I came from a poor family and was always fascinated with kids that grew up in a upper middle class environment. Private schools, Hawaii vacations, college costs covered, cars at 16, beautiful homes and boats, stylish beautiful moms, Dads that were doctors or lawyers, housekeepers, etc, etc
What's it like to grow up with so much advantage?
I went to school with kids like that.
They were just as unhappy as any other whiny teenagers. Their parents ignored them, except to criticize them for failing to live up to insanely high expectations. They agonized over their looks, and social and relationship issues. If they knew their parents could pay for college, they were afraid they'd never get into a GOOD college, and they'd disappoint their parents insanely high expectations again.
I guess I grew up privileged but I didn't really know it. We have a nice house but it isn't huge and we don't have a pool or anything. My first car was used, and I still drive it. We received an allowance that allowed us to see a film and get some pizza and burgers once in a while, but we didn't have credit cards and if we wanted something special we had to earn it.
I know how lucky I am that my education is being covered. There are seminars almost every week about dealing with the costs and I feel guilty about being able to skip them.
Once you have comfort and stability, you worry about a whole different set of "issues" - success, looks, good school, sports success, not fucking up, parent divorces,living up to high expectations, etc.
It's one thing to do well when you're from a lower-middle or middle-middle class household - it's gravy and accolades. Not so much with upper middle class households - you BETTER get an A.
Then there are the privileged fuckups who thumb their noses at expectations. Those "rebels" are wonders to their peers but are reviled by other classes because of their waste of opportunities.
OP, I grew up in a poor family, too. I'm not sure how to say this without sounding full of myself, but by the time I got to college (which I paid for by myself), several people commented to me, some jokingly, some rather bitterly, "It must be nice to be from a rich family." Even one of my summer bosses thought I was working for him as a lark. Questioning those who thought I came from money always got me the same answers: "You're so smart. You're so neat. You're so well-mannered." The summer boss thought I was rich because he found out I liked tennis. I guess what I'm trying to say is it's not so much a matter of background as it is how one presents himself.
It was a crashing bore, OP. Coming-out parties, cotillions, inauguration balls, opening of the opera, riding to hounds – and always the same Four Hundred.
I grew up ... not poor, but definitely not wealthy.
When I was in elementary school, I got transferred to another school in the "MGM" program (Mentally Gifted Minors). Several of us came from households without much money. Many of the MGM kids came from the country club, water polo class in my piddling town -- no one would have been Beverly HIlls kids, but as far as the financial/social echelons went where I grew up, these kids were top of the heap.
It was a reality check for sure. Suddenly I was in class with kids who went to "cotillion," who had country club obligations, etc. Not all of them were that smart, but that social/financial level meant they were in MGM classes as well.
My mother still mentions another parent who said to her, "I don't know if you realize how advanced [me] is."
It infuriated my mother, and rightly so; we weren't rich or privileged, but she read to me every night, checked my homework, and took me to the library a couple of times a week. To have this woman -- whose bona fides encompassed marrying a man who owned the big furniture store in town -- condescend to her was incredibly insulting.
When I got older and read "The Great Gatsby" and watched Whit Stillman movies, I realized how pissant our family must have been. Nevertheless, my parents worked their asses off to make sure I had other choices other than to stay in our small town.
Here's a shit-on-the-rich post to warm your cold heart.
Through an aunt's business and her children's friends from various sports, I met quite a few upper middle class kids in the early 80s.
They lived in the area where John Hughes shot all of the teen flicks. The houses looked story-book from the outside. Inside was a different story.
While I was pursuing polo ponies and alligators, these kids dressed like Ozzie Osbourne's uglier brothers. Name brands were only important in music and athletic equipment.
This was the first time I heard that completing high school was an option. They'd compare schools from which they'd been tossed. They also compared the number of 'ologists they'd seen and the number of ODs they'd survived.
The parents were never around - working, divorced, divorcing, or passing 'fuck yous' in the hallway. Money was always on the way. I was never there for a money day.
The house interiors were obscenities; large art over a few pieces of ratty modern furniture, vast expanses of scratched wood floors, holes in the walls from balls or dogs, incomplete projects left in odd places, bedrooms that smelled worse than any dorm room I've ever visited, and garbage piled high for the cleaning ladies.
Growing up very, very poor, I've always had very rich relatives, and when I went on scholarship to UCLA, rich friends. My cousin, an only child had her private college fund set aside for her by the time she was 4. Rather than financial struggles, she went through "fake friend" issues. Her father, who was self-made, and bragged about it ENDLESSLY, was disappointed in her grades at USC, University of Spoiled Children, and her choice of boyfriends. My college beau, the son of a doctor, meanwhile said that at 16 his friends all got their choice of car. Showing off, he picked me up in his Mother's Birthday present, a Mercedes. Like my cousin he came from a very materialistically competitive world. I was more impressed that he was very driven, talented, and creative, with an exhaustive supply of energy. He had been raised with a completely different mindset on how to be successful. Still like my cousin, his parents were also controlling to the extreme. They threatened to cut him off financially, when he wanted to be a director instead of a doctor. Last I heard he was well under way for his plans to be a millionaire before he was 30.
I felt entitled to it.
OP asked people who were raised upper middle class to comment from their own experience. It's not particularly interesting to read second hand "the rich are miserable" cliche anecdotes from wannabes who had their noses pressed to the glass.
Stop trying to control the thread, Becka.
OP, I always imagined that one of my sentimental favorite movies, Less than Zero, captured the pathos of being a rich kid pretty well.
"It's a rare American who doesn't aspire to be upper middle class."
I grew up in an affluent family, but I did not realize we were until I was, oh perhaps 13 or 14 and only really realized it at about age 16.
