Spending Habits of the Blue Collar Wealthy

There are blue collar jobs that pay over $100K/yr (for example). To the extent this has been studied by those who care (such as marketers) are their spending habits in general similar to white collar workers with similar income, or to other blue collar workers with less?

I’ll say it depends on the person like most things. I’ve known lots of contractors and skilled trade’s guys who are pretty indistinguishable from other middle class people in their taste and spending habits.

Then there are what I call the “redneck yuppies”. They are likely to spend lots on pickups, hot rods, Harleys, bass boats, 4-wheelers, hunting gear, guns, etc. This is especially pronounced among young single guys who get a good job such as on the Bakken oil fields and go hog wild.

In Australia, particularly the state of Western Australia, the mining boom created the phenomenon of the “cashed up bogan”.


Some think this is a socio-economic construct, I think it’s more Darwinian.

If you can equate white collar workers with college graduates there is likely a difference in spending habits, although I don’t know how significant it would be. According to thismore college graduates own their home, which would mean they would be buying stuff that a renter likely wouldn’t be.

I’m betting they buy big pickup trucks instead of a BMW or Mercedes. (And fully loaded, those can cost pretty close to the same…)

That’s true, not only because of the cultural factors but also because most highly paid tradespeople are self-employed to some extent, and so the expensive nicely-optioned truck makes a really good tax write off.

I think this is as unenlightened as the view that all black people are gang bangers and all white men were in a fraternity even though these are only very small, and far from universally respected or well liked, subsets of the larger population.

The general view is that a highly paid, but poorly educated person who comes from a poor socio-economic background will waste their money on frivolities. I know of no evidence to support this impression and suspect that well educated people from upper class backgrounds are just as likely to throw their money away.

There is an old saying from the North of England - From clogs to clogs in three generations. Meaning that Grandfather slogged away building a business; son improved on that and grandson threw it all away.

We are talking popular culture and you want to chuck a U-ey at the lights and talk about enlightenment?

The OP isn’t talking about pop-culture, I have no idea exactly what you are talking about.

While 100K/year is certainly a nice salary, such wage earners (whether white collar or blue) are generally in a different category from those I’d call “wealthy”.

I met a Polack miner who moved to Australia. He told me, “Those engineers, they have no money. Me, I own a sports car. And I have a big house!”

Yes, I knew quite a few tradesmen who were fairly frugal. Earning $100,000 (or past years equivalent) and living like they earned $40,000, they could amass a tidy bundle. Some came from Europe and were old enough to remember the war from their childhood, and knew the prudence of saving money instead of spending. In one town, quite a number of these tradesmen had secure jobs during a downturn and bought up the houses of the les fortunate labourers for cheap. When things picked up, they more than tripled their money reselling these houses, and until then renting them paid the mortgage. If their kids went to college out of town, they’d buy a house nearby, pay their kids a salary to manage it, and sell it for a profit when the kids graduated. They knew all the investment angles. By the time they retired, they had over a million in the bank… but you couldn’t tell them from the people who lived paycheque to paycheque.

However, what’s the point? “Whoever dies with the biggest bank balance wins”? There’s got to be a healthy tradeoff between spending it all now and having no fun whatsoever.

If you were a continental European and had money saved up before the war you had a very good chance of losing it. That experience made such people not trust saving money.

I don’t know that anyone spends on frivolities, I think that in the milieu of each socioeconomic class different status symbols apply. Everybody wants to belong, and there are different gatekeepers for the different classes.

Here’s a quote from an article found here.

Somewhere on here there’s an active thread about things that were formerly tacky, and now are not, and people were making a fuss about folks not dressing up for the ballet. It’s the same sense of wanting to appear as if you belong to the group. We all do it, but the ticket for admission seems silly to those that don’t belong to that group, so the spending habits of the blue collar wealthy look wrong, because in some cases they continue to buy the tickets for admission to a group they no longer belong to, and haven’t figured out the status symbols required for their new group.

When I see someone carrying a Coach (or Dooney and Burke, or similar) handbag with the designer’s initials as part of the design, my tacky-meter goes off.

Tacky screams, “Lookit me! I have a COACH BAG!” Non-tacky might own a Coach bag, but it isn’t the initial print. It’s a plain leather bag that will last forever with good care.

And that sums up the spending habits, pretty much.

Born poor is not really blue collar - it’s just plain poor. On the whole blue collar is far closer to white collar than straight up poor IME.

commemorative plates and old cars that “ran when parked,” at least if Jeff Foxworthy is to be believed.

Redneck =/= blue collar. Dear god what gives with all the ignorant stereotyping in this thread?

granted this is a GQ thread, but I felt enough serious responses had been given to the point where I could try to inject a little levity. I don’t know where you are from, but Jeff Foxworthy and cohorts have made quite a living off of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour.