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View Full Version : What is your notion of middle class?


Fat Elvis
01-04-2005, 12:15 PM
I'm asking this question because I just read an article on investing your year end bonus and one sentence struck me as odd:

For example, say an employee who makes $100,000 a year is lucky enough to receive a $40,000 bonus in early 2005.

It was odd to me because it seemed to imply that $100K/ year salary is pretty normal. Judging from the Christmas bonus thread, I think a 40% bonus seemed a bit out of whack as well.

Is this how the regular world works and I am just missing out?

It might be more the norm on the coasts becuase of the costs of living are so much higher there than here, but do those numbers sound right for the midwest?

Just curious....

Fat E

HC_Chief
01-04-2005, 12:16 PM
Hell no... and not on the coasts either.

Robio9
01-04-2005, 12:42 PM
I might agree with the annual salary numbers (based on number of years experience, of course), but I would say a 40% bonus structure is atypical. In my experience, unless someone's main responsibility is to sell products and/or services, bonuses only top out around 12% or so.

Mile High Mania
01-04-2005, 12:44 PM
I wish a 40% bonus was the norm.

HC_Chief
01-04-2005, 12:44 PM
Who gets bonuses? :grr:

Saulbadguy
01-04-2005, 12:46 PM
Bonus? Bonus?

Mile High Mania
01-04-2005, 12:47 PM
I can't really say that I know of anyone close to me (friends or family) that gets a bonus that huge, not making a 100k or less a year.

Sounds a bit outta whack.

HC_Chief
01-04-2005, 12:48 PM
I did some consulting work for a big corp in KC... the group I worked with got anywhere from 12-20% bonuses annually (depending on Co revenue).

MUST
BE
NICE

f*ckers
:grr:

ChiTown
01-04-2005, 12:51 PM
I might agree with the annual salary numbers (based on number of years experience, of course), but I would say a 40% bonus structure is atypical. In my experience, unless someone's main responsibility is to sell products and/or services, bonuses only top out around 12% or so.

Great point.

Sales people and Sales Managers generally have more of their total compensation "at risk" - meaning they are capable of making or achieving (for example) $150K at said corporation, but the company puts 50% of that at risk.

When I worked for a large Oil and Energy concern, my total compensation (mainly bonus) was tied to the Net Income After Tax of the business unit I was responsible for. Generally, depending upon how the company did as a whole, my group would make anywhere btw 8-12% of the NIAT. I paid a sales guy (28 yr old) in 2000 a $132K bonus. That was one of the best day's of my life. I thought the kid was going to start crying.....Very cool moment.........matter a fact, his bonus was higher than mine.

Rain Man
01-04-2005, 12:55 PM
I paid a sales guy (28 yr old) in 2000 a $132K bonus. That was one of the best day's of my life. I thought the kid was going to start crying.....Very cool moment.........matter a fact, his bonus was higher than mine.

I'm about to start crying now, too.



A 40 percent bonus is insane unless it's sales. And then I'd think it's commission, not bonus.

Mile High Mania
01-04-2005, 12:58 PM
I'm about to start crying now, too.



A 40 percent bonus is insane unless it's sales. And then I'd think it's commission, not bonus.

Agreed - I'm in sales and about 65% of my earnings is commissions/incentives. There's not really a bonus, unless you figure in the $ value for trips won, etc.

morphius
01-04-2005, 12:58 PM
10% is the best I have done, that I can think of anyway. Would be damn nice if that happened again this year.

Hoover
01-04-2005, 12:58 PM
Middle Class to me is 40K to $250K a year.

Hoover
01-04-2005, 12:59 PM
When you are the boss you don't get an effin bonus.

Mile High Mania
01-04-2005, 01:03 PM
Middle Class to me is 40K to $250K a year.

I've never really thought about how I would classify the middle class, but what you defined it as sure is a big gap. I'm sure it's probably close, but damn.

Also, you have to go regionally. Someone making $100k in one of your more costly areas, like LA is just as well off as someone making $50k in Tulsa, OK or Little Rock, AR. Hell, the person in OK or AR is probably better off when you consider getting a house and all of that.

Rain Man
01-04-2005, 01:05 PM
I will say that in my best year as an employee, I pulled down a 22 percent bonus. I brought in over $600,000 in contracts to a $3 million firm that year, though, so it was the least they could do. Seriously. The least.

The absolute least.

ChiTown
01-04-2005, 01:07 PM
When you are the boss you don't get an effin bonus.

Not true for me and my business.

My bonus will be everything in excess of all my expenses, including a salary that I pay myself. I don't expect much of a bonus this year, but I fully expect to reap the benefits in 2006.........

MOhillbilly
01-04-2005, 01:08 PM
id be shittin in tall cotton if i made 100k + a year.

DenverChief
01-04-2005, 01:13 PM
Middle Class to me is 40K to $250K a year.

your nuts....40K to 90K....anything over 100K a year individually is upper class

cdcox
01-04-2005, 01:13 PM
Here in academia land we get paid for 9 mos, although it is spread over 12. If we can generate research funding, we can collect salary for the summer months as well. So if you consider the 9 mos salary as the base, we can get a "bonus" of up to 33%. However, in order to collect the "bonus" you have to not only sell your idea, but then have to do the extra work to demonstrate your idea, and then promote it to keep your reputation high for the next round of funding.

Hoover
01-04-2005, 01:15 PM
your nuts....40K to 90K....anything over 100K a year individually is upper class
Bull

So If I make 60K and my wife makes 40K we are upper class?

DenverChief
01-04-2005, 01:18 PM
Bull

So If I make 60K and my wife makes 40K we are upper class?

Key word = Individually...you would have to pull down a COMBINED 180-200K to be upper class

Robio9
01-04-2005, 01:19 PM
your nuts....40K to 90K....anything over 100K a year individually is upper class

How do you distinguish between middle and upper class?

Rain Man
01-04-2005, 01:20 PM
Not true for me and my business.

My bonus will be everything in excess of all my expenses, including a salary that I pay myself. I don't expect much of a bonus this year, but I fully expect to reap the benefits in 2006.........


That's just profit, isn't it?


I get a profit ("owner's return") plus a bonus if my company does well. I get a bonus because all of our employees do, and I'm an employee. I get the profit because, well, I'm the man.

Good year this year. Good year. :thumb:

Rain Man
01-04-2005, 01:21 PM
For most of the country, I would define middle class as having a household income of $40,000 to $100,000 for a family of four. But that's just me.

ChiTown
01-04-2005, 01:22 PM
your nuts....40K to 90K....anything over 100K a year individually is upper class

I don't think +100K indidually would be considered upper class. Classes are generally defined by Net Worth, not annual salaries. fyi

DenverChief
01-04-2005, 01:23 PM
How do you distinguish between middle and upper class?

they type of house/neighborhood you live in and the type of car you drive as well as personal income

ChiTown
01-04-2005, 01:23 PM
That's just profit, isn't it?


I get a profit ("owner's return") plus a bonus if my company does well. I get a bonus because all of our employees do, and I'm an employee. I get the profit because, well, I'm the man.

Good year this year. Good year. :thumb:

Yes, but I'm a company of 1.
:)

DenverChief
01-04-2005, 01:24 PM
I don't think +100K indidually would be considered upper class. Classes are generally defined by Net Worth, not annual salaries. fyi

this is true but you can live comfortably at 100K a year but most people choose to live above thier means so they think that 100K a year is "middle class"

ChiTown
01-04-2005, 01:28 PM
this is true but you can live comfortably at 100K a year but most people choose to live above thier means so they think that 100K a year is "middle class"

NO argument there. No matter how much more money I make each year, I generally don't get much further ahead. Damn wife has expensive tastes........ :deevee:

MOhillbilly
01-04-2005, 01:29 PM
I read a thing on here that said anything over 16k was lower middle class made me feel good about being poor.