Perhaps because I did not "get what I wanted" in terms of where I wanted to spend the summer or gifts or watching TV when I wanted etc.
As I grew older I realized that most of my friends did not have a winter home and a summer home, that many of my friends did not ago away to school or have household help who lived with them or parents who would go to Europe or South American on a regular basis.
But when I did become conscious of my family's wealth, it was sort of humbling- and for a while I used it a bit to cover my own insecurties. By the way, our home was stable, my parents did not fight that we could tell- and although they were remote when I was growing up- they did a pretty good job.
Certainly we (my sibling and myself) were not miserable- we were not spoiled (we all work hard as adults) and most of our friends were much the same. In fact there is no doubt in my mind that being born into wealth definitely makes life easier in every way, better education, etc. It is a huge advantage.
That said, like everything else in life, it is what you do with it that counts. Most of those I grew up with in similar families have done well- and by that I mean, work, productivity, stable personal lives.
R10, Please show some maturity and brains and skip posts you don't want to read. You don't own DL. Have you even paid your $18?
Thank you, R14. Finally someone with some real life experience. I know it's a popular "feel good" myth that poor folks like to tell themselves, but the fact is most rich people are not miserable, unloved, lazy and fucked up.
I grew up in Northbrook, John Hughes' hometown. My mom did not work outside the home. We went on vacations each year, but they were road trips to Florida--not flights to Europe. My parents bought me a car, but it was to commute to college; they paid my first year, and I financed the rest of my undergrrad and graduate education. I don't recall being denied something on the basis that we couldn't afford it, but by no means did I get everything I wanted.
Like r14, I grew up without realizing how much we had because everyone around me had the same. I wasn't spoiled, I didn't get everything I wanted, but I didn't want for anything, if that makes sense. My parents did make us do a lot of volunteer work and give to charity, so I knew that there were others who were a lot less fortunate than us.
However, I didn't have a real understanding of "middle class" or "working class" until I got to college. My roomate (and lifelong friend) worked to save for college from age 15 on, had loans and scholarships, and held several part-time jobs. He lived with his mother and sister in a rental apartment where he slept in a corner of the living room and the mother and sister shared the bedroom because it was the cheapest way to live in the best school district in the state. They had no car and had to take the bus to the grocery store and laundrymat. Another friend moved away from his family and took up residence in another state so that he would qualify for in-state rates at the state university. Very few people I grew up with had to work so hard to get through college.
I think exposure to both ways of life have grounded me financially. I earn a good living, but live frugally and responsibly. I have a fear of being poor. I know people who have lost everything, either through catastrophic illness, extended periods of unemployment, bad investments/living beyong their means. It's very important to me to make sure I am covered financially. However, I still dontate a lot of time and money to those in need, and thank my lucky stars I'm not one of them.
Op most of these people are dullsville. Having everything handed to you will do that. Be proud of who you are and what you know you CAN do for yourself.
I have a mother who has cleaned the houses for some well-to-do families for over a twenty year period. Some of the families that my mother has cleaned for had kids that I literally grew up hearing about so I really feel that I know what goes on with families on a day-to-day basis.
Some of the families were very smart about how they spent their money and raised their kids. Children were brought up to respect money and their elders and were taught that if they wanted anything they had to earn it.
Other families spent too much on their kids and spoiled them rotten. The kids seemed like they were literally on welfare, they did nothing but go to school and expect their parents to pay for school, houses and cars. The parents of the lazy kids had created children that have no idea on how to take care of themselves should something happen.
What I realized about each group is that the money will not always be there because the children did not want to pursue the careers that made the family wealthy in the first place. They have all gone into professions that make them "feel good" and that is great, but they will never make the type of money their parents did. So all of the money went out to make an adult that is essentially a wage slave and will not enrich the family past the next generation. Interesting.
great stories! thanks!
My partner's family is uppper-middle, although they're also down-to-earth mid-westerners and you'd never guess how wealthy they are by their house, their clothes, or the cars they drive.
As a child he had everything he needed but there were no elaborate vacations, no car for his 16th birthday, etc. His family had a housekeeper but his mother was very hush-hush about that. When he decided he wanted a computer (this was back in the early 1990's), he was expected to get a job and earn the money for it. (Granted, that job was a cushy one in the family business, but still.)
His college tuition was paid for in full and his parents funded the trip he took to Europe after he completed his master's degree, but aside from that, any "non-essential extras" he was expected to pay for himself.
He doesn't recall his parents ever fighting, which is amazing to me. My working class parents had almost daily fights -- most of them about money.
OP-- my brother and I were raised in an upper-middle class family. Father was a surgeon and mother was a socialite. She spent most of her time redecorating our house and serving on various philanthropic committees. She was a fun mother though, and had a great sense of style.
My brother and I went to private schools (Episcopalian, of course, the "Frozen Chosen"), and never worried about money or the cost of things. We were pretty much given every thing we asked for, but then we didn't ask for super extravagant things. I vividly remember that having good manners and presenting oneself well were the most important thing in life. The biggest faux pas was to be boorish or crass, and no one ever spoke about money. We had riding, sailing, and tennis lessons, and attended cotillion.
Unfortunately, I grew up with little understanding that there were consequences to my actions, and I was completely incapable of looking after myself. My only ambition was have fun, see the world, and experience life. I literally didn't understand that people had to work for years to achieve something.
Ironically, decades later, I'm quite poor now. Like trying to figure out whether to pay the rent or the electric bill poor.
I grew up with these kids (see
Some were absolutely feral. Their parents had married again, and had newer kids to dote over. Kids with torn clothing and grubby hair would be dropped off in Mercedeses.
