Do you have mixed socioeconomics in your family?

Are you significantly richer or poorer than your parents, siblings, aunts/uncles, and cousins?

Is there someone else in your family who is the financial outlier?

How do mixed income levels complicate family matters? Or do they?

I have it somewhat in my family, but I haven’t given it much thought until now. My twin and I are “professionals” and make a good living for ourselves (it helps that neither of us have children, though). Our older brother and sister work in the blue-collar jobs (truck driver and baggage handler, respectively) and they are also doing okay. However, my brother’s ex-wife comes from a well-heeled family and she is also a “professional”, so his children enjoy an upper middle-class upbringing that screams “bougie” compared to how my family came up. Very nice house, fancy private schooling, preppy clothing, etc. Their cousins–my sister’s kids–are much more “regular” middle-class. I don’t think the kids are aware enough to have insecurities or weird feelings about it. But I know my sister is troubled by the fact that our ex-sister-in-law is always weird about letting her kids hang out with their aunt and cousins. I’m sure ex-s-i-l has her reasons, but my sister thinks it’s nothing but snootiness. If the class difference didn’t exist between them, I’m sure my sister wouldn’t feel this way.

We’re all middle-income. The only one of my siblings with a much lower income than the rest has a) a sometime drug problem and b) an ex-wife.

My husband’s extended family is universally highly educated - everyone has a college degree and many people have advanced degrees. In my extended family, there are a lot more people who stopped school after high school. There are certainly differences in the types of things we talk about at family gatherings. With my husband’s family, there will be a lot more discussion about work and travel. With my extended family, the stories are more about that one time that person said that funny thing.

I wouldn’t say there’s any tension, though.

We’re everywhere from dirt poor to upper middle class right now (we used to all be middle-middle-class to upper middle class but then the Great Recession hit). It doesn’t seem to mess up the family gatherings much, but the really poor end of the spectrum tends to have a lot of stress going on all the time revolving around lack of money, my my sister the doctor, the upper middle class one, I think is somewhat terrified she’ll wind up being asked to support everyone else, thus dragging her down.

Yes, in my house we are well paid professional/managerial. The kids went to private school, and university. Whereas for both of us, the wider family is more working class and below. Curiously, much of the younger generation is doing the university thing and being very successful. It seems like earlier generations just didn’t see it as an option the way we do now.

Everyone in my and my husband’s extended family would undoubtedly describe themselves as middle class. In truth, however, my extended family is primarily working poor, with some members floating into lower middle and back down again on a regular basis. My husband’s family is lower middle class to middle class, with teachers, cops, nurses and factory workers (retired mostly).

My husband and I make, comparatively, a lot of money, which we are not upfront about at all with our family. I currently make 4 times what my mom made at her final job, and my husband makes about twice what I make. We never talk about money with our families. I don’t know how my family would react. When we visit them we stay in what I would consider a mid-range hotel, but which they all think is super fancy. That’s just one example of the discrepancy I know exists between what they can afford and what we can afford. On the other hand, it makes it easier to dissemble and claim we can’t afford to visit for X event.

My parents and I are at the top of the family food chain, squarely middle class. Dad’s one brother and sister are at the same level. No one has a degree except me and one cousin (out of 6).

Everyone else, on mom’s side and including dad’s brother and his family, are either working poor or on disability. We have bad hearts and crazy heads.

My brother married a woman who came from money, except there is no more money left, but they keep doing things like having very expensive weddings and buying china and china cabinets and fancy shoes for toddlers. There is crazy family drama at every turn. It’s very hard for us to follow along.

We just sort of ignore their hoity-toityness and judge everyone on how they treat us, which is well enough.

Most of my family I would describe as working poor/low middle class, with a couple downright impoverished. My husband is upper middle class, though his family wasn’t. So that makes us the “rich” ones, which is awkward. I feel guilty that we have a nice house, travel, and go to restaurants, while my brother lives in a decrepit trailer and is frequently unemployed.

Every Christmas, when the whole family exchanges useless knick-knacks and gift certificates of equal value with each other, I want to propose that we stop the gift-giving silliness, but it just wouldn’t sound good coming from me.

My wife and I make more than all our siblings (8) and cousins combined.
We escaped working poor and are the only college educated in both our families.

My parents both come from upper middle class. But compared to their siblings, they did worse.

Probably because they divorced (it is amazing what staying married will do for your solvency) and my dad was more into idealism then into a career.

There are some big differences in income between my wife’s kids (they were all grown and independent before she and I married). They’re pretty much looking at a spread of 30k, 90k and 400k a year in income.

There is no general problem socializing, but there have been a few cases where the lower income folks felt like their higher-income sibling had some kind of obligation to bail them out. He’s been generous in some ways, but makes it very clear that money is money and family is family and the two do not intermingle. (After all, they’re all essentially reaping the results of their choices. The high-earner was the only one to finish college, for example, and the only one where both spouses are bringing in real money.)

