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Recent studies have “redefined” the term “middle class”.

Are you middle class?  Do you know what middle class is?  Do you care?

Regardless of the “recovery” we’re supposed to be in, many families are still struggling.  Many who consider themselves middle class may possibly not be.

And many are sliding below as the economy continues to search for its lowest level.

Gee, I feel so UPbeat!

Experts say that middle class income is between $51,000 and $123,000.  The median is about $81,000, but these numbers may have fallen between five and seven percent.

Housing costs for the middle class are set at about $231,000 for the average single family home with $17,600 in mortgage payments and other costs per year.  The cost of housing has risen 100% since 1990, and the recent unpleasantness in the housing market hasn’t dropped it all that much.

Size matters – The typical family also lives in a much bigger home than they did 20 30 or 40 years ago.  My folks reared 5 kids in a three bedroom one bath house.  Yeah, it was awesome, I learned to pee in the yard early!  They still live there and have since August 1, 1958.  But houses today are much larger.  The median size of a single family home took a 40% leap from 1979 til 2009.  The average is 2,300 square feet.  And there are generally fewer people living in them.  There were seven of us, the average family is four!

When it comes to Medical Expenses, the middle class family spends $5,100 a year according to VP Joe – so it must be true –  Biden on health insurance and uncovered costs.  I’m in the UPper class on that one.  Those insurance companies get so pissy when one has four heart attacks and quadruple bypass.  Really, is just plain discrimination.   Any way you look at it, health care costs have taken the biggest leap and are eating UP more and more of the every family’s money.

The sweet ride – the typical family spends about $12,400 per year on two medium-sized sedans or the equivalent, with a new-car value of $45,000. Outrageous gas prices may have curtailed our driving, but have done nothing to the American Love Affair with the Automobile.  Even though car sales are off about 40%, people are still buying new, still buying cars with lots of features, and just driving less. 

The kids college has been a real concern for American families for 40 years as well.  The middle class family usually puts away $4,100 a year for each two kids.  My experience; that’s not enough!  Many depend on financial aid and many don’t qualify.  This is one area that experts suggest we all throw more money at.  With budget cuts in every state, college tuition is going to skyrocket.  The American Dream of a College Education may actually have to be revisited.

The Family Vay Cay may take a hit too.  The middle class spends about three grand for a week at the beach for Mom, Dad, and the two spawn.  The tourist industry has taken a real hit in these hard times, and Disney is advertising more than ever and actually giving stuff away!  They never had to before, and they still make you call them long distance.  Gas, hotel, food on the road (not the possum, the restaurants) have all gone UP.  So middle class vacations of yesterday are often not in reach for those who consider themselves middle class.

Retirement savings for the middle class usually runs about 3.1%.  That’s not enough, and everyone needs to stock more away. I recently did a piece about this very thing.  So, the national savings rate of 3.1 isn’t going to cut it.

The MC spends 14 grand a year on “every day spending“.  Most folks are cutting back, using cupons, reading MomminitUP, Frugal Feminia and looking for bargains. ‘EDS’ includes clothes, food and entertainment. 

The MC usually has 2 earners in the household.

The MC workers are working more hours than before as well.  Though it has only jumped 5% since 1990.

Pew Research says that “Free Time” is more important to the MC than healthy kids, a strong marriage or a great career.  This may explain a whole lot.  Free Time before healthy kids is a little scary, but apparently Pew Knew!

The MC has a net worth of $84,000.

The MC spends 18.9% of its income on debt.  House payment, credit cards, etc. 

Now you know, and so do I  – let’s just say, I may not be middle class, but I’m not White Trash.

I’m White Debris.

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