Other were arrogant bastards who liked to taunt other kids by saying "You're POOR"!
There were quite a few girls with eating disorders at my high school, and an extra five pounds meant social death.
There was a huge populations of heavy-duty nerds at my wealthy school, so many that the computer nerds and sci-fi nerds were sepearate groups. They were even rivals in some things.
Really, there was a lot of variation.
OP, all people are the same. Those with more wealth simply use it as a weapon and wall, but otherwise there are no integral distinctions except superficial ones of mobility, access and choice. As people here say, often those distinctions prove to be challenges rather than uplifters.
Nevertheless, it is more comfortable to be miserable with cash than without it.
We were raised hearing all about the responsibilities that went with our privilege, and actually felt limited by it in many ways. We couldn't just go out and do anything. Life was planned and scheduled, and real freedom didn't come until well after university. Even then, however, the time and energy that goes into managing money, dealing with people who manage money, keeping property up, managing land, plus working, all demand a lot. I still envy my friends who had less.
I didn't think abou my family having money until I mentioned to a classmate that my mother had a Mangle Iron. He said "you must be rich."
I grew up Upper Middle class.
My dad was away all the time on the weekends, leaving my younger sister home alone in high school. She would throw small shindigs with drinking and fornicating, but no heavy drugs.
She was a straight A student in high school. She really wanted to prove herself (our oldest sister didnt appove of her opting to go to public school instead of private school). She ended up going to Yale. She graduated in 2006, majoring in philosophy.
She wasn't interested in a big career. Now she is a vagabond who travels all over Europe.
I was raised upper middle class. My father was an engineer, and wound up in management of a very large corporation.
My mother was a stay at home mom. She played golf 2-3 days a week at the country club. We had a nice home, everyone had a car ( my 15th birthday present was my first car), I was in assembly (my home town's version of cotillion). I went away to college, all paid for.
The town I grew up in was clicky, and there was a wall between the have kids and the havenot kids. Odd, because the haves only had because of their daddies. I don't keep up with any of them anymore.
My father made sure my brother and I knew where the money came from- his hard work, and that the keys to success were an education, luck, and treating people decently.
No one in the middle class has those things you described, OP. I believe you're referring to the rich.
OP, how poor were you? Could your family only afford two or three servants? Was your family having trouble to pay for heat in the west wing of the house? I'm curious about how the other half lived.
I grew up middle class but every rich kid I knew what heavily into drugs or alcohol.
As I personally found myself in the upper middle class a partnered adult, I have found I do not like people in that socio-economic group at all.
Give me a nice home spun boy from New England any day of the week.
Let me help you read that article, R31:
[quote]In the United States the term middle class and its subdivisions are an extremely vague concept as neither economists nor sociologists have precisely defined the term.
You're the only poster in this thread who seems to have trouble understanding the concept of "upper middle class," R33. Everyone else is clear on it.
Assuming you're an eldergay, think "Ordinary People."
Envy is an ugly thing to see. Even if you were poor or lower middle class you were better off than someone else in the world. Be grateful for what you have and make the most of it.
My mom came from a posh, WASPY midwestern family. My grandfather owned a prosperous law firm which enabled my mom and her brothers to pursue a ton of hobbies. Both my uncles rode and raised horses on farmland that our family owned. My mom was very much into dance, and attended Interlochen Arts Academy High School. She opted for University of Michigan after, then grad school at Columbia and the Sorbonne: all paid for by my granddad.
When she was out of school - finally - he paid for her west village apartment until she met my dad.
Unfortunately all this opportunity made my mom petty and spoiled. Even though she became a corporate lawyer, she was always getting let go due to personality problems. And growing up with her was hell. We certainly didnt feel upper-middle class, even though we knew our schooling would be paid for. Our house was chaotic and my mom was always bringing a new boyfriend home (she dumped my dad).
Even now - though she gets sizable dividends from stock and oil rights - she expects me and my partner to pay for her for things all the time. So fucking annoying.
Money makes people awful as far as I'm concerned.
[quote]I wish I went to Lovett private school
I did go to Lovett, OP, and as a gay kid that didn't fit in, I was miserable, though yeah: a lot of kids obviously had it made, knew it would last for life, and just enjoyed it.
Life is easier for some people. Them's the breaks.
Good grief, R26, you must be even older than I am -- & where did you grow up?
The thing about being upper middle class is that you don't know what it means until later. And there's not much variation among peers, except who vacations where and if it's their second house or not (hotelers vs. housers - the rivalry between kids in my year in elementary school).
To make myself distinctive, I would sometimes claim to be very poor and insist that we didn't even have a refrigerator. Once I started claiming my parents were Native American Indians, I had real street credibility. Of course it was all a lie. But I was committed to the act, even capitalizing the word Nature as people capitalize the religious Him.
Truly upperclass kids were distinctive because they were constantly talking about things that were crude and out of reach. I learned what inheritance was, the word nigger, and that some people have jets within the first five minutes of meeting my cousin - both of us were four.
"I know it's a popular "feel good" myth that poor folks like to tell themselves, but the fact is most rich people are not miserable, unloved, lazy and fucked up."
Go fuck yourself, you ass. You don't know anything about the happiness quotient of "most rich people." And go stuff that "poor folks" condescention up your ass. You sound like the most unbearable cunt imaginable.
[quote]the fact is most rich people are not miserable, unloved, lazy and fucked up.
Most of the one's I know are. Middle class people usually have a work ethic instilled in them (whether it works or not). Rich people know there's a vault of cash just waiting for them. In my town, you were either a yacht clubber or a slacker. I was a slacker. Growing up was kind of like The Ice Storm with wife-swapping and drinking, etc. and lots of "neglected" friends hanging around the dock smoking weed and talking about how weird their parents were.
