similar.

Of course the amount of spending is crazy by almost anyone's standards (especially on this forum), but step back a bit and try to understand the psychology of what is going on here.

Humans are really bad at knowing absolutes (rich, poor, strong, good looking,whatever). Most of the time we use relative values. I had a fascinating discussion with a guy in this income range (Two full-time highly pain physician couple) and he said at this income level you get a taste of what it's like to be really rich (.01% - where price starts to become completely irrelevant to almost all purchasing decisions). He said in some ways it makes things worse because you start to entertain things that you never would have considered at the 100k income level. It opens more doors, but also more decisions. It is a bizarre thing that is only really understood by actually being in that position.

Also the guy didn't say he was middle class, he said he FEELS like middle class in some ways. Those two things are pretty different.

Interesting... I can see my cousin being in this position, just recently getting onto an anesthesiologist's salary coming out of several years of med school and and residency, and working as an engineer prior. He was always raised on a frugal mindset with a keen eye for deals, manufacturing spending, and making money on the side via side-hustles and likely investments. I noticed after he was working on this salary for a while, he started buying stuff that he probably wouldn't have bought prior. But at the same time, he wasn't going too overboard about it, and I'm sure he still looked for the best deals. He probably just felt like he didn't have the time to deal-seek/shop as much and actually had/has the freedom to splurge when he wants. He is marrying into a multi-billion dollar family, FWIW, so I'm pretty sure he's doubly-set to live the most anti-mustachian lifestyle he wants to from this point on. Only time will tell if he still treasures modesty and a simple life of humility vs one filled with toys only the rich and famous would ever touch ;)
« Last Edit: May 24, 2016, 04:16:46 PM by jplee3 »