What is something uniquely middle class, that neither the poor nor rich experience?

Rich enough to not get financial aid but poor enough that it’s a massive burden.


Rich enough to not get financial aid but poor enough that it’s a massive burden.


This is so common and widespread and stupid it feels like it HAS to be by design to drive people out of middle class lol


Dude, seriously. I'm chained down with 65k in private student loan debt. I can't do ANYTHING. I'm basically forced to keep moving up, or get lucky and have a parent die to leave me a lump sum. I am trapped, and it's genuinely depressing.


It's working as intended then. For anyone in charge, the goal is to ensure everyone is *forced* to work as hard as possible without you having to crack a literal whip. A retired friend once offered me this piece of advice: "When you buy a house, the company gets one of your balls. When you have a kid, they get the other."


Spot on.


Jesus…that hit home.


$80k in student loans because of that very reason!


So basically, the uniquely middle class American experience is massive student debt.


Budgeting for holidays. The rich don't need to, and the poor can't afford holidays.


Budgeting both the money - and the time! My in-laws are wealthy and always wanting the whole family to go on random trips. Every time they seem shocked that we can’t just drop everything and go.


These are my folks. Why can't you just come down for a few weeks. (I work) I don't know why you never visit. (Because I can't afford the plane tickets for 3 of us and driving to Florida and back takes the entire weekend) We never hear from you (YOU are the ones who are retired...(Come to US. Call US.)


My daughter moved to Europe and got married. She asks Why don’t you guys visit? Because it’s $800-$1000 per ticket if we’re lucky plus hotel/lodging costs plus food. And it’s more to actual travel and see the sights. Multiply that by 3 and it gets expensive not to mention her brother is autistic and has issues with unusual food. If she and her husband visit us they often fly here for $1000 for the both of them and stay with us and we feed them and they borrow one our cars.




My cousin recently informed me of this. Her kids never, ever have leftovers. Anything that’s not eaten at that particular meal gets tossed. Home cooked or take out. Everything automatically gets thrown away after the meal. Who thinks this way?


Long ago, like 1978 or so, I had Sunday dinner at my husbands sisters. She'd made a huge roast beef and half was left over. We were clearing the table and cleaning up and she says to me "What a shame that all this meat will go waste." Why would it go to waste? I ask What can I do with it? I said, hot beef sandwiches for dinner tomorrow. Chop it up and make a curry. Make the kids school lunch sandwiches with it if nothing else. It had never occurred to her to do anything. My husband urges guests to take seconds or thirds "or it'll just go to waste." Guests are generally shocked. And I chime in that it most definitely will not be wasted. His mom had been raised very privileged and I guess her family did not eat leftovers. In my family - privileged enough - we kids fought over leftovers. My kids come in and check the fridge before anything else looking for leftovers. My grandkids are starting.


Cold pizza that’s turns to Luke warm pizza for lunch. I actually coke left spaghetti and pasta dishes.


I have no clue what the second sentence is supposed to be but it made me laugh so upvote.


He snorts the leftover coke.


My ex SIL was like this except her family was lower income (by lower income I mean her and her parents live together, don't work, and get various forms of government assistance). For whatever reason all of them just dump everything left at the end of the meal in the trash! I don't know if they are worried about food poisoning or what. One time they were helping clean up dinner at my parents and went to scrape all the leftovers (meat, roasted veg and rice) right into the garbage. These were in serving dishes , not like they were in someone's plate. They seemed genuinely surprised when I told her to keep it and handed her a tupperware.


I have never in my life heard of anyone doing this! I am dumfounded.


OMG! I grew up always eating leftovers and asking for to-go food at restaurants etc. when I started dating my boyfriend he was like I'm allergic to leftovers and hates eating them either home cooked or from a restaurant... it is something I still can't comprehend and he didn't grow up that way.


That comes down to what you're cooking. I grew up below the poverty line. Mom made big spots of spaghetti gravy when ground beef was on sale and froze a bunch of it. Big pots of chili and other bean soups are big. And casseroles are generally seen as "poor/white trash food." Unfortunately a lot of poor people don't have the skills or time to learn said skills to make cheap, large-batch meals.


The time factor for poor people is huge. Unreliable transportation, no personal transportation, living far away from commuter transit, and having multiple jobs is a massive time suck in life.


Oh I get it. Grew up below the poverty line, didn't have a car until 27. Can't afford a place with h my own kitchen. Fortunately I make enough to invest in an instant pot so I can speed up the cooking of dry beans. I eat lots of chili and 15 bean soup.


Good answer: I've been poor most of my life and haven't experience holiday/vacation. Recently though i've been making a lot more money and been budgeting for the end of the year lol My wealthy uncle though doesn't budget for anything and it is so bizarre to me.