Sometimes money is the subject of the annual holiday squabbles, but they’ll use any excuse to do that. One year, two of them started a feud because one didn’t say “Hi” quickly enough to the other at a party. :smack:

There is a pretty big range just between siblings in my family. My older sister is a social worker, her pay is not all that much higher than the impoverished people she serves. My older brother and his wife are both lawyers, my brother makes very good money with a top Boston firm, my sister in used to work at a larger firm but opted to make less at a less demanding job. I am middle income working as a specialty contractor. My younger brother is a supervisor with Home Depot, he had tied finances with his partner putting them in lower middle income. My younger sister has had issues and is working her way out of poverty she is a dog groomer now and is doing pretty well At it. If not for her debt her income would put her in the lower middle class.

Thus far income disparity has not caused any issues. All of us tend to be private about or finances. I tend to have the best knowledge of any given person. The previous family dynamic was if anyone needed economic support they’d hit up my father. With my father’s recent passing and me as the inheritor of the family business I’ve pretty much taken on that role. This is bound to change as I’d like to keep what I earn unlike my father. I’ll see how much animosity if any the change in family dynamic causes.

My sister in law(the lawyer) is the organizer for family gatherings. Pretty much everything is hosted at her house with them taking on most the cost for food and such. She is very good about delegating responsibilities within people’s means to ensure everyone feels included. Such as knowing my schedule normally she’ll ask me to bring drinks both alcoholic and non because she knows I have no issues just spending money to buy what is needed without in curing a large time burden. While she may ask one of my sisters Who are both capable cooks to bring a prepared desert as it’s minimal cost but does require some time.

My brothers house where things are hosted is very modest compared to their income. It is in a very nice town. It’s not intimidating to anyone to show up there.

My brother is a millionaire. He took business administration at university then went to University of North Carolina for his MBA. Headed out to Bay Street to do finance stuff and made a ton.

The rest of us are solidly middle class. He used to do stuff like give us all $20,000 for Christmas until mom made him stop.

But MO-OM! :eek:

Both my wife and I come from very large families, so we have a pretty broad spectrum. A lot of people on various forms of social assistance, a bunch of middle to upper middle class, and a few multi-millionaires.

However, the spread in lifestyle is not nearly as broad as the spread in actual income/assets. This is mostly because the multi-millionares are from an older generation, who grew up lower middle class and never adopted a wealthier lifestyle. The younger generation tends to live more in accordance with their incomes but they are not the real rich ones.

My extended family is fairly close in range of salary, all professions, middle manger, or sales but not in lifestyle.
There is a whole branch of “California Upper Middle class” Who live in debt, remortgage out any equity they ever build, but have new cars every 3 years, and redo the kitchen in the hot style at the time every 5 years etc. But more tragically two whole families never saved a sent to help their kids with college(or emphasize education at all) or retirement.

I’m on the boring, live within your means, max 401k, buy what is needed, and save, save, save! side of the family.

I predict a vast divergence in the next couple generations.

We all hover in the middle class range. My brother and his wife are both social workers = lower middle class in Lexington Ky.

My sister is a teacher at a private school, but her husband is a very high up at IBM = upper middle class in Lexington Ky.

My husband and I are both lawyers = upper middle class in Northern Virginia.

My parents are retired (Dad was career military, but 20 plus in the private sector, and my mom was a career secretary) = comfortably middle class in Hampton Va.

Everyone is college educated, owns their respective homes, and is savings minded. So we tend to go cheap on family get togethers and vacations. We are on a perpetual family austerity program.

But there is no tension. Maybe the occasional unaired jealousy. But no tension.

In my mother’s family, it’s divided by gender, age of childbirth, and geographic mobility. All of the males moved away from home for high paying jobs and waited until their late 30s to have children. The females were discouraged from attending college, stayed close to home (or settled close to home at an early age), and had children early. Except one sister did not have children, had 1 bad marriage followed by 1 good one, and she did fairly well. She and her second husband both retired early from unionized labor jobs and are financially secure.

My mother and I easily have the lowest incomes and the highest IQs in our family. My wife’s family is similar. She is easily the most intelligent of her siblings and the only one with a degree. She has never had a real job. Her brother dropped out of community college and is a high level manager for a pretty big private company. Her sister is a high school grad who makes a solid middle income in a “government job.”

My mom was a VP for a fortune 500 company before she retired. A Remarkable feat for a woman to do in the 70’s and 80’s with nothing more than a HS diploma. (Apologies for the brag.)

But anyway, it’s hard to compete with the bread she was making. The rest of us are solid middle class. (blue collar)

A mix of middle-class and working class. I have one brother who is homeless. I have a couple of relatives who have retired well enough to travel frequently.
A few people in my family have held on to some well-paying job for some number of years. But they generally manage to offset that by some other bad financial choice, like getting carried away on the shopping channel, or discovering they are still on the hook for blowing off child-support obligations from the 1980s, or starting their own business when they aren’t really suited for it, that sort of thing.

I do have one cousin who has done fairly well - stable job, stable marriage, good real estate choices/timing, and wouldn’t dream of spending a single solitary penny on anything except his immediate family, so he is in good financial shape. He married into a family with more money, so he always feels a bit behind on that side.

I make decent money for my area, and haven’t done anything really stupid financially. I’m an overly conservative investor, so I have to save a lot, and thus don’t spend as much as I “could.” But I am finding it advantageous not to appear too financially together.