As a child and growing up, what was your family's socio-economic stature (poor/lower-class, working class, blue collar, white collar, upper class, etc) and were you aware of how well - or bad - your family had it, especially compared to others.
Your Family's Socio-Economic Background
|by Anonymous||reply 105||June 28, 2018 10:54 PM|
Lower middle class but then, the whole town was.
|by Anonymous||reply 1||June 18, 2018 4:13 PM|
Middle class, but the town I lived in was mostly upper middle to upper class. Lots of kids had their own cars in high school. I didn't get one until I was 21 (and bought it myself.)
|by Anonymous||reply 2||June 18, 2018 4:18 PM|
Solid middle class. My parents kept to a careful budget, but we were comfortable enough to take a simple vacation once or twice a year and we had two family cars, cable TV, etc. I bought my first car in high school with my savings.
Our community was pretty much the same as us, but there was one neighborhood where the “rich kids” (more like upper middle class) lived and I was friends with a few of them. I was definitely conscious of luxuries they had that I did not, like swimming pools, ski trips and designer clothes.
|by Anonymous||reply 3||June 18, 2018 4:23 PM|
Poor in a blue collar town. In summer I had to wear Keds at home, but when I went to my aunt’s house for the day I went barefoot. My aunt had 8 kids (a ninth died in toddlerhood) and couldn’t afford shoes for all of her kids. The littlest ones didn’t have any shoes at all and the school aged kids had only one pair of shoes apiece to wear at school and church. My aunt didn’t want them to ruin their shoes, since we played in swamps, woods and fields, so they went barefoot and so did I. A nasty neighbor of my aunt was always screaming at us kids about one thing or another, but mostly about going barefoot. A podiatrist bought a house nearby and she marched over there with one of my smaller barefoot cousins in tow (he was too small to run fast enough from her). She pointed at my cousin’s feet and said, “They could step on a nail and with how dirty their feet are, they could get an infection like lockjaw and DIE. Will you please tell their mother they must wear shoes?!”
The podiatrist dropped down to the ground, turned my cousin’s foot over, looked at the sole and said, “He’s got plenty of callus on this foot. A nail wouldn’t puncture it. Kids feet are tough and build up a callus quickly. They’re fine going barefoot.”
Heh, heh, heh.
|by Anonymous||reply 4||June 18, 2018 4:26 PM|
My family was a strange mix. My father's side was blue collar but well-educated as they all went to a private Catholic school and did well. But the family didn't have the money for college so no one went, which was fairly typical for back then. My mother's family was middle class white collar, again well-educated. My mother got a scholarship to college in the 1950s, but her father was terribly sexist and said women should get married and have a family so she went to work right after high school.
My mother and father worked in factory jobs because that's all there really was in our area. It was mostly blue collar, then there were the professionals (doctors, lawyers) and business owners (small and larger) who made up the upper middle class that were the elite in the area. We really didn't have anyone who was really wealthy.
By the time I was a pre-teen, both my parents had well paying blue collar factory jobs and we were pretty solidly middle class. I went to the same private school as my father and got a great education. I went to college then grad school. Now I'm an upper middle class white collar professional. All those factory jobs are now gone and the area I grew up in is economically depressed with a dwindling population. It's depressing to go back home and visit.
|by Anonymous||reply 5||June 18, 2018 4:28 PM|
Born in the 90's and grew up working class (blue collar). We moved a lot, didn't always have running water and/or electricity and my parents never finished high school (couldn't afford to since they had to support themselves). I noticed early that my friends had funnier toys and better housing (richer blue collar or white collar working class), but I didn't understand how affected I was by class and capitalism until I met actual middle class people (with parents who where educated, perhaps teacher or nurses) and they viewed themselves as poor.
|by Anonymous||reply 6||June 18, 2018 4:31 PM|
Middle class, but we lived like paupers. My father was very frugal.
|by Anonymous||reply 7||June 18, 2018 4:38 PM|
Middle class in a very wealthy community. It made me work like a dog to be successful. Personal life is another story.