>My wealthy uncle though doesn't budget for anything and it is so bizarre to me. My parents inherited big time -- thus retiring early despite dad being a teacher and mom pulling in a cool $10k a year, yet having never worried about money a day in their lives -- and over the last decade or so I have come to realize that their only coping skill is "isn't there someone I can pay to do that for me?" Honestly, I'm not sure either one of them knows how much a banana costs at this point*. They recently "downsized" their middle-class house for a 3br condo in a building that feels more like a boutique hotel; it has fucking water features. After their N-teenth trip to the Virgin Islands last year, I finally ended up asking them how many zeroes there were in their bank account. They're fucking ridiculous. My parents lived in their house for 40 years, and in that time, they apparently lost complete touch with the real world. My dad spent 2 weeks complaining about having to park on the street for one day so that building management could have the underground, heated parking lot cleaned. They're in a suburb with ample street parking. Quick, break out the world's smallest violin. I am doing my absolute best to make him understand he is a 70 year old spoiled brat, but it is slow, hard work. \*I had assumed my mom still grocery shops, but recently she said to me, with tremendous concern, "you can't live on X thousand dollars!" X thousand dollars just so happens to be 150% of median household income where we live. I didn't have the heart to remind her that I am currently living on less than half of X thousand dollars.


It's one banana, Michael. What could it cost, $10?


Here’s $10. Go see a Star War.


There’s always money in the banana stand


Eventually people won't get the joke because a banana will cost $10.


Like the $5 milkshake in Pulp Fiction.


so how many zeros were in the bank account?


I gotta know


Great reply. My first thought was a family vacation. The rich dont even have to think about it, the poor can only dream of it. And the middle class have to really plan for it. I have realized that I am very low middle class as we just took our first family trip. We were able to afford it, but it was about 10 months in the making and we wont be doing it again for at least 5 years.


TIL I’m now poor due to inflation. I’ve been trying to find side gigs or something I can do to afford the holidays but I think I am fucked. Blew the emergency funds on car repairs and necessities. Haven’t been able to save shit. Paycheck to paycheck is nauseating.


I came here to say flying economy or premium economy - the poor can't afford it and the rich fly first class or charter


Making monthly payments on your kid's braces.


I like your answer best because it is so specific, and definitely accurate.


Probably stressing about home ownership and mortgages. The rich probably already have multiple homes and its already beyond attainment for the poor.


That or stressing/budgeting/debating about doing major repairs/upgrades to the house. Rich just pay for it, poor have little to no chance of encountering that obstacle.


My GF has a lot more money than I do, and this is pretty true. We are both what I would call comfortably lower middle class...the difference being, that her house is paid for, and she probably has the nicest house in her neighborhood...everything is modern, and updated. Whereas,i still have my mortgage, and my house is pretty dated by comparison.


That is comfortably middle middle class. Especially to own a home.


Tell us more, it must be surreal to have the nicest house in a middle class neighborhood.


I would like to add being “house poor” to this. You have enough money and credit to buy a home but don’t have enough money to keep up with expensive repairs.


My mom was like this after she got divorced. She got the house but couldn’t afford to maintain it. She couldn’t sell it because it was in such disrepair she could never have gotten a decent price for it. When I grew up and start earning money I bought it from her so she could retire and move into a newer condo.


so nice you were able to do that for her!!


Middle class rut here… I make $40/hr doing my job, after overtime it’s around 100-120k/yr… I will never be able to afford a house in my area because 30% of my income goes to rent/grocery/bills, 30% to taxes, which leaves behind about 30k/yr to spend/save as I please… the average cost of a house in my county is 1.5M, if I could save 1/3 of that spend/save money that’s 10k/yr. It would take me about 15 years to afford a down payment however I still would t be able to afford the mortgage on my monthly income


I think the stress of homeownership is universal, but the perspective is not. I worked in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, off of the NJ boardwalk. About every 3rd or so person I assisted early on was trying to get government assistance for their 2nd/3rd vacation home. And they would get so upset that they didn't qualify for emergency hotel costs until I explained that they could just... go to their other home and wait for insurance. For other people, they didn't have another home to go to.


