Here's another one I've failed - "Have you transitioned to middle-class?"

Six signs you’ve made it to middle class, article here.

  1. Home ownership

  2. Automobile ownership

  3. College education for your kids

  4. Retirement security

  5. Health care coverage

  6. Family vacation

  7. Well, I’ve got that one. I owned my own home when I got married, now hubs and I own this one. Pass.

  8. I’m not sure this one belongs in the list - I got my first car when I was 14. Pass.

  9. Mixed bag. I’ve got one college grad so far (out of 4 kids). I had to get parent loans, so it’s not like I paid for it outright. I’m putting “fail” on this one.

  10. Hmm. I used to have a 401k, had to dip into it when times were tough. Fail.

  11. What insurance I have is overpriced and the coverage is laughable. Fail.

  12. We can’t afford this either. Fail.

Two out of six for me. :-/

How about you?

Don’t own a house. Don’t want to own a house. Content with renting. I’m not even bothered that I don’t “measure up” when it comes to this.

I have my own car. It’s a 16-year old jalopey, but it runs (searches madly for wood to knock on).

I have a retirement savings plan and health insurance through my employer. I want to set up an IRA as a supplement. I’m waiting till my savings are substantial enough before setting it up, though.

Don’t have kids, don’t plan on having any, so the college fund is irrelevant to me. However, my parents did not have much, if any, of a college fund for me, and they are hardly poor. Many families expect their kids to pony up for their own college educations, especially with all the loan programs, scholarships, and things called jobs out there. If I did have a kid, I would certainly help with school expenses, just as my father did (he paid dorm expenses, then rent for an off-campus apartment that I shared with my sister). But as soon as he or she had hit high school, I would have been telling them they had better do well on the pre-SAT and get good grades, so they would be in the running for scholarships. I’d also be encouraging them to write essays for every organization offering scholarships. If they can’t summon up enough moxy to at least try to get money, then they aren’t college material anyway.

Family vacation. Pretty difficult to do without a family (of your own making). But I am taking a four day vacation to California in October–the first of its kind for me. So I guess that’s something to cheer for. Yay me.

So I hit everything except one (I’m not counting the college fund thing). So I feel pretty good about where I stand.

  1. no
  2. yes, since I was 18
  3. I don’t have a husband or kids yet so n/a
  4. best case scenario retirement is literally half a lifetime away, so no
  5. no :frowning:
  6. given my answer to 3, obviously no or n/a
    So, based on these benchmarks, particularly #3 which wants to know about your obviously grown children people aren’t middle-class until they’re middle-aged too? Pretty stupid benchmarking system, then.
  1. Yes
  2. Yes
  3. I don’t have kids
  4. A bit early for that, I still got like 30 years of working ahead of me. I probably could retire if I sold everything and moved to a cheaper country tho… but I dun wanna.
  5. Yes, times 2; national healthcare, and a full coverage private insurance.
  6. No family either
  1. Nope. Neither does the parent who I’m living with.
  2. Nope.
  3. I plan on attending college but haven’t yet. So that’s a no for the parent I’m living with, too.
  4. Nope. Neither does the parent who I’m living with.
  5. Nope. The parent I’m living with does, though.
  6. Nope. We exist paycheck to paycheck.
  1. Home ownership
  2. Automobile ownership
  3. College education for your kids
  4. Retirement security
  5. Health care coverage
  6. Family vacation
    Dang, I lose. College education and retirement are still iffy, family vacation? Ha! Maybe next year, but I’ve been saying that for 3 years now.

ATM I’m just grateful we’ve got 1,2, and 5.

I’ve got #2, but it’s broken. :frowning:

That’s okay. I’m making a comeback.

  1. Home ownership

Yes, we should have the house paid off in about 7 years

  1. Automobile ownership
    Yes, my family of 6 people collectively own one vehicle.

  2. College education for your kids

Well, my 4 little dudes are too young to have accomplished that, the oldest is 13, but I think we should be able to swing it, as long as they all go to local state schools.
4. Retirement security

This is a hard one. I don’t think we have accomplished this or even come close. I hope we end up okay, but it seems a long way off yet.

  1. Health care coverage

Yes, we have excellent benefits though my husband’s work. We have health and dental coverage (a good thing with one in braces and another needing teeth pulled soon)

  1. Family vacation

Yes to this one too. We got back recently from 2 weeks in Northern California, and earlier this year we took the family to Disney. But we drive whenever possible and stay in the cheapest hotels.

I’m middle class! Well, except for the retirement thing, but I’m hoping that will magically appear with time.