|by Anonymous||reply 8||June 18, 2018 4:39 PM|
My parents were immigrants. While upper class in their own country, we were lower middle class growing up. They instilled in us a passion for learning and education, so all the kids grew up to be professionals in the 1%.
|by Anonymous||reply 9||June 18, 2018 4:46 PM|
Poor. We relied on a lot of help from my grandma and if it wasn't for her things would have been a lot worse. She bought all of my and my brother's clothes, shoes, and basically anything we needed, even food sometimes. My mom always quit or got fired from whatever job she had and we even got evicted once. Things got a bit better when she married my stepdad, but we were still pretty poor compared to most people. I go to college part time and pay for it myself. I'm still poor and pretty much live paycheck to paycheck.
|by Anonymous||reply 10||June 18, 2018 4:53 PM|
Lower middle class (with a single mother). My father became upper middle class after the divorce however, which caused lots of tension.
|by Anonymous||reply 11||June 18, 2018 5:00 PM|
poor in an upper middle class town which was the first suburb built in the US
|by Anonymous||reply 12||June 18, 2018 5:02 PM|
We were upper middle class growing up, then became upper class in my mid teens when my father had huge success in business. Our relatives are mostly lower middle or middle class, with one upper middle class aunt & uncle. We lived in an upper middle class community, but my parents taught me to be discreet about our newfound wealth after we became wealthier. Because of that training most people have no idea my family has wealth unless they know or meet my parents.
|by Anonymous||reply 13||June 18, 2018 5:04 PM|
I'd imagine some of these people saying poor were probably lower middle class.
If you didn't receive food stamps/EBT, you probably weren't actually poor.
|by Anonymous||reply 14||June 18, 2018 5:06 PM|
r14 you're right. we didn't receive any benefits so we probably were lower middle class, just seemed like we were poor compared to everyone else.
|by Anonymous||reply 15||June 18, 2018 5:07 PM|
When I ate dinner at a schoolmate’s house in HS I realized the socioeconomic differences I hadn’t noticed before. We ate hot dogs and beans at home for supper. Or half a pork chop, a tablespoonful of mashed potatoes and a tablespoonful of canned string beans.
My friend’s family had roasted meat and it wasn’t supper, it was “dinner.” Slices and slices of freshly roasted meat; there were potatoes and fresh vegetables. In fact, it was the first time I ever ate an uncanned vegetable. They had matching plates and glassware. No Flintstone jelly glasses, no plates picked up here and there with green stamps and no knives from the gas station. Then they had dessert! Just a regular family dinner and they got to eat dessert. By this time I had been stuffed to the gills with two slices of roast, two spoonfuls of mashed potatoes and some fresh vegetable. I couldn’t eat dessert or I’d throw up.
I was very skinny and attributed it to genetics. “I’ll bet you're one of those people who can eat anything and not gain weight.” I’d say “yes” because I did eat everything I was given at home, which was three small meals, no snacks, no desserts, no more than one flintstone glassful of milk at a meal (house rule. Don’t gobble your food or drink up all your milk because you’re not getting any more after that). I didn’t realize I was skinny because I was consuming no more than 600-700 calories a day.
I’ve spent well over $100k out-of-pocket on my teeth, which have been rotting out of my head since I was seven years old.
My parents would NEVER have accepted welfare (no food stamps in those days. Just welfare). An aunt with three kids used to go out on the bay every day clamming and crabbing to make enough money to feed her family. Her husband had been paralyzed in an accident and forbade any form of “charity.” Especially no government charity because the government might take your kids away. He made a sporadic income fixing cars from his wheelchair. If he had to get under a car, my aunt would lift him out of the chair and drag him there and back.
|by Anonymous||reply 16||June 18, 2018 5:28 PM|
Wow your uncle sounds tough as nails R16!
|by Anonymous||reply 17||June 18, 2018 5:47 PM|
We were on assistance sometimes, R14, and I was in the lunch program at school.