Excluding the super wealthy, rich people often face the same financial stress and many other people.. not because they "need" to, but because as income goes up so does their spending


I bought a house over the summer. I live alone, no children, no spouse. So I did it all on my own. Saved up for years and every time I had to pay something I dreaded it. First house required an inspection because I used an FHA to get the house. Two bedroom house with a decent backyard and front yard with a workshop in the back at $150k. I had to pay money to the title company, inspector got this money, could not inspect because of a flood coming from the house. Sellers got that fixed...or so they claimed, took them a month, inspection came back with the house needing $98,000 in repairs before it could be sold (roof, foundation, plumbing, electrical all needed to be redone). At that moment the dream of home ownership was nearly dead. Not many sellers want to deal with FHA buyers. At the last possible moment we found a seller. $108k, townhouse, tiny backyard (but a backyard), two bedroom two bath. Had to spend more money at the title place (thankfully, that was a refund from the first), another inspection, and an assessment. Sellers were complete dicks, offered zero allowances for repairs (and they half assed some of those repairs). My landlord were I was living wasn't renewing my lease, so I had to be out and my lease was almost up. I was at the point of sweating. Less than a week from when my lease was up we finally closed. Moved the very next day. The sad part: I had an apartment ready to move into had this house fallen through. This house has a monthly payment of $1080 a month. That is mortgage, insurance, taxes and other fees. The only thing not included is the HOA fee of $150/month. The one bedroom apartment that I had, had things not worked out, was 1200/month. When my parents bought their first house, a three bedroom, two bath, two car garage, the monthly payment was like $800/month and that was mortgage, taxes, insurance and other fees. Now you can't rent anything at that price. So I know, long term I am going to have a fixed (fuck variable rate mortgages) mortgage for the next three decades. I don't see it as thirty years of paying back a loan. I see it as for the next thirty years I have a house that will be easier and easier to pay off. I lived in that apartment for five years. During that time my rent went from $625/month to $800/month. In another four years my monthly payment on this two bedroom house will be cheaper than the rent on that efficiency apartment (according to Zillow rent where I was living is up to $850/month).


In the US, the middle class and even some do the working class fall into the category of “I need help but I make too much to qualify.” I believe it is sometimes called the Welfare Cliff. People make more, but then lose access to their subsidized childcare, housing, healthcare etc. and actually end up worse off. Lots of middle class people have enormous medical debt, don’t qualify for any sort of school grants, and so on.


> “I need help but I make too much to qualify.” I believe it is sometimes called the Welfare Cliff Me in grad school. If you make below $20,000 a year, you pretty much get free (EDIT: Very cheap, like $70 a month), really good insurance. You pretty much pay nothing (or very little) for any sort of medical anything (other than a $500 max out of pocket.) Basically think of the best insurance you can think of with a $500 out of pocket maximum. If you make a DOLLAR over $20,000 a year, you no longer qualify for ANY of it. You will pay at least $150 a month for catastrophic insurance with 20% coinsurance, huge out of pocket maximums, no dental, no vision, no prescriptions, no nothing. How I know this? My coworker was looking at her insurance one day and I asked her how hers was so cheap, she said she said her income was $20,000, where as I *correctly* input my income as $22,000. (We had the same job with the exact same, publicly viewable income.) Her insurance was AMAZING (everything covered 100% after the very low deductible), mine got me charged nearly $10,000 AFTER INSURANCE to fix a hernia. I made $22,000 a year, I can't fucking afford a $10,000 bill. So after that I started just not having insurance because why? What's the point? I can't afford a $10,000 bill just like I couldn't afford whatever the actual bill would have been. Either way the hospital would end up eating costs. I specced out a similar plan to hers with my reported income, and they were trying to charge me $300-$400 a month for the plan she was paying like... $70 a month for. Obviously something I couldn't afford, even if I wanted to. 22,000 a year is ~1600 a month. With rent being a bit more than half of that.... yeah. So I suppose I COULD have afforded it, if I never bought anything else in life at all. EDIT: This was.... 6ish years ago? Things may have changed. I have a real job now so I no longer have to buy my own insurance.


Doesn’t misreporting like this get caught when you file taxes? The government will know that she inaccurately reported her income… right??


Yes and you will face the bill come tax time. On the upside there is no penalty for overestimating your income for people making less than 12k.


Having a two car garage that's so full of random shit that you can only get one car in it.


The garage fridge. The old one your parents didn't want to throw away because it still kinda works but not good enough to be the one for daily use.


That's the beer fridge.


That’s the alcohol fridge and the freezer section is for the frozen meat.


The freezer is for liquor


Or icepops


In garage fridge we trust!


We bought the most base model fridge specifically for the garage during the pandemic. We lived in a 50s-built, small ranch house, blue-collar neighborhood. Well, we moved to a planned community (there are at least 8 teslas on a 10 house street, a few of those being plaids), and most garages are either empty or meticulously organized, and the garage fridges are all huge, double-door, stainless-steel, showroom-beautiful focal points. At least color and utility of our Toyotas match the our fridge!


Ours is from the neighbors down the street who put it out with a FREE sign on it. We waited for dark and wheeled it to our driveway with a handcart and plugged it into an extension cord to make sure it worked. If it didn’t we were going to wheel it back in the dark but it works great.


I…I found my people. The freezer is full of meat and otter pops. The fridge part is full of alcohol. I feel so seen.