  1. I don’t own a home, and never plan to.
  2. Not at the moment. I still owe a few thousand on it.
  3. No kids, and I only graduated high school.
  4. I think I have a 401(k) through my employer, but I doubt I’ll ever get to retire, anyway.
  5. I have medical, dental, and vision coverage through work.
  6. I get up to two weeks of PTO a year and often travel, but it’s by myself to visit friends. No family invited.


I’ve hit all six milestones (although my child is still a baby, so college savings is not much yet).

So I’m solidly middle class.

  1. Home ownership
  2. Automobile ownership
    15 year old Escort, but it is paid for.
  3. College education for your kids
    No kids
  4. Retirement security
    savings, but not enough
  5. Health care coverage
  6. Family vacation

Four out of 6

  1. renter all my adult life, have no interest in home ownership, don’t give a flying eff if someone else looks down on me for that.

  2. Own two vehicles, both entirely paid off.

  3. Do not have kids, will not have kids, not applicable

  4. HA! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Well, OK, I have a pension coming from a former employer (assuming that’s still around in 25 years!) and social security (now you’re laughing, right?) but seriously, how am I supposed to save for retirement when I can’t reliably pay my rent these days?

  5. We actually have health care coverage despite being dirt poor

  6. Used to travel on family vacations at least once yearly when I had the nice corporate job. Now we stay home and watch movies. Well, I do travel to see family, but then I stay at their house.

That’s what, 3 of 6? Well, I know I’m not middle class right now. Frankly, I’m poor right now. But three years ago I was middle class and had been for about 15-20 years.

All but 3. No kids. I’d probably then have to sacrifice 6, so then I wouldn’t be middle class anymore? Or maybe it depends of the definition of “vacation”? To me a vacation is when we spend a lot of money to go someplace we couldn’t easily go to, so then I’d fail #6. But if it means going camping/canoeing for a week or two, then I guess we’d still be middle class.

Well, I’m getting close, I think.

  1. Home ownership
    Done. I have a 160 year old farmhouse and 14 acres

  2. Automobile ownership
    Done. I own a 12 year old station wagon with 170K miles, but it’s mine outright.

  3. College education for your kids
    No kids.

  4. Retirement security
    Give fully to my 401K, which is matched by my employer, plus some other savings. And my mortgage will be paid off in about 7 years.

  5. Health care coverage
    Very good insurance through my employer.

  6. Family vacation
    I sometimes take vacations to visit family, but it’s hard to get away with 13 animals to be cared for.


1.Yup, mrAru and I have a mortgage, almost paid off after 20 years here.
2.Have owned a car since I bought my first [Nash Metropolitan] at he age of 16
3.No kids. I took a dog to obedience training once, can that count?
4.Sort of, I guess it all depends on if we have another mega crash or not.
5.mrAru got us coverage thanks to being career Navy.
6.Yup, we now do a Caribbean cruise in Feb every year, and are going to be adding a flash short vacation to Europe every summer as long as prices stay reasonable.

Does it count if you sent your kids to school but they screwed it up?

So the childfree can’t be adults and can’t be middle class. I guess I’m doomed to be a lower-class adolescent for life. (It’s working out for me so far.)

I’m a “yes” on the other five, though.

  1. Nope. Live cheap, I say. I will have a cheap, very low maintenance house built someday out in the country(city taxes suck) someday. But not yet.
  2. I buy 1 payment wonders. 2-4k for a car will yield something that’ll last you 5 years or more, well maintained.
  3. No kids. If I ever have them, they have my blessing to join the military like I did for the GI bill.
  4. Socking away 2/3 of my pay after taxes.
  5. Comes with the job.
  6. Not really all that big on vacations. Downside of being single, I suppose. Seeing stuff just isn’t all that interesting by yourself.
  1. Home ownership - owned my first house at 20. Paid off my current home at 39.

  2. Automobile ownership - yes, since I was 18

  3. College education for your kids - yes, they aren’t teens, but there is savings to cover it

  4. Retirement security - yes - still investing, but on track to exceed the base goal

  5. Health care coverage - yes, through work. We both work and both our employers offer coverage, so if one of us looses a job, we will continue to have decent coverage.

  6. Family vacation - just got back yesterday from a week at Disneyworld.

I was raised middle class though, which makes it easier to transition to middle class. My husband was raised “aspiring middle class” - his parents divorced though and that put a wrinkle into his situation.

Got all six.

I don’t see “automobile ownership” as much of a criterion for middle class these days - I would add “for each adult in the household”.

I live in a middle class subdivision in an area of middle class subdvisions. I would say that most people I know meet all six and qualify for “multiple” on autos and vacations. And quite a few (but not I) have more than one home - either vacation home or rental property.