I was a skinny little kid too, R16.
|by Anonymous||reply 18||June 18, 2018 5:51 PM|
My aunt’s husband was a sadist, R17, but we won’t go into that.
|by Anonymous||reply 19||June 18, 2018 6:02 PM|
An increase of income doesn't place you automatically into the upper classes.
|by Anonymous||reply 20||June 18, 2018 6:05 PM|
Black upper-middle class. I wasn't that aware of other peoples' state. This was in DC many years ago...so it was also staunchly segregated....which didn't mean much to me because I lived in a community that served all my needs. Private Day school and boarding school spared me the affects of racialism. For the summer we went to our place on the Cape until my parents divorced, None of this meant my family escaped being dysfunctional.
|by Anonymous||reply 21||June 18, 2018 6:13 PM|
I grew up upper middle but my parents had that old money WASP attitude. Add to that my dad having a time ticking bomb of a medical problem which he beat the odds with common sense and medical knowledge. Grew up in a middle class neighborhood with just one sibling. However there were families near us that crammed 4-6 kids in those homes built mainly for 4. They also housed a grandparent or two. Both parents worked. Mom's didn't have the luxury of staying home. When I hit 14 and went to the roller rink in a nearby town I automatically fell in with kids from the upper classes. I've never looked back. I attended a private college with the likes of foreign royalty and aristocrats. Automatically fell in with them as well.
Years later researching the family tree I found aristocrats and minor nobility littered throughout. So I am convinced that these traits are inherited.
|by Anonymous||reply 22||June 18, 2018 6:19 PM|
Upper middle class, but both of my parents had grown up poor during the Depression, so they were cautious in how they spent money. My high school was both economically and racially diverse--and people from my area were probably seen as the rich kids by some. We weren't--I met real rich kids when I went to a small elite college. Beyond the obvious advantages, I'd say the long-term advantage is that I understand how much money I need to save and invest. I've never owned a new car, but, on paper, I'm a millionaire and will have enough for retirement.
|by Anonymous||reply 23||June 18, 2018 6:21 PM|
We were probably affluent by the town's standards but solidly middle class by any national or even regional yardstick. It was a small town where the company my Father ran was a major employer and this changed the dynamic. The game was that you wanted to give the impression that the company was stable and prosperous, but not too prosperous because that would lead down the path to unions, strikes, and higher wages. He drove a new car every year, but it was a Ford, and we ate out a lot (my Mother worked there too), but never belonged to the country club. If my parents wanted to splurge they went to Chicago or Kansas City or somewhere for the weekend. He always lived his life conscious of the fact that he had a role to play, and that role covered everything from the way he dressed (always a jacket and tie) to memberships in Rotary and the Chamber of Commerce. The town was always watching, always judging. Part of that was real and I'm sure part of it was his insecurity of growing up dirt poor during The Depression, but it served him well. Thinking back I can remember several other business owners who flashed their money around and it always ended badly.
By today's standards his income was kinda pathetic. In his best year he probably made 2 1/2 times what the guy on the factory floor made, and the tax rates back then (1960s) would have reduced that difference even more. The biggest advantages he had were the company car and the fact that we lived in a house my Grandparents bought back in the 1920's, so he never had either a car payment or a mortgage. He recognized that, so he forced himself to invest an equivalent amount of money every month which worked out really well for him down the road.
|by Anonymous||reply 24||June 18, 2018 6:24 PM|
Middle class. My Dad was an engineer and my Mom was a stay at home mom. They were wonderful people and we lived simply
They left my brother and I three million.
|by Anonymous||reply 25||June 18, 2018 6:25 PM|
Very much working class in terms of overall outlook but it was up and down. We lived in a caravan (trailer park) for awhile which I really enjoyed. It was very social, but my dad got lucky and we ended moving to a boring middle class suburb. That didn't last and for a few years the five of us lived in a 2 bedroom rented house. I don't romanticise or hate my upbringing but am always conscious that most of us are two pay cheques away from poverty. I get a bit annoyed when people talk about frugality, as if being frugal or 'living within your means' is the way out of poverty. You can't save money if you don't have any. My parents were simply 100% subject to the economy and things way out of their control.
|by Anonymous||reply 26||June 18, 2018 6:28 PM|
Lower middle class. We lived and went to school in a cluster of three towns.