Hoover
01-04-2005, 01:31 PM
this is true but you can live comfortably at 100K a year but most people choose to live above thier means so they think that 100K a year is "middle class"
so "Middle Class" means I have enought money to get by, but I can't have everything I want?

DenverChief
01-04-2005, 01:40 PM
so "Middle Class" means I have enought money to get by, but I can't have everything I want?

:LOL: people think they need Cable/sat TV, internet access, a brand new 35K vehicle, and a 5 bedroom house in the westport area....when in reality they could live without the cable tv/internet, drive a used vehicle that is just as nice as a brand new one and live in a 3 bedroom house in shawnee mission.....live within your means...

Amnorix
01-04-2005, 01:45 PM
I remember reading somewhere that something like 85% of Americans thought they were "middle class". By definition that's impossible.

I'm in agreement iwth Rain Man. $40K-$100K for a family of four is roughly middle class. Once you're past $100K in income, you're moving into lower upper class, or somesuch.

ENDelt260
01-04-2005, 01:47 PM
Shouldn't there be some manner of "official" classifications out there somewhere?

ENDelt260
01-04-2005, 01:48 PM
Shouldn't there be some manner of "official" classifications out there somewhere?
Well, I guess the Census doesn't define it...

https://ask.census.gov/cgi-bin/askcensus.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_sid=bEAT1Juh&p_lva=&p_faqid=615&p_created=1091641812&p_sp=cF9zcmNoPTEmcF9ncmlkc29ydD0mcF9yb3dfY250PTMmcF9zZWFyY2hfdGV4dD1taWRkbGUgY2xhc3MmcF9wYWdlPTE*&p_li=

Amnorix
01-04-2005, 01:49 PM
Shouldn't there be some manner of "official" classifications out there somewhere?

None that I have seen. The government is willing to categorize "poverty", because it kind of has to, but it seems to want to stay away from "middle class".

I also spent a fair bit of time once about a year ago (while trying to find data relating to some argument on this board) trying to find out how many American households made X income, how many made Y, etc. You'd think the census bureau or someone would publish this kind of data. If so, I failed to find it.

Amnorix
01-04-2005, 01:51 PM
Well, I guess the Census doesn't define it...

https://ask.census.gov/cgi-bin/askcensus.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_sid=bEAT1Juh&p_lva=&p_faqid=615&p_created=1091641812&p_sp=cF9zcmNoPTEmcF9ncmlkc29ydD0mcF9yb3dfY250PTMmcF9zZWFyY2hfdGV4dD1taWRkbGUgY2xhc3MmcF9wYWdlPTE*&p_li=

I don't remember if I found this before or not, but I remember seeing something similar to it which I decided was not exactly "user-friendly", at least for trying to quickly pull data for an internet BB argument. :)

cdcox
01-04-2005, 01:56 PM
None that I have seen. The government is willing to categorize "poverty", because it kind of has to, but it seems to want to stay away from "middle class".

I also spent a fair bit of time once about a year ago (while trying to find data relating to some argument on this board) trying to find out how many American households made X income, how many made Y, etc. You'd think the census bureau or someone would publish this kind of data. If so, I failed to find it.


You suck at google:


http://www.census.gov/hhes/income/histinc/h01ar.html

HC_Chief
01-04-2005, 01:58 PM
Median US salary not too long ago was 40k.

I consider middle class between 35 and 150k. Once you pass the combined salary of 150k .per year, you're entering into 'lower upper class' (150-500). Anything greater than 500k annually = wealthy.