Here's a secret I'll let you in on: Rich people are just like everybody else, only they have money. That's it. Some are fucked up, some are outrageously happy, most just go about their lives and get on with things just like anyone else. The only difference is that they don't have to worry about money. That's it. They otherwise can and often do have the same worries, concerns, addictions, insecurities, and problems that everyone else in the world is prone to.
The idea that being rich and not having to work for a living in and of itself fucks you up or is the source of dysfunction is just dumb imho.
I know what you mean R43. There shouldn't be any variance between social class and happiness. But, at least in my experience, there really is. Granted, there are some happy rich families but they seem to be the exception. Sometimes when you don't have to sweat the big stuff, you spend too much time sweating the small stuff. In my family, my rich grandfather left a bitter legacy that I'm not sure is related to money. I have a friend worth hundreds of millions and I know for a fact that he'll never be truly happy . . . and he blames it all on the miseries of his childhood years.
I grew up in an upper middle class family. We went away each summer. Never experienced life in the city during the summer until I was out of college. I never had to worry about tuition bills in college or graduate school. But my parents also insisted that my siblings and I get jobs and volunteer. We were expected to do well in school, and they did not tolerate us getting into trouble. The families that we grew up with were by and large cut from the same cloth.
When I went away to college, it was almost natural to gravitate toward people with similar backgrounds. Many were like the ones described by other posters. I went to college in the 80s. I soon grew disillusioned with some whom I met. They were a bunch of slackers, who wanted to impress you with their family backgrounds. And they whined like a bunch of spoiled brats. And I saw the difference between my upbringing and theirs. We both came from privilege, but I was taught not to expect it.
"To make myself distinctive, I would sometimes claim to be very poor and insist that we didn't even have a refrigerator. Once I started claiming my parents were Native American Indians, I had real street credibility"
Oh God, that reminds me of Jeff "Chico" Miller! He was an upper-middle-class kid from a posh suburb, but because his mother was Mexican-American he decided to reinvent himself as a Cholo. He started calling himself "Chico" and talking about Brown Power and the Barrio, and acting like the outsider from the wrong side of the tracks.
I was like "Dude, your name is Jeff and you live down the street from a country club!".
Lovett is just excessively WASPy. It's private, but not every kid that went there came or comes from money.
[quote]They were just as unhappy as any other whiny teenagers. Their parents ignored them, except to criticize them for failing to live up to insanely high expectations.
I remember it that way exactly, and the kids of true upper-class parents were the worst, drug-abusers, fucked up beyond believe, knowing that daddy would never love them and coming to terms with it through shopping, drugs and scraps with the law
I knew a couple of rich guys They talked about being trust funders (first time I heard the word.) They were nice guys but both had issues establishing careers. The minute things got tough they'd give up because they didn't need to work at all.
But for the true upper middle class the parental money stops eventually. If they haven't developed a career that pays big bucks they won't stay upper middle class for long.
[quote]There was a huge populations of heavy-duty nerds at my wealthy school, so many that the computer nerds and sci-fi nerds were sepearate groups. They were even rivals in some things.
I want to hear more about this.
i grew up upper middle class, although I had no idea what it meant until later. I actually thought we were "poor" because I didn't get a car, had to work, did chores even though we had people come to the house to clean and stuff. i had to make my own bed and clear the table, do dishes, yard work, shovel snow, except the driveway that got plowed (thank God, it was 1/4 mile).
I was kind of isolated as a kid, kept to myself, into music, studied piano and other instruments, read a lot and such.We went to a country club, played tennis, golf, social stuff. I never really fit in, but I had a few friends. Then one day a girl from church invited me to a dance, I was 13. There I met a bunch of kids I started hanging around with who lived in and around my town in the north chicago burbs but went to private Catholic single-sex schools. I didn't realize it all at first but it was a debutante/cotillion crowd. My mom explained it to me. That was the first time I knew she was a deb. I got asked to parties a lot after that. Most of the kids had HUGE houses and obviously very wealthy OLD money. I saw a lot of kids get into drugs, but I never did much but smoke pot.
Growing up we had nice vacations, but they were mostly road trips to the beach and few trips to the mountains but it was mostly family visits to other midwestern states. Some of our family were farmers and veterinarians so there was money but it had to be earned. We rode horses, but we also had to take care of them - daily. I did not go to Europe till I was out of college and then only to England/Ireland - not anywhere else.
I did not have to pay for college, but I did work during college to pay my rent/food and entertainment - and clothes.
Later when I lived in Manhattan I went to see "Metropolitan" and I swear I thought I was watching a movie of my life. I identified with the doom of what happens after the balls are over and if the UHB's are doomed to failure.
Now, I have a VERY middle class job, where I deal with VERY poor people who really do get quite a lot for nothing. It's maddening.
I live frugally, although I don't want for anything, I'm more concerned with retiring well so I don't have to deal with the scum I work with now. I don't have a trust fund, nor will I inherit anything of note.
Interesting thread and something I've thought of often. I grew up middle class, but even so my parents lived below their means and we lived in a lower middle class area of town. We did not have a nice house and our cars were always used. However, I was around upper middle class kids all the time as I went to a private Catholic school.
Both of my parents were very smart but had no ambition, so had ok jobs that between the two of them kept us just in the middle class. But education was important to them, as were manners, good grammar, etc. My interests were in tennis (belonged to the club) and skiing, I liked nice clothes, was intelligent and well-manntered, and always was well groomed. Thus, to my friends' parents, I came off as upper enough to fit in.