We were in the middle. The next town over was poor white trash, and a few miles down the road was a rich town. Our school had those three groups in conflict all the time. We were on a national news program 25 years ago and had a large scale violent school event just a few years ago.
My father was the only one working, otherwise we might have been mid to upper middle class. We didn't have tons of extras - we were the last to get a VCR and the like - but I never went hungry, never wanted for medical care, never didn't have basics.
|by Anonymous||reply 27||June 18, 2018 6:29 PM|
|by Anonymous||reply 28||June 18, 2018 6:30 PM|
Middle class but my parents came from poverty with a grade school education and worked long hours to lift our family up. I was a latch key kid who made my own supper but I never lacked for food, clothing, shelter, a tv in the living room, and some decent toys. I got my butt whipped if I came home with a bad grade on my report card.
|by Anonymous||reply 29||June 18, 2018 6:31 PM|
Upper class-two cars, large house and a telephone back in 1960s rural Ireland, father was a professional. Never thought of it as a class, just that we had more than most and parents saw to it that we understood that there were many who had little or nothing. Played with all the other kids in the town. We were quite fortunate.
|by Anonymous||reply 30||June 18, 2018 6:34 PM|
When I was growing up it felt like everyone was the same. It was the 70s - even rich people back then weren't flamboyant like they are now.
That said, we were some form of upper-middle class ... technically. My mom was a corporate attorney and eventually became a diplomat for the UN. My dad was a radically talented art director/graphic designer and worked for big agencies. Mom's family was rural wealthy. Grandad had a law firm in Michigan and the family had oil leases all over Michigan, North Dakota and Montana. My dad was an orphan but got adopted at a young age by a rich Park Ave family.
However, we drank powdered milk all through my childhood and had a ton of bread in the freezer. My mom absorbed all of her parent's post-depression thriftiness. And our house was an old lopsided Victorian that always had a weird smell to it. Dad drank his career away and then fled back to NYC where he lived a modest life in a small apartment until he died.
My mom traveled all the time for work so I ate mostly sandwiches and frozen pizzas and White Castle hamburgers growing up. So yeah - not very fancy to say the least.
It wasn't until recently that I discovered my mom has a pretty fucking massive trust fund which she *refuses* to touch. She reuses paper towels, hordes food and I always pick up the bill for us when out to dinner. I figure I'm getting all of that at some point, so I deal.
|by Anonymous||reply 31||June 18, 2018 6:40 PM|
R31, Have fun with it. My mother died first and my father pretty much spent the estate on the gold-digger second wife and bad investments. When my mother died, the estate was worth about a million, when my father died, I got $40K. I'd have gladly picked up dinners in exchange for the $300K I would have inherited if my father hadn't been a spendthrift.
|by Anonymous||reply 32||June 18, 2018 7:05 PM|
I grew up very blue collar/working class. Neither of my parents made a lot of money, but both worked steadily for their whole lives and never spent much. After my dad died last year at 79, I helped my mom add up all their investments, which she had never done. All told, they had between two and three million at the time of his death. I had no idea they had put away so much. Now I'm encouraging her to use some of it to make herself happy - new appliances, a new condo, etc.
|by Anonymous||reply 33||June 18, 2018 7:11 PM|
I always thought we were upper/middle class growing up in suburbia. But now that I'm older and see how many wealthy people there are, I realize now that we were probably lower middle class. There's the 1% (Safra, Rothschild etc.) and then there's a whole slew of people who are VERY rich. They're the upper middle class. Today, most people are either poor or working class.