We could never get any car into my parents garage growing up, but my mom was a hoarder so…. I remember the first time I went to my husband’s parents house, and they had two vehicles in their garage, and tools on the wall hanging neatly…that they actually used. I have never fully recovered from the shock.


Or one car that doesn’t run and a bunch of your dad’s tools/family garbage stacked up around it.


Gotta disagree. Garage so full of random shit and white goods you can’t get *either* car in; one gets parked on the driveway / front garden, the other on the pavement / sidewalk outside their property.


My parents couldn't get any car in theirs. Sister and I about cried when we had to deal with it after they died


My sister and brother in law bought their house with an attached garage over 20 years ago. They have never parked in it nor cared that they weren't. I was always appalled by this. I know what old garage-kept cars can look like compared to "outdoor" cars. I bought a house a few years ago with an attached garage, and after moving in, my first and most serious goal was to get everything moved from the garage where it was dumped on moving day to someplace, anyplace in the house. I will never give up that garage spot to park in. It is sacred! Lol


Making choices on what to buy at the Scholastic's Book Fair


Haha! Yes. My parents would say, “We can’t afford to order books!!” They said that if we needed a new book, we could go to the local or school library. I used to borrow books from a wealthy friend’s in-home library. We also couldn’t afford grapes and strawberries. Apples, bananas, and oranges were our staple fruits (we had an orange tree). But! They pinched those pennies for years so they could take us on a trip to Europe. In the moment, not being able to buy my own books and eat grapes was annoying. 😂 Now that I look back, I think what they did was pretty cool.


My mother always found money for that. Probably shouldn't have, given how often she was delinquent on shit like rent and utilities, but there was always money for books.


We were pretty middle class growing up, but my mom hating spending money for ‘kid stuff’. But books, always always always. Probably why I grew up such a bookworm.


The only choice is two r/outrun style posters of 80s super cars and three RL Stine Goosebumps books


This guy book fairs!


Don't forget captain underpants




Goosebumps is making a resurgence. The Netflix movie with Jack Black is pretty entertaining - my kids have watched it a ton.


Pointlessness of filling out a FAFSA form. The rich don’t need it and the poor benefit from it.


[Ruby Payne](https://www.ahaprocess.com/ruby-homepage-bio/) says that owning and using a lot of tools is primarily a middle class phenomenon. Poor people can't afford many tools and thus can't repair many household features. Rich people can just buy a new item or it's cheaper for them to hire for repairs.


I grew up poor. We definitely had to fix our own stuff. If someone didn’t have a tool, someone else did, and they would almost always be willing to help you fix whatever problem you were having. Now that I’m in the middle class, I don’t have that type of community, so I guess I have to buy my own tools and figure it out for myself.


Took a graduate class on ruby Payne as a teacher. Couldn’t stand it as someone who grew up in poverty. She tries to fit all the poor kids into a box. The one that stuck with me is “kids in poverty are louder.” I grew up with quiet Sunday mornings listening to NPR while my mom did crossword puzzles. All my non-poverty-kid teacher peers were busy taking notes. It made me sad thinking of how many kids they she categorized & the teachers who will now make assumptions.


Tools and Sewing and Cooking Equipment and Utensils for the Same reasons!!!


Idk. My grandparents and parents/aunts/uncles were all very poor and they were fixing everything themselves. Had to. You acquire tools one way or another. I mean they were flat out building entire houses and add-one themselves at times.


ONE extra bedroom that serves multiple purposes. It is a guest room/office/"home gym"/craft room/play room. In my experience with wealthy families, each of these things has its own room. Financially unstable families are unlikely to have an extra bedroom to spare.


You mean the box room?


Before it was my office/the guest bedroom, it was "the room of shame" when my girlfriend bought her house.


You forgot the very classic late 90s early 2000s family “computer room”


Paying proportionally the most taxes while also receiving the least benefits and subsidies.


Yup, having enough income to not qualify for any kind of aid but not enough money to actually afford those things yourself. College was a real eye opener for this. The only "aid" I qualified for was a federal unsubsidized loan but my parents didn't have the money to pay for my tuition or anything. Even had an advisor get mad at me for working so much(not sure why, my grades were fine) and tell me my parents needed to pony up more instead of working 30 hours a week. Apparently that's just a thing and I can tell mommy and daddy I need them to start covering my rent and groceries and car insurance.