I had friends who were both middle class and upper middle class. A couple of the upper middle class kids had parents who were millionaires (bigger deal in the 70s and 80s). As I got older, I realized the stark difference in the upper middle class homes to ours, their cars to ours. I always wanted nice things. I had taste, what can I say, but I rarely got them unless I bought them with my own money.
Anyway, we middle class kids noticed as we got older that for many (probably 3/4) of the upper middle class kids, all looked well on the exterior but inside the home it was a mess. Bad marriages, substance abuse, neglect, anorexia, abuse (especially emotional), etc., which all led to a host of emotional problems for the kids. I also learned that some lived the upper middle class life but on borrowed money. I had one friend who at 16 was given a BMW, her family always went on exotic vacations, they had a beautiful home, expensive cars, etc., but I later found out the father just declared bankruptcy every 7 years to wipe out his debt. Unbelievable.
Now I make a great salary (as far as I'm concerned) as an attorney that puts me in the top 10% of earners in this country and have the upper middle class money. Almost all of my colleagues grew up in the upper middle class and most are into material gain and promotion. They earn money to buy more stuff they don't need and keep up with the Joneses. I shocked my firm by taking myself off partner track to become counsel for the firm. No headaches that go along with partnership and I still get to do what I love (yes, I enjoy being a lawyer) and I make a great living compared to my parents. My colleagues can't understand why I did that. They equate more money with more happiness. It's sad to see the same cycle repeating itself with my colleagues that I saw with my friends' parents growing up.
Of course being middle class does not shield you from many of the same problems. I saw plenty of divorces, substance abuse, bad parenting, etc. But I did see what I thought was more of an emphasis on the exterior in the upper middle class and I see it still today.
[quote]But for the true upper middle class the parental money stops eventually. If they haven't developed a career that pays big bucks they won't stay upper middle class for long.
I agree. Sounds like my case. I'm middle class, but not "upper." I can afford restaurants, new car, vacations, Cabo timeshare, etc. because I'm not married and don't have kids.
R52 u don't sound upper middle class at all
u don't either
My parents were wealthy, but barely ever spoke to me or my siblings...and barely even bought necessities for us unless we absolutely hounded them. We woke ourselves up every day and rode the bus to a far-away private school. My mom chose it because she thought "the religious people" would teach us manners and help us not be embarrassing to her.
When we'd come home, we would hope to god that one of our parents had stopped off there, and was on their way to dinner so we could ride along (my parents ate out every night), because we didn't have a cook or staff or anything. And the food in the house was random shit that we got in trouble for eating anyway. There were never any less than 5 cars, though none of us kids could drive them as teens; they were too valuable. We were given a guilt trip about anything we needed or wanted.
I'm poor now, to the extent that I don't want to live anymore. When I last visited my dad's house, he and his wife had built a guest house for this random guy they met who is running from the law. He's like their "black servant", except I noticed THEY BUY HIM EVERYTHING. When I went to visit, they had just bought him an iPhone, a laptop, new clothes and a vacation for him and his teenage girlfriend that he shopped around for online and just hollered when he was ready for the credit card info. They let him drive one of the Mercedes, too. At least 3 times that week he said to my dad, "I need [x] dollars." And it was done.
I guess he's the child my father had always hoped for, as opposed to me or any of my siblings. If I sound bitter, I am. If you judge me for it, I don't care. It was hell. I just honestly want to die.
Not to sound obtuse, but is he a servant?
And are you close to your siblings?
R58, He definitely doesn't do anything for them on a regular basis. I don't know about occasional favors and such.
No, all the siblings dealt with it in different ways. They all moved to the opposite coast, though I think it's been 4 years since any of us have seen each other. Two of them are filthy rich, and the other one is stable.
My failure was that when my biological mom got divorced from my dad, I quit college, gave up my scholarship, and tried to move around with her and got into the whole "emotional incest" trap. She had my sympathy for a while, then I realized how stupid I am. I don't know why I thought she was my answer to finally having "that feeling of family." I ruined my life because I dumbly held out for that.
Grew up as you describe, OP. To sum up: It's a longer way to fall.
R57, if that guy isn't sleeping with your father and/or his wife, he's selling them drugs. I suspect the latter.
Upper middle class people are even worse than the one percenters because they're so damn insecure about being pseudo-rich. They want so badly to be part of the one percent and it drives them nuts that they aren't. I was one of the wealthier kids in an affluent hometown growing up. I had always been a pretty generous kid as I knew I was fortunate financially but ended up attracting some very nasty opportunistic types as a result.
R58/61, Yeah, I've thought of those possibilities. They also just constantly need someone around to feel better than. It's just, if I sold them drugs (which I wouldn't), I know they would still never express some form of gratitude. So I was like...WTF.
R61 took the words right out of my mouth: drugs or swingers. (I had a buddy in college who went home for Christmas break to find some a young, sort of homeless couple living with her parents. She was so weirded out, she blurted out, "Who the fuck are these people?" And her mom told her they had met on a swingers site online.)
57--about how old are you? 30s, 40s?
I know the lines are blurry, but I always assumed upper middle class people were 1 percenters. If 1 percent is 385 per year, and you have a wife making 150 and a husband making the rest--which should be easy if one is a doctor/lawyer.
R65, oddly, a lot of these sound like upper class to me. Multiple luxury cars, servants, summer homes, winter homes, private schools, etc.
1 percent is NOT 385k per year. The 1 percent are millionaires and billionaires.
385k a *month* would be a one percenter, not 385k a year.
From Topper and Topper Returns, I learned rich ladies like husbands who drink and carouse.
Someone making 385k per year, over a number of years, would probably just past muster as a millionaire.
Fascinating topic. Always interesting to read what others are experiencing.
