18 Things That Say You Are Middle Class and Not Rich

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By Jonathan Trent

While there is little doubt that middle-class people live far more comfortably than most, they often have to be a lot more careful with their finances than those considered upper-class. If you’re unsure whether this is you, here are 18 things that suggest you are middle-class and not rich. 

Bulk Buying

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One of the perks of being middle class is that you can afford memberships to stores such as Costco, where you can save money by buying groceries in bulk. While this is undeniably smart, when you’re upper class, this doesn’t cross your mind as the price of groceries just isn’t an issue! 

Having a Mortgage

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Having a mortgage is a sign of being middle class, as it means you’ve joined the property ladder but can’t afford property outright. If you go by Nasdaq statistics, most Americans will be paying off their mortgages into their early 60s, which is an obstacle that the rich just don’t have to deal with.

Shopping for Bargains

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Just because you have a little extra cash in your pocket doesn’t mean you won’t still look for bargains. Middle-class people are unlikely to throw their money around recklessly just because they want something, with unnecessary purchases being few and far between. The same can’t be said for the rich, however!

Wearing Nice but Practical Clothes

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Although they may not wear the latest high-fashion trends, middle-class people will still wear good-quality, long-lasting clothes. They’ll have an outfit prepared for every occasion with plenty of variation but will still avoid overspending on fancy designer pieces that the rich will purchase without a second thought.

Limited Investments

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As they don’t have as much money to throw at investments as the upper classes, middle-class people tend to be a little more conservative with their investments. For a start, they won’t have as many investments on the go as rich people, and the investments they do have are unlikely to be high-risk. 

Living Paycheck to Paycheck

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It’s not unusual for middle-class people to live paycheck to paycheck, as while they may have a decent income, they’re likely to have more outgoings than the working class. This is far from uncommon in the US, with Forbes reporting that 78% of Americans live this way. That’s unimaginable to the rich!

Driving a Practical Car

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The ever-decreasing value of cars will mean that middle-class families will be less willing to part with a huge sum of cash for a luxury vehicle. They are more likely to opt for a practical, affordable car suitable for long and short journeys; anything more fancy is just not justifiable!

Carefully Planned Vacations

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While middle-class families will have more disposable income than working-class families, vacations still won’t be guaranteed, especially if they have more than two children. With flights and hotel costs on the rise, it’s getting harder for the middle class to go abroad on vacation. Meanwhile, the rich fly out on the regular!

Relying on Dual Income

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Many wealthy families will be able to have one of the two adults either out of work or staying home as a domestic worker. On the other hand, middle-class families will likely rely on a dual income to maintain their lifestyles, keep their children fed, and be able to participate in various extracurricular activities.

Worrying About Healthcare

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Being middle class still means that one major hospital visit in the United States can throw you into financial chaos. In fact, CNN suggests that medical debt hits the middle class the hardest, as they have less disposable funds to cover high deductibles and out-of-pocket costs. It’s super frustrating!

Believing That Being Rich is Inherited

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One major thing holding some middle-class people back is the belief that wealth is something that you inherit rather than earn. This belief can prevent people from venturing out on their own with a business and moving up in the world; it’s certainly something worth considering!

Living in a Comfortable Home

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It’s relatively easy to spot the difference between a middle-class household, which will be comfortable yet modest, and an upper-class household, which will be more comparable to a mansion. A middle-class home will still be located in a pleasant neighborhood, though, so are you really missing out on much!?

Budgeting for Large Purchases

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Unlike the wealthiest people in society, middle-class people will budget carefully before making a large purchase, such as buying a car or financing a house deposit. Those who regard themselves as wealthy tend to be a lot less reserved with their money, as big-spending simply isn’t an issue!

Buying Mid-Range Groceries

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Grocery stores usually have around three tiers of the same product: the value option, which will be fairly poor quality but cheap; the mid-range option, which will be slightly better quality; and the expensive high-quality branded option. Middle-class people will, as you’d expect, find balance in the mid-range options.

Saving for a Child’s Education

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Middle-class families won’t automatically have the funds to send their children to the best schools once they hit college age. Instead, it will require a little saving being made here and there, sometimes starting before their child is even born. That’s a compromise that the rich just don’t understand!

You Work a Job You Don’t Like

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While middle-class people may be comfortably employed, they will often stay in job roles they’re not particularly fond of for the safety they provide. As CNBC states, the wealthier classes will be able to work for fulfillment, just for the love of it. We middle-class workers can only dream of that!

Retirement Planning

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Retirement planning is very important to the middle class as they will rely on it once they finally choose to exit the workforce. Unlike the wealthy, who are able to retire far earlier than most, and the working class, who may never even retire, middle-class people will usually retire in their mid-60s.

Side Hustles

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Finally, the middle class often resorts to side hustles to raise their earnings, including part-time employment, buying and selling items on the internet, and temporary freelance work. These jobs may not be vital to them, but they will help fund recreational activities or a summer vacation. Sadly, these are things that the rich take for granted!

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