That scale applies ONLY to people who actually work for their money. Anyone who lives off of interest accumulated from holdings, that doesn't qualify for retirement or disability, = stinking rich :D

Rain Man
01-04-2005, 01:59 PM
Well, I guess the Census doesn't define it...

https://ask.census.gov/cgi-bin/askcensus.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_sid=bEAT1Juh&p_lva=&p_faqid=615&p_created=1091641812&p_sp=cF9zcmNoPTEmcF9ncmlkc29ydD0mcF9yb3dfY250PTMmcF9zZWFyY2hfdGV4dD1taWRkbGUgY2xhc3MmcF9wYWdlPTE*&p_li=

To some extent, I think they don't define it because it varies so strongly by locale and by family size. It's not a number, it's an array.

The guv'mint tends to work a lot on "Percent of Area Median Income" and they really don't care a lot about people who are above the median, so there's really no upper end classifications that even exist.

Amnorix
01-04-2005, 01:59 PM
If I read this one right:

http://ferret.bls.census.gov/macro/032004/hhinc/new05_000.htm


then the "middle fifth" quintile (i.e. those making 40-60% more than everyone else, which would be roughly the "middle") has a minimum household income of $34,000. The second highest fifth has a minimum income of $54,000 per household.

So I guess an "average" household in America makes $34K-54K per year. As far as I can tell, that doesn't consider the number of members in the household or anything.

The top 5% in income in 2003 made a minimum of a little over $150K.

So the $40K-250K range for "middle class" is absurdly high on the high end, as that reaches into the top 5% of household income in America.

I welcome anyone to tell me that I'm misreading these incredibly user-friendly *cough* tables...

ChiTown
01-04-2005, 02:00 PM
You suck at google:


http://www.census.gov/hhes/income/histinc/h01ar.html

Cool, thanks.

If that's true, that seems really out of whack to me that the lower level of the top 5% is at $154K (household income). I'd have guessed significantly higher.......

Pants
01-04-2005, 02:00 PM
There are such things as lower and upper and middle classes. It's all relative, IMO. I have yet to see a good definition of middle class.

Amnorix
01-04-2005, 02:01 PM
Median US salary not too long ago was 40k.

I consider middle class between 35 and 150k. Once you pass the combined salary of 150k .per year, you're entering into 'lower upper class' (150-500). Anything greater than 500k annually = wealthy.

That scale applies ONLY to people who actually work for their money. Anyone who lives off of interest accumulated from holdings, that doesn't qualify for retirement or disability, = stinking rich :D

Note that you're insane. The census info posted tells us that $150K plus per year in income is only achieved by about 5% of American households. That ain't middle class... I'm not saying it's filthy rich, but it ain't middle class...

Amnorix
01-04-2005, 02:03 PM
Cool, thanks.

If that's true, that seems really out of whack to me that the lower level of the top 5% is at $154K (household income). I'd have guessed significantly higher.......

Note that the data may be extrapolated from tax return data, which is significantly underreported across all income groups.

ChiTown
01-04-2005, 02:03 PM
Note that you're insane. The census info posted tells us that $150K plus per year in income is only achieved by about 5% of American households. That ain't middle class... I'm not saying it's filthy rich, but it ain't middle class...

That number isn't middle class. It's the top 5% of all household incomes, right?

Donger
01-04-2005, 02:04 PM
I'd define middle class as collective household income of between $50K to around $90K, adjusted for CoL of course.

HC_Chief
01-04-2005, 02:07 PM
150k <i>combined</i> income <> middle class? BS. If I make 80k and my wife makes 70k, we're at the top of the 'upper middle class' spectrum, IMO.

Rain Man
01-04-2005, 02:08 PM
If I read this one right:

http://ferret.bls.census.gov/macro/032004/hhinc/new05_000.htm


Wow. There are 106,000 households that have no wage earners, yet make more than $154,000 per year. And I'm not related to a damn one of them.

stevieray
01-04-2005, 02:14 PM
It's all perception.

That said, I wish we were 'categorized' by our self worth, instead of net worth.

ChiTown
01-04-2005, 02:15 PM
150k <i>combined</i> income <> middle class? BS. If I make 80k and my wife makes 70k, we're at the top of the 'upper middle class' spectrum, IMO.