Maybe things have changed. When I grew up in LA, in the late 1960's, we were considered "upper middle class", but we sure didn't have a few homes, a few luxury cars, trips to Europe every year, etc. We considered those folks "Upper Class".
My dad was a dentist and my mom was a nurse. My 4 brothers and I all went to private school, we had a pool and we went on nice vacations. Vacations for us though meant nice camping trips, not The Four Seasons, or a place in the Hamptons.
So, is it all different now? Is what was considered 'upper class' in the 60's/70's is now considered 'upper middle class'?
You are a YOUNG guy with your whole life ahead of you. You sound articulate and bright: why are you so glum about your future?
You could go back to college if you like.
I'll post twice in a row--
I honestly don't understand this sentiment: "I just honestly want to die."
Sorry for the following post.
R64- I actually am in college. I took out loans last year because my mom got married, and I had to pay medical bills with the money I was earning. She said I had to find somewhere to go, or she would buy me a bus ticket to a homeless shelter, because her husband "wasn't expecting" me. I didn't know she got married until after the fact, and had never met him. I didn't want to live with them, anyway. When campus is closed for breaks, I ride the bus and live out of buses/bus stations around the USA with the $ I have from part-time job.
I'm not familiar with this part of the country, and I haven't made any friends. I live in a dorm with kids, which must look awful. What's probably the worst is that I have no sense of who I am or what I should be doing; I feel like I'm just wasting time here. And I feel like even if I do well, this school's name isn't good enough and there aren't any jobs out there, and the "real world" is just going to be depressing.
I'm just afraid to do things. I don't know why. I'm actually afraid to do anything that might be beneficial to my life...even no-pressure things, like reading a book that might teach me something new. It's the one thing I can't really figure out about myself, or how to fix it. Though I've tried counseling.
So, all of the above--loans, being lost, being socially retarded, anxiety, and fear, etc.--comprises why I just want to die, but I know I'm too chicken to do anything about it. And I can't really figure it out any deeper than that.
Thank you so much for letting me vent, though.
If you live in two or more homes
If you make more than $250K (yes, EVEN if you live in Manhattan or San Francisco)
If you can travel wherever you want whenever you want without giving expense another thought
you are not "upper middle class," you are rick
R57 / R76, (((hugs))) .. no one should have to feel that way. I'm sorry, but your parents are animals. I hope you can get the help you need. I wish I knew you, I'd at least take you for a beer and be your friend.
I remember one time our maid quit and my mother ased me to load the dishes into the dishwasher. I told her we should just throw them out, then she asked me to take out the garbage.
Later my father divorced her and my new mother was much better.
[quote]So, is it all different now? Is what was considered 'upper class' in the 60's/70's is now considered 'upper middle class'?
Can I just be blunt? There is nothing wrong with you. There's nothing wrong with being in college at your age or living in a dorm. (Aren't there grad students around?) There's nothing abnormal about your feeling bitter about your parents. (Loads of people are in similar circs.) There's nothing wrong with not knowing what you're going to do with your life yet.
95% of kids in college don't know what they want to be or what they should be doing, so you're in the appropriate place :) But really, I think the best advice I can give you is just to start talking to people and forming friendships. Most colleges have counseling for free: even group counseling will give you a chance to vent, and you just might find some friends with similar problems.
Does your school have an office for non-traditional students? (In my college, there was such an office for counseling for single moms who were in school, people returning late in life, etc.)
Are any of your siblings amenable to becoming friendly again--even if just to talk about your parents? Do your two filthy rich siblings have a business or work in an industry that they might introduce you to, even help you find a job once you graduate. (I'm guessing that they must be older than you.)
You sound single--why not look for a boyfriend?
PS I just had a thought: do you think your parents are treating you this way because you're gay?
Back in the 90s, there was an article in the New Yorker about kids of the affluent. A lady who ran stables said the rich kids would arrive, ride, get off the horse and walk away. They were just going through motions they thought expected of them -- they really didn't love what they were doing.
Most of the rich people I know can afford to travel anywhere, any time financially, but can't afford to be away from their jobs. My father, who is at the very bottom of the one percent, hasn't taken more than a week's vacation in years. He's on his phone/email by 5:30 every morning talking to his European clients or future clients, is at the office by 7:30am. In the evenings, he's meeting prospective clients, going to dinners, etc. I've visited him on Christmas and Thanksgiving, and he's had work people at the house--usually people he's just recruited, new to town, who don't have family in the area, but he always talks business.
Not all of the one-percenters are idle rich people, some of them are just pathological workaholics.
We were far from wealthy, but my Father managed one of the biggest employers in a smallish (25,000 population) town back in the 60's and 70's. That came with its own set of responsibilities as far as he was concerned.
He was always very careful about how he spent money, no Cadillac, a Chevy was good enough, but at the same time, if he was working around the house, he would change clothes before going to the hardware or grocery store. No way you would have caught him in public with a torn t-shirt or paint splattered jeans.
If we went out for dinner, we were always "on" and expected to behave. He would have 2 cocktails, never 3, and the idea of ordering the lobster or the flaming baron of beef was unthinkable. It was never really said, we just knew it. (and when I say cocktail, I mean a mixed drink. There was no way he was going to be seen drinking a beer in public.)
Granted, he was a child of The Depression who grew up poor, so some of that was hard-wired, but the idea that he (and by extension the whole family) had a role to play and a reputation to protect was always there.
The other side of the coin was that he also felt that his position required him to belong to the Lions Club and Rotary, and do things like serve on the school board, because that was also expected of someone in his position.
As a child, that extended to me, at least in the sense that I knew that there was no way I would get away with much. Someone would see me, and it would get back to him (and it usually did).