I wish I was rich.
|by Anonymous||reply 34||June 18, 2018 7:19 PM|
Poor/working class. My father's family was quite wealthy-big house, stables, tennis court. His father pissed it all away. Long, long gone by the time we appeared. My mother came from a tiny dirt poor farming family. Everything she had in life she got it herself (her older brother got the farm, such as it was) no help, no hand outs, nothing but years of hard work on top of raising five kids. She hated rich people! Or maybe, more accurately, she was resentful of the easy, blithe, entitled confidence a lot of rich people have.
|by Anonymous||reply 35||June 18, 2018 7:26 PM|
We were lower middle class -struggled to pay bills -living in a middle to upper middle class area. Always strived to act upper middle class (the preppy handbook helped) but lived with my parents constantly fighting about money and not having as much as others (which we hid). . I had to work for my dad cutting lawns after school and all summer starting at12 - when all my friends were playing or at the pool. Have been bitter about that my whole life. Got a good education - good college, grad school - and well paying job. But have hated my job and working every day for 25 years - but persevered because I’m terrified of poverty and desperation. I hate capitalism.
|by Anonymous||reply 36||June 18, 2018 7:27 PM|
Strictly blue collar in the Midwest right as the belt rusted off.
The area was so poor, we didn't even have Jewish people to blame for the deep state.
The area was so poor we didn't have white flight; we just had flight.
The area was so poor it made Hinsdale look fancy.
|by Anonymous||reply 37||June 18, 2018 7:39 PM|
Income wise we were probably one of the more well off families in town. My father had the most amazing cushy job, very Mad Men-ish. But the income was spread too thin because my parents had lots of children - they liked sex and hated birth control - and my father had 2 more out of wedlock, one of which he was required to support. And because there were occasional court costs related to my parents' drinking. I have a criminally insane brother, and there were expenses related to that until parental rights were severed. And there was the drinking to pay for. So a $60,000 family (this was in the 70s - my father was making $100K by the early 1980s) lived like a $20,000 family. We had only the basics.
|by Anonymous||reply 38||June 18, 2018 7:48 PM|
[quote]I always thought we were upper/middle class growing up in suburbia. But now that I'm older and see how many wealthy people there are, I realize now that we were probably lower middle class. There's the 1% (Safra, Rothschild etc.) and then there's a whole slew of people who are VERY rich. They're the upper middle class.
Yeah that isn't how it works. Or else someone like Robert Downey Jr would look at someone like Jeff Bezos and try to claim "now he is rich, I'm only upper middle class".
There is always some class of people who make more money than you, that doesn't mean you don't have more money and are well off compared to a lot of Americans. The median household income in American is 60k.
Those people who live those relatively well off suburban lifestyles are very much the definition of upper middle class.
|by Anonymous||reply 39||June 18, 2018 7:53 PM|
Hey R39 I would argue that Robert Downey Jr. is only upper middle class, compared to the many VERY wealthy people there are in this world. Yes, I know that there are many more who are very poor... I guess what I'm saying is that the middle class is disappearing. And most of us in it are relatively poor.
|by Anonymous||reply 40||June 18, 2018 7:56 PM|
At the time, (NYC in the 70’s and 80’s), I would have pegged us as “regular middle class”, but as I grew up and matured, I realized that wasn’t the case. Your perceptions are always colored by your surroundings, so knowing what was considered poor and what was considered rich, I just viewed us (and our friends, extended family) as regular good old middle class, when in actuality we would have probably been looked at as upper middle to upper class.
Thinking about it now, it’s kind of embarrassing to think I was ever so innocent. We didn’t have maids or anything and both my parents had careers. My parents weren’t cheap as such, but were careful with money. We were taught to use ledgers to keep track of any money we got (allowances, gifts, jobs) with 10% to less fortunate (usually something with the church) and 40% into our passbook savings accounts. We were also made to volunteer from a young age. Leftovers were always used, hand me downs made the rounds of all the cousins, one TV and one telephone. It was also drilled into us to never talk about money - I though it was because we didn’t much! One set of grandparents lived on Fifth in the upper 80’s, the other set off the Park on the Westside. Both sides had beach houses out East where most of our summers were spent. We lived in a 4 bedroom apt on the UES my mother still rattles around in. See? How could I not know - we definitely weren’t rich (I knew rich kids, families - their lives were not like ours at all) but I should have known we were, I guess, privileged at the very least.
