Who’s rich?

All the talk of the last few days about who meets the definition of “rich” can be disheartening to those of us who are pretty sure we don’t. Oh, well. I like the line offered by one of the respondents to Today’s Question yesterday, quoting H.L. Mencken: “Wealth — any income that is at least one hundred dollars more a year than the income of one’s wife’s sister’s husband.” In other words, it’s relative, and it’s nice to make more than your relatives.

But it’s a credo of the American faith that those of us who are not wealthy think we will be, one day. We, too, could land that big commercial, and never have to look for work again:

And while we’re on the topic: This kid probably didn’t have to sweat the details on his FAFSA to figure out how to pay for college.

  • Kevin

    I am pretty sure there is a formula on what is the income levels. I have seen the IRS and others post it.

    Perception is the only variable… And that has nothing to do with the numbers. Some just do not ‘think’ of themselves in one level or another…. (Like the rich being not happy wanting more, will see the ‘rich’ bar as always higher then reality.)

    Middle class I would say is what the average person makes. And that as I understand it is 45k a year.

    I have been informed that is actually near the break to poverty level….. Odd when so many are at it. I believe I was told it was around 30K a year.

    Double the Average I would say if Upper income. Which would be near 100K annually.

    To me Middle=average. Pretty simple.

    But I know the IRS thinks its different, but those numbers are potentially fudged around a lot due to higher up politics…. (aka: congress)

  • Alison

    I think there are a lot of middle class people listening to this conversation over the past few days who have been able to get things like a home, decent cars, the ability to go out to eat and enjoy an activity pretty often, a vacation each year, maybe a getaway cabin. They consider themselves pretty well off but not rich.

    However middle class people know people who are a lot better off than they are. What they forget, because they rarely have meaningful contact with them, are the multitudes who struggle with money and maintaining a decent standard of living. Many of us who consider ourselves middle class rank so high on the income ranks because there are so many who make so little.

    Whether or not you are rich is certainly relative, but I wish we paid wages in this nation that would provide all people with enough to maintain a decent standard of living. While I believe it is right to compensate some jobs more highly than others, the gap between the highest and lowest earners has grow too large, and lowest is simply not enough to support a family without charity assisstance.