None of this was formalized. I picked it up through observation, but we all knew where the boundaries were without being told.
Someone in my circle is insanely wealthy. He doesn't work. He's not pretentious and you would never take him for a rich guy. In his family, the dynamics have been especially toxic. His mother insisted he take his place in society, get married to a socialite beard, and go out on the down low if he had to. (His father died when he was young.) He refused and she cut him off financially.
A few years later, he became a writer of horror movies in Hollywood and told me every time he had to write a scene where a woman dies a gruesome death, he would think of his mother (!!)
A couple of years ago, his paternal grandmother died and, because his father died before him, he inherited 1/4 of her entire estate which consisted of three old money fortunes, four homes in three countries, and one of the ten best jewelry collections in the world, according to W Magazine. He never hid who he was, but never got over his mother's snub.
He fell in love with a guy he met at one of his grandmother's events, and they've been together for years now. His mother, whom he had not spoken to in years, died (an ungruesome death) a week ago. The last time they had the opportunity to meet was at his grandmother's memorial. When he saw her there, he walked out and refused to sit in the same room with her.
He's coming to visit for new years eve. I'm not sure if he's going to be okay with it or depressed that he didn't resolve things between them. But I would definitely say that money sometimes seems to come with a curse. This friend's cousin inherited $75 million in the 60s and drank himself to death in seven years. He'd been a local surfer and pot dealer in Santa Monica before he got the money.
My cousin worked for his father who owned a chain of hotels. He was in the closet and I used to go visit him at the NYC hotel where he lived, with my boyfriend because the hotel had a pool. He flew around the country auditing the books for these hotels. His father told him he couldn't fly first class anymore. The accountant wouldn't allow it. He refused and said he would rather quit, which he did. Then he proceeded to drink himself to death, at age 35. I've never understood it.
Look at the Kennedy family. The Gettys. I'm not sure why it is, and I know there are many wealthy, well-adjusted people, but tragedy does seem to lurk in the castles of the one percent.
"Then he proceeded to drink himself to death, at age 35."
Wow, r57! You should have a thread unto yourself. Your story is sooo fucked-up. As others have pointed out, there's definitely something unsavoury going on between your parents and their "guest."
Hang in there. Try and remember it's not you, it's them. Something essential is missing in them. Try and be strong for yourself and be good to yourself.
R65 is correct. The top 1% of earners in the US make $380k per year or more. From the link attached.
WHAT THE TOP 1%, 5%, 10%, 25% and 50% MAKE IN AMERICA
Based on the Internal Revenue Service’s 2010 database below, here’s how much the top Americans make:
Top 1%: $380,354
Top 5%: $159,619
Top 10%: $113,799
Top 25%: $67,280
Top 50%: >$33,048
What's considered the best private school in ATL?
R85 I can assure you there are far more "tragedies" in the ghetto than amongst the 1%.
R45 makes the best point, also made by some others. There are plenty of families at all income levels, where parents don't raise their children to become responsible adults. Then there are others where parents take their responsibilities seriously. Obviously, the parents who are never home because they have to work multiple jobs to support their families have a better excuse than those who are never home because they are living the high life.
Then there are always the smarter kids, who figure it out despite their upbringing.
What kind of businesses do these filthy rich own?
R64/81, Thank you for the kind words. I guess maybe I have such bad anxiety that I can't see any hope. I know it's hard to believe, but there aren't services or clubs for non-traditional or grad students here, though I once got solicited to participate in an online study about them. Lol. I considered going to Columbia GS or something for social purposes alone, but couldn't afford it after the loans (probably not worth it anyway).
The school I'm at is in the middle of nowhere in a random state. Not sure where the grad students are, or where they live. I've gotten more shy since I got fat two years ago. I've had bulimia since then, but I try to stay on track even if it means not losing the weight. My grades this semester are well below my standards because of it.
You're right, I'm the youngest. My rich brothers are very "protective" of what they do. They're actually kind of discouraging, even though they didn't officially study anything related to their current jobs. My sister works freelance-style, so I'm not sure about that situation.
Finally, I don't think the rejection is because I'm gay. I think my mom even expected at least one of her children to be gay. My dad's a manchild who didn't want kids, so that's his reason? Though he brags about my brothers to other people, and bragged once about me to some woman who came over when he found out I originally went to an Ivy League School. He hadn't congratulated me, though.
Anyway. Thank you again for the perspective. I feel sub-human most of the time and have such trouble deciding what to do about it.
R93...Are you talking to me, or someone else who wrote "filthy rich"?
When I was in art high school in the 1970s, the richest kids were the ones dressed the sloppiest and looked the dirtiest.
All the kids from wealthy and upper middle class they were the school hippies, they wore dirty ripped jeans, work boots, denim shirts or t-shirts. The guys all had dirty scraggly hair. I guess this was their rebellion against their lawyer and doctor parents?
It was ironic that their hippy clothing was probably from the original Abercrombie & Fitch, which used to sell upscale hunting and other sporting gear!
Sure everyone wore jeans, had long hair and and dressed sloppy during that era, think "Freaks & Geeks", but this was more extreme, these rich kids looked almost homeless! It was as if they were ashamed of their wealth.
Another sub-group of the wealthy kids, dressed very British glitter rock, with expensive snakeskin boots and clothes from Paraphenalia, Granny Takes a Trip and some other English rockstar clothing boutique on the East Side of Manhattan.
The black and Puerto Rican kids were in Kangol hats and sweatsuits.
The working class white kids were taking more care in their appearance than the upper middle class and wealthy white kids.
[quote]The working class white kids were taking more care in their appearance than the upper middle class and wealthy white kids.