Most of my aunts and uncles moved out to the burbs in the 70’s - with their big houses, huge yards, some with pools, I thought they were the “rich ones” while we were still in apartments (co-ops really) and stuck in the City.
I guess it’s a good thing I viewed us as middle class - I managed to grow up without the baggage and without any snobby pretentiousness. I’m fairly comfortable now, and like to think what I do, who I help is a reflection of that innocence I had. Don’t get me wrong, I know I have more than most, and yes, I do spoil myself — but I don’t flaunt, and still never talk about money. I’d wager most of my friends would be surprised at what I have and give away.
|by Anonymous||reply 41||June 18, 2018 7:57 PM|
I knew a lot of others who did the opposite, R38. I was middle class but many of my friends had money. I soon found out about half of the people I thought had money were in debt up to their eyeballs. One friend's parents drove a Mercedes and BMW, my friend drove a hand-me-down BMW, her brother a hand-me-down Volvo, and her father also had a sports car. They lived in a really nice house in an upscale area of town. They were constantly redecorating the home. Her parents declared bankruptcy several times, and ultimately moved down South and retired with next to nothing. I think they live off Social Security now. The parents basically would open new businesses and spend, spend, spend, then declare bankruptcy every 7 years or so.
Another prominent family had a huge house, all three daughters had new cars, the father drove a BMW and got a new one every year (so probably leased), the mother always had some 80s version of a behemoth SUV, always went on awesome family vacations to Hawaii, Europe, etc. Turned out the father was embezzling from his company the whole time. He went to jail, the mother divorced him and had to get a job working retail, and all the girls lost their fancy cars.
|by Anonymous||reply 42||June 18, 2018 8:01 PM|
[quote]I would argue that Robert Downey Jr. is only upper middle class, compared to the many VERY wealthy people there are in this world
And therein lies the problem, someone who is worth hundreds of millions is unquestionably rich, even though there are people much wealthier than him. You are only comparing to the tippy top, which is meaningless in "real world" terms to how most people live.
Linked are the class divisions in America.
|by Anonymous||reply 43||June 18, 2018 8:03 PM|
Here are the current boundaries for middle class
|by Anonymous||reply 44||June 18, 2018 8:07 PM|
R37 But....Hinsdale IS fancy.
|by Anonymous||reply 45||June 18, 2018 8:30 PM|
Dear Mother's clan were of French-Anglo extraction: prosperous landowners and developers who had acquired substantial capital over generations in the South and who enjoyed the finer things. Her lifestyle changed considerably, though, when she met Dad at U.
Dad, with his stern, chilly Calvinist-Midwestern roots. Such piety. So drab. So they brought us all up as these quiet, solidly haute bourgeois types in the burbs when in fact, we all had pots of money--scandalous amounts of money--at least at the time.
Of course, that's nearly all gone now, but that's another story.
|by Anonymous||reply 46||June 18, 2018 9:02 PM|
We were solidly in the middle class. Growing up in a farm town in the Upper Midwest in the '80s - and living in town instead of a farm - got me labeled as one of the "rich kids" in my class. But even at that time, I knew we weren't actually rich.
My dad is a real estate agent - still working at 70! - and my mom left teaching when I was born to raise me and then my sisters. Once my youngest sister was a few years into school, my mom opened a small business, which was never much more than a break-even proposition.
Dad was a bit of a risk-taker and he took a beating on a business venture in the mid-80s. He ended up having to borrow about 10 grand from my mom's stepfather, and I can still remember my parents having several fairly heated discussions beforehand about whether it was the right thing to do. So there were about three years in my early adolescence where we skipped the big annual family vacation in favor of what my parents liked to call "regional trips."