I tried to go back to school in my late twenties, joining in for the spring semester, but they fucked around on getting me any info back that I ended up being able to escalate the fuck up to their dean. They didn't tell me of financial info until a week before they expected me to pay for classes. So I'm in a meeting with this Dean of this College. And she goes, "well can't you ask your parents help?" I was like "lady I'm 28 years old. I haven't lived with my parents for a decade now." Her: "Well you can sign up for this [crazy high interest] loan we have." Me: "absolutely not. Had you let me know before a week prior, I'd have got my own damn loan at a much lower interest rate because I have the credit score to do that kinda shit." Her: "Well, with this degree, you'll be able to start off making $14/hr in this field of you decide to still pursue it!" Me: "Lady I already make more of that, in that field, without the degree." It was just so fucking out of touch. I was just like omg no, no absolutely not. Fuck all of you, take me out. You guys suck. And I just cancelled those entire plans with that college. This was a few years back now and I am still pissed about it lol


Well, at least she told you what you can start at with the degree. With prior experience it would probably be more, but for her to not take that into account and understand you are a "mature" student that has actual life experience instead of an 18 year old that has no clue. They probably don't tell these young people the financial details just to trap them into a high interest loan that THEY offer. Moral compass doesn't quite point North.


This. Going to college AND working is pretty middle class.


I went from "disabled and poor" to "disabled and middle class" recently but I don't get health benefits from work. I had to beg the disability people to keep giving me health benefits or else I'd be worse-off than working part-time. I have no legal right to it anymore so I'm just hoping they continue being kind. Looking for a job with benefits now.


When politicians say things like “the middle class is the engine of the American economy” this is what they mean.


Exactly * Too poor to afford groceries, but making "too much" to receive any benefits. * Too poor to afford University and textbooks, etc., but making "too much" for income-based scholarships * Too poor to afford rent, but making "too much" to receive Section 8 housing benefits. *Ad nauseum*


I'd argue that's a bit poorer than middle class though


Idk man, being too poor to afford rent and groceries isn’t a mid-class thing.


Painfully accurate


Mowing the yard


Well off enough to have a home and a yard, in a neighborhood where a decent yard is expected, maybe even mandated by an HOA... But not well off enough to be able to afford to pay someone else to do it.


Right, some of these are also middle class vs upper middle class. I live in an upper middle class neighborhood and half my street hires a lawn mowing service.


I'm fortunate enough (and have worked hard for 40 years) to live in an upper-middle class neighborhood where most of the homes have lawn services. Maybe 10% to 20% of us seem to do it ourselves. I probably could swing a lawn service - though it would cut into budget for other things. (as others have mentioned, budgeting seems to be a middle class thing) I did the math, for the cost of a lawn service for one season I purchased an electric mower, edger, and trimmer. I figure I'm money ahead already (had them a couple of years), and I'm not spending money/time/fuel going to a gym - I get exercise and sunshine right here. Walking my dog I check out neighbors' lawns. I believe I'm doing a mid-pack job. There are other yards that look much better, and a few that "need work." If I had paid for someone to consistently do that to my yard I'd be cancelling that service. That's probably another sign of being in the middle class - actually having to think about keeping up appearances.


That's probably more a difference between urban poor and rural poor than middle class vs lower class. Growing up in trailer parks, mowing was definitely a normal part of life.


does meowing in the yard count? asking for a friend


Shouldering the tax burden of both the rich and the poor


He ain’t lying tho


I’m happier taking the hit for people with no money than people who have so much money they can pay someone to help them hide it.


Same, my family came to the US with no money and barely any education. I lived on free school lunches and food stamps until I was a teenager. There’s a sense of shame when you’re surrounded by upper middle class kids who are shocked when you give that blue pass for free lunch I make a decent income now, but I happily vote yes on any taxes that enables free school food or infrastructure. My state actually lets under 18 kids take free public transit.


I grew up fairly poor, and my parents were incredibly wasteful. My dad worked hard and my mum stayed home with us children. Everything we owned seemed to have no value to them. My mum would never preserve left overs, she would throw half a chicken away and think nothing of it. If the vacuum cleaner stopped working, she would just sling it out in the garden with all the other crap, and my dad would begrudgingly buy a new one. Clothing was never taken care of, labels of clothing and appliances weren’t read, they would be misused and wore out shortly thereafter. My dad would work so hard to buy a car and then destroy it by treating it like trash. My husband was raised in a firmly upper middle class family. His parents are the epitome of “tight asses”. His mother would wrap a single piece of dinner bread in foil and save it. I remember when I moved in with my husband and noticing how he read manuals for new appliances or tools so he could take care of them properly, or he would wash delicates on a delicate cycle with special detergent lol. He was blown away that I was blown away that someone would actually look after something they worked hard for.


I am firmly middle class. In the middle class, the way education is viewed is all about getting a job/career/income. This, apparently is not so for the poor whose access to education is diminished, and for the rich for whom education is more about making connections than anything else. At least that's the way I have learned it.


Can confirm. I went to tour a graduate school program that I can't afford. One of the biggest talking points they had was about the connections you make and the name recognition of the program. Something like 30% of the people change jobs to better paying jobs during the program because of the network they offered.