Actually, you were the lower middle class and dressed well to show contempt towards your betters as well as towards the poor. You belong to the meanest class, and now everything sucks because the foremen are in charge.
"Actually, you were the lower middle class and dressed well to show contempt towards your betters as well as towards the poor. You belong to the meanest class, and now everything sucks because the foremen are in charge."
You got ALL that from my post? Who the fuck are you, an armchair sociologist? Your post makes little sense. The main factor was this was an ART SCHOOL, the students dressed the part!
I actually NEVER said the black and Puerto Rican kids were 'poor'! I NEVER said what class I was from, I never said what race or socio-economic group I was from either, yet, you assume, I was lower middle class? What a joke.
The black and Puerto Rican kids clothing look was simply the new style of the emerging music scene within their communities. Break dancing and the early orginal rappers were amerging at the time. Art and music also diverged and one of the most famous graffitti artists came from my high school, he happened to be white!
There were many upper middle class black and Hispanic kids in my art school.
This art school WAS the most socially and economically diverse high school in Manhattan.
Btw, go fuck yourself.
If they ever make a movie out of this book, Sharon Stone should definitely play Pat Montandon. I can just see her at her SF penthouse table, rapping with the Black Panthers.
Sean Wilsey wrote Oh the Glory of It All and it's packed with the treachery of the rich. Pat Montandon, mother of Sean, is married to some rich guy. A socialite and the writer Danielle Steele are after him, even though he's married. The socialite walks in on Steele giving him a blow job but somehow ends up marrying the guy. DeDe Buchanan (Dow Chemical) was the socialite and she had more more than Old Man Wilsey. She was also cute, blonde and the most evil stepmother outside of Cinderella. DeDe could be played by Reese Witherspoon.
So his paternal grandmother was Dodie R, R85. How fabulous!
I'm not bored. I'm quite happy. Everyone wants to be me!
We were quite poor when I was young.
Well R55. This is R52. I was pointing out to OP my UMC upbringing. I definitely was growing up. My mother had inherited money and quite a bit of it.
My dad was a high level executive from the time I was 5 until he retired.
I'm (coincidentally) 52. I've managed to save a bit of money but due to family circumstances the money passed to my parents has gone to the care of my grandparents. The last of which recently died at 102.
Although I was expected to do things for myself I always knew that I didn't have to worry about things growing up. I would daily go to the store and sign for anything I wanted. If I was hungry I went to the club with my friends for lunch. There was a social structure I was expected to follow.
When I went off to college I had my dads Amex. But I got jobs and bought my own stuff as I didn't want them seeing every thing I bought. Or know where I was all the time.
I've had successful careers but most of it was in real estate and I lost a lot of money and had tenants in rental houses that squatted without paying rent (after losing their jobs) thus causing me to lose the properties.
I've been through a lot and I'm only a bit bitter because I really don't like my current job but I'm a worker bee - I know I don't have what it takes to be a corporate muckety-muck like my dad - who is a great dad btw and was most encouraging to this gay son.
So I have tons of friends. I have had a few nice relationships and im friends with most of my exes. I take nice vacations. I serve of boards of charities and I donate time and money. I just don't have the carefree lifestyle of a UMC teenager but none of them do when they grow up.
It's either a constant run to keep up with the Jonses or simply live and enjoy life.
I sometimes feel like a sandwich , I can't keep up with upper class and have not so much in common with middle class. I guess my friends have to be upper middle class to have a mentality with the same set of values and goals.
I usually find people of middle class happier than me , upper middle class has so many restrictions that sometimes just not make sense.
I grew up in the upper middle class, but no private school, no car, no cotillions or "expected A's." College was paid for, and graduate school. I was given a high school trip to Europe. We did belong to a country club and I went to a summer camp exactly once.
We didn't talk about money, my Mom wouldn't let us get jobs until we graduated high school (other kids need those jobs to support their parents!), and we went on great vacations every year. I never wanted for anything, but then I rarely wanted anything, an attitude I have no idea how my parents contrived to instill in me. Even today I have a hard time getting excited about material things, other than books; or experiences other than travel.
What we did have was privacy and time, and I am very jealous of both of those things and no ambition to be rich or famous or even respected, although I often have ambition to see my project succeed or my political opinion carry, but I don't need or care to take credit for it. I get nervous and cranky if I have to see people every day, even at work, where I was always cheerful and friendly Monday morning, and paranoid and angry by Friday afternoon. Social obligations are as frightening to me as death. On the other hand, I have never lacked confidence in my professional work and have never had that burning fear of failure in the pit of my stomach. Even when I was unemployed and needed money desperately, I could not make myself get motivated if being motivated meant I had to network or kiss up to other people. I love working, but I hate job hunting and office politics, all of which is spoiled I know.
My dad was a lawyer and not a rising star: in real terms his income declined every year I was growing up. He was sneered at in places like Northbrook. But we lived in a more middling town, where we had the biggest house;, so I had a lot of peers at public school who thought I was rich and hated me, or wanted to be my friend solely because they thought I was going places. I guess that didn't improve my sociability any.
However, I did run across the rich with some frequency: at summer camp, and later in college and graduate school. I found that their world was very different. They all knew each other, and even if there had been an introvert like me in their ranks, they would have a stock of rumors about him and they would have used and exploited him for his weaknesses. Every single person was ranked and labeled, and anybody they didn't already know, they didn't want to meet. It just seemed like a horrible cage, a prison experiment, that these people lived in. They had zero privacy and zero time, and they were defined by the material possessions and their power over others. It just seemed so bizarre and pointless.
Upper middle class but very frugal. The best thing about being upper middle class and frugal is that I'll probably get a bit of money someday that will help me in retirement because I never made anything of myself.