We are… Affluent?

According to one of the blogs that I read,  60% of all taxpayers in America make under a certain amount of money a year per family.   We do not fall in this category.  I have to admit that I was a little surprised to see us in the upper 40% of family income for American taxpayers.  We are not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination but here we sit in the upper income bracket.  We live in a particularly expensive part of the US so your dollar does not stretch as far as it could.  I suppose we would be feeling wealthier if our dollar went further.

It is not very often that I feel affluent.  I look at our house and see the TV and sink that needs to be replaced.  I see the re-tiling that needs to be done in the bathroom and feel the cold air in the winter that comes in through a balcony door that doesn’t quite shut properly.  I think of how nice it would be to straighten my teeth or highlight my hair or take a trip to Peru.. or… or …. or

But if I look around,  we have the TV and the satellite dish, our internet, our cupboards full of food, electricity for A/C, washer and dryer, clothes on our back, roof over our head and nice cars in the parking lot.  If having everything you need and some of what you want is affluent, then we are affluent.  So why aren’t I feeling it as I pay the bills?

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3 responses to “We are… Affluent?

  1. I’d saying having everything you need and some of what you want is "affluent," and certainly in the upper 40% of the US.

  2. You know, its weird.  our family falls into that category as well.  I have to wonder… how can that be?  In NC I could drive 10 minutes in 3 different directions and see huge subdivisions full of very expensive houses, with very expensive cars parked in front of them.  The cost of living is so much higher here in WA that I don’t have suitable comaprisions yet.  If my family is in the top 40%, then what percentile are those people in?  And where are all of the lower-percentile people?  I just don’t understand it.
     
    Don’t get me wrong, I am VERY grateful to be in the position I am in, but after the bills and saving for retirement, there’s not much left at the end of the month.  I must be living in a suburban "bubble" and just don’t see the situations in the lower percentiles.

  3. The lower percentile people are in neighborhoods and areas of town into which you do not routinely go.  In my old neighborhood, I never saw the people in the big houses with expensive cars.  I was affluent in comparison to my neighbors because I had a car that wasn’t 6-10 years old (and in many cases because I actually had a car). Plus, I was living in a 2 BR apartment with just me, my, dog and cat, and many of my neighbors were in 2 or 3 bedrooms with 3,4,5 people. I often had to feed my neighbor’s children before school and lend out my computer to other neighborhood children who were given school assignments to complete on computers they didn’t have and their parents were either working during library hours or didn’t own cars to get their kids there.  It’s easy to forget how good you have it and how bad so many others do when you don’t have to stare it in the face every day.  Also, keep in mind that, according to the US census website, the population of America is 305,208,812.  40% of that is still 122,083,530 people.  It’s no wonder you don’t see the "situations in the lower percentiles" unless you go looking for them.  You are more than welcome to come live with me any day.  Or better yet, spend a week in the home of my teenage at-risk mentee–really nice neighborhood. 😉

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