Massive college debt. The rich just pay for it and the poor typically qualify for way more financial assistance. Of course there are other debts associated with college, but if you have lower middle income parents who don’t want to pay a dime for college, you are pretty fucked. I’d also include kids of rich people who don’t want to help with college, but they are more likely to have other relatives who might help.


What's crazy, is so many poor people don't know they qualify for help. I am very poor ( long story) . I've always wanted to go to college. As my older kids grew up we started putting money together like crazy hoping they could take one or two classes at a time. So they enrolled, and then, we were stunned. Classes were free - books too. We live in the poorest county in Montana, none of my kids friends knew anything about this. They only knew that college was something out of their reach. Combined with all the high school councilors telling kids they can't go to college unless they take all the right classes, they all thought it was out of reach. Now my adult kids are in school, I'm in school ( at 51), and my 21 year just started a community program to help local kids fill out applications and teach them how they can attend the community College online ( we live 70 miles from the nearest one).


Yep, I was one of those kids: I thought college was for people who could win scholarships or people whose parents could afford to pay. I did not take the honors and AP classes, therefore I didn't go to college. I volunteered in a SpEd class and that teacher told me she was a lot like me, told me a girl in her graduating class seriously asked the professor who won the American Revolution and convinced me that intelligence isn't necessary to get a degree. It helps, but hard work and perseverance are great substitutes. I'm in post-grad right now and am a SpEd teacher myself. I really wish there were more counselors out there who would just tell kids like me that Junior college is an option.


You're doing some awesome work for these people! Literally changing the lives of whole families!


This was me. My parents made 1k **more** than the FAFSA cutoff that would have qualified me for grants. They also gave me 0 help. I had to take all of the loans, federal and private, including one semester on a credit card because I didn’t qualify for enough money. I was eventually able to pay off all that debt, but am now 10/15 years behind in life compared to many of my peers. The American education system is fucked.


>I’d also include kids of rich people who don’t want to help with college, Yep, because the college factors your parents' income/assets, even though you're a legal adult and broke.


the fun part is i have student debt from my grad school days AND student debt on behalf of my kids in the form of high interest parent plus loans yay!


Saving for retirement. Health insurance to a certain extent.


This is a good one! When I was unemployed and UI ran out, I had to get on state assistance for a while. Best frickin insurance I ever had, covered everything. No co-pay, no deductibles. Everything covered. Even hospital stays. Now I work at a job where I make a decent enough salary, but no health insurance so (thanks to ACA) I buy my own. But it's the one within my affordability. Covers health only, definite co-pay and high deductible. I have a separate one for dental with co-pay and deductible. If I was wealthy, none of this would be an issue since I'd have the money to cover anything.


Paying income taxes.


This is actually more complicated . There are two types of rich people: 1) The capital rich and/or real estate rich. The capital rich make their money from stocks and/or owning a business. These folks pay very little or nothing in taxes. 2) The working rich, e.g. tech executives. These folks make their money by working and pay A LOT in taxes (35% or more.) Source: I'm a retired tech executive who, until retirement, paid a LOT in income taxes. Most deductions and loopholes have been eliminated or phase out at high incomes, and most of the income is taxed as ordinary income (37% federal rate). Basically, rich business owners don't pay tax. Rich workers pay a LOT.


Meh if you work for your income I don't see you as part of the "rich". You're just a worker that's well off and deserverdly so.


Yes, how is *rich* defined? Two doctor household is making $500k/yr. They are in the top 1% of income earners but also paying a crap ton in taxes.


If they’re specialists in a major city they’re earning double that easily (in America anyway, I think specialist docs in the UK make like £60k lol)


My mom’s good friend is an ENT doc, he’s been working in r and d for artificial ear growth for the past decade but when he was practicing in office he was definitely earning over 1 mil a year.


Lots of people in this comment section are talking about being poor and thinking that is middle class. >The Pew Research Center defines "middle class" as an income that ranges between two-thirds and double the median income. The exact boundaries of a middle-class income vary by family size and location, due to the geographical differences in cost of living. That works out to an annual income between $52,000 and $156,000 for a three-person household, as of 2020. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/middle-class.asp Characteristics of middle class: 1. You have an affordable mortgage. 2. You can afford groceries, car payment, etc. 3. You are saving for retirement. 4. You have discretionary spending (although small) I think the problem we are seeing is the shrinking middle class and people who got pushed out of the middle class into the working class wishfully thinking (and voting) with the idea they are still middle class.


This is the answer. I’ve been on both sides of the coin. As a poor kid in rural North Carolina, my family never carried health insurance. We never had a mortgage, but instead lived in trailer and various forms of public/subsidized housing. I remember our trailer being such a crapshoot that the shower never worked - so it was mostly sink baths. We didn’t get air conditioning (a window unit at that) until I was 16 years old. There was no car - we relied on relatives for transportation or just walked. Now as a mid 30s adults I have all of these things, but still find myself being extremely frugal when I do not actually have to. I have a mortgage, savings, retirement. I’m living very comfortably, but my mindset just still feels poor.


