the middle class

middle-class-001

someone said:“More people than ever before say that they are scared of falling out of the middle class.”

my thought:This kind of public perception has to be interpreted with caution, in my opinion. Because whether or not someone views himself as being “in the middle class” has very little to do with his actual income level.

I think that people tend to view themselves as “middle class” when they feel like they can afford the basics without too much worry: they can’t necessarily get all of the amenities they want, but they aren’t constantly in fear of losing the fundamentals, either.

The problem is, when you surround yourself with people who have what you have, those things are not seen as “luxuries” but as “basics.” So:

My monthly budget breaks even with the “basics” of a workout trainer I meet with three times a week, a package at the tanning salon, eating out twice a week, and a 2 hour drive to the beach house every weekend.

Joe’s monthly budget breaks even with the “basics” of oatmeal for breakfast and macaroni and cheese for dinner every day, not driving anywhere but to and from work because gas is too expensive, and basic cable for entertainment on the weekends.

And we both consider ourselves “middle class”, because we both have the “basics”…when the “basics” are defined as “the stuff that all of my friends have.”

As a result, the guy who is worried that he will have to cut back on his gym membership and the guy who is afraid he won’t be able to eat both say, “I’m worried about falling out of the middle class.”

Even though the former isn’t even close, and the latter already did.



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