How Do You Define “Middle Class?”

Middle Class

The New York Times just published an interesting and important look at how four real middle-class families budget and spend their money.

As the authors note, “these stories help illustrate how a middle-class existence has fundamentally shifted over a generation.”

Of course, the financial health of America’s middle-class is highly politicized. But even after you sweep away politics, it’s clear that many families – even responsible, frugal, careful families – are stuck in survival mode. Many others are just one small accident from financial trouble. 

It’s not all bad. Some items (like food) cost less now than in the past. And some middle-income families are finding ways to thrive by cutting expenses, earning more, or benefiting from luck or family help.

Like many of you, we at Tiller are personal finance nerds. We’re always interested in how people earn and use their money. But fundamentally, we want people to feel confident and in control of their finances. And that’s why we’re making Tiller, instead of something else. 

The term “middle-class” has an emotional definition as much as a numerical or political meaning.

The Pew Research Center defines the middle-class as “having an annual household income from about two-thirds to double the national median, which translates to roughly $48,000 to $145,000 for a family of three (in 2018 dollars).”

For many, the emotional definition is all about security.

As a fellow personal finance nerd, how do you define “middle-class?” Join us in the Tiller Money Community to discuss.

I’ve also shared a couple of income calculators so you to see where you stand compared to others around you.