Middle class is a functionally useless term. The 50k and 150k experience are literally nothing alike and shouldn't ever be mentioned in the same sentence.


Depends on the city and some other factors. $150k in the bay area and you're middle income. $150k in the rural south and you're the highest paid person in three counties.


Funny (sadly) enough according to OPs definition 150k in the bay is not middle class as you can’t afford a (bay area) mortgage on that income.


Owning a house is definitely not a middle class thing in high cost of living cities. I live in Vancouver, and the upper middle class can afford something between a condo and a townhouse. The middle class live in distant suburbs if they want to buy. There are plenty of upper middle class folks (myself included) that are eternal renters in order to be able to live in the good areas.


Routine Poor people lives are habitually chaotic and rich people do whatever they want whenever they feel like it which usually involves substantial variety. Middle class people tend to live lives which are much more predictable day to day.


As a kid, going on a road trip to somewhere fun but the whole way there, you can only eat the food your mom packed from home. It's really sad when you're 9 and your family pulls over into the burger king parking lot just so you all can eat the soggy sandwiches from the cooler :(


Damn, that made me laugh. When I was growing up, eating fast food was so rare that I still remember eating a Wendy's hamburger that was so good, but so big that I couldn't finish it.


We are not hurting for money but on driving vacations we pack snacks and food for the drive. Spending 50 bucks to feed everyone shitty fast food doesn’t appeal to me. And worst off fast food would require me to stop 4 times after eating it to use the rest room…


That sounds like a poor experience. The middle class would be able to afford burger king on a trip.


The poor wouldn’t have the trip.


It's different levels of working class. Lower working class has to eat from the cooler, upper middle class wouldn't consider it. Also, no soggy sandwiches if you assemble when you are going to eat it.


There were years where my parents were upper middle class. We still ate out of coolers. Being frugal is a big part of how my parents got financially comfortable. Of course, we also make WICKED cooler meals. Bagel turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce. Chicken salad croissants. Club sandwiches on sourdough. So it’s definitely not sad cooler food.


I would prefer what my mom packed 10 times out of 10 to BK. E.g. you really need to pack deli meat, bread, condiments and veggies separately and assemble sandwich on located. Then you are having a fun picnic instead of a soggy mess.


Costco runs? Samples, a full cart, the food court. I’m guessing rich people don’t hang out here, but I don’t know.


Rich people do shop at Costco.


Most rich people I know love Costco. The joy of finding a bargain is fairly universal, regardless of social class. My sister's best friend growing up came from one of the wealthier families in the U.S. and one of his mom's favorite activities was to go to T.J. Maxx with my mom and hunt for bargains.


Rich people love Costco and stocking up in bulk.


Depends on your definition of rich, but a lot of very wealthy people shop at Costco. A big part of being wealthy is making solid financial decisions, and being frugal can be one of those decision.


Tools, poor can’t afford them and the rich pay someone else to fix it.


I think this one depends on the individuals. I know a few rich people who have niceeeee workshops at the house. One of my friends friend has a 2 level workshop with a 2 post lift, air compressors and everything else you could need if you were into working on cars.


Buying a brand new car without leather seats.


Low-end ski trips/resorts. Same for all-inclusive resorts. Rich avoid them for higher class experience, poor can't afford them.


Being able to afford something nice but yet not being able to afford it. Like you have the money to buy a nice car but you know you'll be compromising on your future needs or cutting some other aspects.


Delayed gratification.


Long road trips by car. The rich fly and the poor can't afford to go anywhere.


Don’t the middle class fly too?


Yes, but the road trip is a middle class institution. I think they probably mix and match, with a road trip in the summer and a discount charter somewhere warm in the winter (other than people that live somewhere warm - can't comment on their habits). I still love road trips and plan vacations around them periodically, and it isn't because I can't afford to fly.


The middle class definitely flies. They just fly coach.


And less often


Poor people fly too. Have you ever been on Spirit?


Flying is often cheaper once you get past the 400ish mile threshold


Taking out private loans for tuition? The poor get grants and don't have the credit score and the rich pay cash.


Midwest USA - Getting a job at 14 to start saving for your first car at 16. I had friends that had to work at 14 and give their parents the money for bills, I had other friends who knew they were getting a car for their 16th birthday and were too busy with travel sports/competitions and 'didn't have time to work.' My little friend group all worked at the same place and got rides from each others parents to work, sold our used CDs/video games/DVDs to the second hand store, collected returnable cans from weekend festivals, shoveled snow and raked leaves, all in the name of sweet vehicular freedom at 16. We didn't realize how lucky we were our family didn't need that money for groceries or to keep the lights on. for context, I got my first car in 1996, and it was $700. 89 Mercury Sable, beat to shit by my cousin for a few years before I got it. The cool kids were getting new Dodge Neons or Geo Trackers. I think our area was as averagely middle class as it gets, those kids weren't getting Beamers with bows.


Saving for kids’ college. Rich don’t have to, poor don’t have anything to save.


Too much income for free school lunches but not enough to pay for school lunches so you get PB&J for lunch for 12 years.


I think eating leftovers the next day or making casseroles is middle class. I have been in the poor category and we did not have anything left over to eat the next day and we never had a casserole. In middle class I have access to recipes and more money to combine foods .


Economy class


DIY home remodeling.


Fear of one medical bill removing me from middle class. America won’t be great until we give everyone healthcare and remove greed from our for profit medical industry.


Too “rich” to qualify for financial aid, yet too poor to pay for higher education.


The rapid shrinking of our socio economic group. Lower class/poverty class is growing... the elite class is staying the same size... as a middle class, you feel pressure to get rich asap before you become poor too. Lol


And the knowledge that your kids will probably live a lower class life than you.


Paying 38% of my income as taxes.


Above ground pools in the back yard.


Can’t afford your kid’s college but make too much for financial aid.


1/4 brick, 3/4 vinyl siding.


Getting fast food because you want to, not because you have to bc you can’t afford groceries. Also because it’s not below your taste/diet.


Eating fast food regularly is easily more expensive than buying groceries


True, but an overlooked factor is time. If you're working 60 hours a week just to pay the bills, you might not have the time or energy to cook a meal every night. Getting fast food might not be a *good* decision in this circumstance, but it is a commonly made one.


Totally agree


Stressing about an appliance breaking and you need to buy a replacement, do the research on the best replacement, etc. Needing to call a plumber, etc., and wondering how much that will cost.


Chain sit down restaurants. Poor can’t afford it and not fancy enough for the rich.


Healthcare tourism (traveling to another country for dental work or surgery). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_tourism Rich don't need to, poor cannot afford to.


This isn't really true though. Medical tourism to the U.S. by the super rich is very much a thing, as high-end medical care in the U.S. is miles ahead of most other countries. I had dinner just last night with an oral surgeon who caters to HNW individuals and she said that probably half her patients are HNW individuals from Europe or the Middle East who fly in to her for treatment.


Having to use up leftovers in the fridge.


Eating 1 dollar ramen a day then eating 200 dollars steak the other




Actually, rich people often deal with some of the strictest HOAs around. I’ve watched a documentary on gated communities for the ultra wealthy and their HOAs are insane. You can get fined out the ass for not having your hedges trimmed or driving 2 mph over the neighborhood speed limit.


Curse their evil hearts.


Brand new Toyota Camry Rich folk wouldn't be seen in one, poor folks would buy it used.


Lol my billionaire ceo drives a Toyota Sedan though I don’t know which model. He just doesn’t want to be viewed as rich imo. Anyway, rich people, especially the less flashy types, often drive middle brow cars. Not everyone is into cars tbh


Yeah. Most truly rich people don't want others to know they are rich - it really changes relationship dynamics.


I think you are mostly right, but I actually know a rich couple who bought a Camry, and then later a Corolla (step below). I worked in tech and know lots of rich people who don't drive luxury cars - a lot of rich people don't want to look rich in public, and want at least one every day driver that is just practical, safe, low maintenance. The top of the line of a non-luxury brand actually gets you most of the features of a luxury car, but cheaper, less hassle for things like repairs, and less of a target for theft.


Paying taxes. The poor don’t make enough money to pay taxes and I, a nurse, paid more taxes then Trump did during the first 2 years of his presidency.


Paying for healthcare. The rich don’t need to worry about it, and the poor either don’t get it or go to the ER or a clinic. You don’t need to worry about debts you’re never going to pay or a credit score for a house or new car you’re not going to buy.


A lot of the wall decor is framed photos of people who live in the house, and their close relatives. Well-off people hang artwork, young renters barely getting by put up posters, and poor folks often move around too often to decorate much.


budgeting in general.


Mowing your postage stamp sized lawn in the ‘burbs.


Paying taxes


Realizing early it could be worse. I remember in middle school figuring out that I'd better be happy with my Adidas that were on sale, because the next level down wasn't any recognizable brand. The rich kids got dressed in whatever was in style, dirt poor kids got whatever they could get their hands on. The middle class was different. Some parents splurged when they shouldn't have, my folks were more responsible. I knew I was pretty close to the line between the middle class and dressing like I wasn't.


Making too much for college financial aid but unable to afford college