I just read an article about the “Middle Class” which offered six bench marks to determine whether or not you’ve made it. I never liked the term “middle class” because it infers if one is not “middle class”, they must be either “high class” or “low class”. The term is offensive to me, but it seems we are persuaded that it epitomizes the American Dream.
The six measurements are listed here, with my own evaluations:
Everyone dreams of owning their home, don’t they? Well, no. I know many people who rent and seem to be happy with their choice. Who says we can’t be living the dream if we rent? By the way, home “ownership” is a bit misleading. Take a look at the mortgage that most “middle class home owners” have. If yours is not the only name on it, you might not be “middle class”.
Cars are an integral measurement of success. I am willing to bet that one of the first thing many people do after landing that high paying job is to “purchase” a new vehicle, to show others how successful they are. It’s almost a knee-jerk reaction. But do you “own” it, free and clear? If not, you might not be “middle class”.
College Education for the Kids
It’s nice to be able to tuck some money aside for the kids’ college education, but let’s face it. Most families can’t scrounge up several thousands of dollars for the yearly tuition for one kid, let alone two or three, so unless you can peel off a paid in full check each September, I guess you haven’t reached that “middle class” milestone just yet.
Notice the fourth step to “middle classdom” reads “retirement security” as opposed to “social security”. I assume that means a big chunk of change that one can comfortably live on without depending on a supplemental income. If people can afford to faithfully set aside funds for retirement these days, they already are “middle class”. If not, I guess you’re still in the “low class” category, bucko.
Health Care Coverage
I don’t know why this one is even listed as a sign of being “middle class”. As I understand it, we’re all going to be covered at a minuscule cost while still having the finest possible care available to each and every one of us. My government said so. No class distinction here, thank God.
The article stated that the vacation shows that the family has disposable income. Well, I can say from experience that many of my vacations were in part thanks to the generosity of my credit card company. Who brings a pocketful of disposable cash income on vacation? And more importantly, who pays the residual in full upon return? I bet this one knocks a lot of “middle class” socks off.
So, I guess I’m just a “low class” slob, according to benchmarks laid out for reaching the American “middle class” dream. I’m in damn good company, though, and that being the case, I would say to those who presume to judge the qualifications of living the dream, get off your materialistic soapbox and enjoy the simple things in life. That’s what real dreams are made of.