That is correct based on that scale provide by Amno. What's amazing to me is that is so low. I would have guessed it (top 5%) to be significantly higher ($175+ range). Why? Well, primarily because we are talking household income, and many couple's work. I'd say it's fairly common to find 2 people that work to a combined $150K level in one family. Hell, but how would I know. My wife stopped working years ago :banghead:

stevieray
01-04-2005, 02:16 PM
If I make 80k and my wife makes 70k, we're at the top of the 'upper middle class' spectrum, IMO.

Hell yes, if "you" can't live well on that, you don't deserve to.

ChiTown
01-04-2005, 02:16 PM
It's all perception.

That said, I wish we were 'categorized' by our self worth, instead of net worth.

:thumb:

Yes, what a wonderful world it would be.......

HC_Chief
01-04-2005, 02:18 PM
I'd say it's fairly common to find 2 people that work to a combined $150K level in one family

Common, but not the norm.

HC_Chief
01-04-2005, 02:19 PM
Hell yes, if "you" can't live well on that, you don't deserve to.
That was rhetorical, I wish it were reality :D
Perhaps one day; when the kids are older and she gets a job.....

Amnorix
01-04-2005, 02:25 PM
That number isn't middle class. It's the top 5% of all household incomes, right?

Right. $154K+ = top 5% of American household income.

Amnorix
01-04-2005, 02:27 PM
Common, but not the norm.

Common for a bunch of people that hang out at THIS internet BB, I guess. Since only 5% of American households earn this much, it is neither common nor the norm across all of American society.

Rain Man
01-04-2005, 02:30 PM
This begs the question: what did William Bartee make this year?

HC_Chief
01-04-2005, 02:33 PM
Common for a bunch of people that hang out at THIS internet BB, I guess. Since only 5% of American households earn this much, it is neither common nor the norm across all of American society.

Don't hate the playa cause he got game :p

Amnorix
01-04-2005, 02:45 PM
Don't hate the playa cause he got game :p

I'm on this board too.... :)

chiefs4me
01-04-2005, 05:34 PM
:LOL: people think they need Cable/sat TV, internet access, a brand new 35K vehicle, and a 5 bedroom house in the westport area....when in reality they could live without the cable tv/internet, drive a used vehicle that is just as nice as a brand new one and live in a 3 bedroom house in shawnee mission.....live within your means...


WOW,, it's a good thing you mentioned westport. I at first thought you were stalking my neighborhood. ROFL

Rausch
01-04-2005, 05:49 PM
so "Middle Class" means I have enought money to get by, but I can't have everything I want?

I'd say that's a fair definition.

2bikemike
01-04-2005, 05:51 PM
Our household income is between 100-150K. We are middle class. When you start getting to 200k I would say your moving from middle class.

I think somebody hit it on the head when they said you have to take in your Locality.

I definately live in a middle class neighborhood. We have fairly nice vehicles but nothing overly extravagant.

If I were to take my wages and say move to KC I am sure I could have a much nicer house. I would pay a lot more in heating and cooling bills though. And I tend to think that the tax bills are higher for what you have than what I currently pay. At least in Wyandotte county where my brother is.


And by the way the 40% bonus's I only know of one person who ever gets that kind of bonus and she's a VP at a bank. Myself I have probably averaged about 14% over the last 12 years or so. I think our highest was about 21% and the lowest was about 12%, We have been pretty consistent in the 14% range.

Rain Man
01-04-2005, 08:09 PM
When you consider the big picture, all Americans except maybe the bottom five percent are probably still more affluent than 80 percent of the world, because they've got electricity, indoor plumbing, usually a car, a phone, and all sorts of other modern trappings.

RedNeckRaider
01-04-2005, 08:13 PM
"What is your notion of middle class?"
Uh.....thats them fellas that live in them fancy houses with the concrete ponds in the backyard