Dad's career really exploded in the mid-90s, just after me and my sisters were out of the house. He bought a bunch of cheap rural property in a couple towns just ahead of when they exurbanized, and made a lot of dough selling it all off to developers for subdivisions. My folks are more upper middle now - their current house is way nicer than the one I grew up in - and they left me behind in the middle class!
|by Anonymous||reply 47||June 18, 2018 9:23 PM|
It is funny how it's about the town you grew up in. In my town, we were middle class. In my cousin's town which was lower middle class to poor, I was considered the "rich" cousin because we could afford the latest styles in clothes. I used to laugh when my cousin's friends referred to me as rich when I went to a private school where those kids had huge homes, went on wonderful vacations, etc. It's all a matter of perspective.
|by Anonymous||reply 48||June 18, 2018 9:27 PM|
I was pretty poor. Not durfur orphan, we had food and a roof, but hardly any extras
|by Anonymous||reply 49||June 18, 2018 9:39 PM|
Interesting getting a glimpse into DL brethren. More of us claiming "poor", "lower class" than I would have thought. Like some here, raised by penny pinching WASPs. I had no idea if we were rich or poor. Private school, Ivy League but parents always let us know "what a struggle it was" and that those privileges "could evaporate in a heart beat". Made me study hard. Work hard.
|by Anonymous||reply 50||June 18, 2018 9:39 PM|
Middle class, but messy. My mother's family was small-town rich. She grew up with live-in servants, went to private school, dressed well and traveled. While she was away at college, the family business collapsed, her father committed suicide, and her mother and remaining children, while not impoverished, lived substantially reduced lifestyles. Neither my mother nor her mother knew how to cook at that point. If they money had continued, my mother probably would have married well. She was beautiful, as was my grandmother once.
Instead, she married my father, a college professor. He was smart and funny and thrilled he'd married a knockout. Unfortunately, my mother had no idea how to run a middle-class home, had no work ethic, and felt quite entitled to the finer things in life. My brother and I were educated and expected to go to college. We socialized with middle-class to upper-middle-class friends and families of my parents. But our lives were chaotic. We were strangely neglected for the children of two parents who should've known better. I can remember being sent home from school because my parents hadn't kept my immunizations up to date. My teeth were rotting out of my head by the time I was in my teens. My older brother went to camp one summer, while I was deposited with my father's parents and my parents went on vacation. My grandparents got a call from the camp because my parents had neglected to pick my brother up from camp. My father was John Smith Jr. while my grandfather was John Smith Sr., so the camp was able to track them down.
My grandparents were furious with my parents. When they came back from their vacation, they were reamed for having been so irresponsible. And all that happened was that my father started avoiding his parents.
So, my brother and I have weird damage from our upbringing. I'm a lawyer, he runs his own business. We have upper-middle-class social markers mixed with emotional scars you'd expect from white-trash families. People misread my background often. I'm told from time to time: "I just can't figure you out." And I don't want to lay all this on people who don't know me well. An anonymous forum is much more therapeutic.
|by Anonymous||reply 51||June 18, 2018 10:09 PM|
Upper lowver-class. I always wore hand me downs. With patches on my clothes. I was told patches were fashionable.
With seven kids, at dinner time, if you weren’t fast grabbing the good food, you were stuck with brussel sprouts.
In adolescence, my folks started accumulating money. They did well and died at lower-upper class.
|by Anonymous||reply 52||June 18, 2018 10:42 PM|
r41 your parents did you a great favor. becoming a spoiled rich brat benefits no one. I hate when I see grown children who were given everything and believe the entire world revolves around them and they give nothing back. That is a waste of life.
|by Anonymous||reply 53||June 18, 2018 11:39 PM|
My origins are working class. My Dad worked in a factory, and sometimes got a second job as a night porter when the factory workers were on strike. He'd bring me and my brother with him when he worked as a night porter, and each of us would have an assignment (vacuuming or emptying waste paper baskets) to earn our tiny allowances. My Dad's father worked in a factory, too, cutting fabrics for dresses (they used this huge saw to cut out the patterns). I'm a German-American Catholic, so my parents sent me to Catholic schools, which (of course) cost them money, but both of my parents strongly believed in the value of a good education. Both my parents were very intelligent, but they only had high school degrees, since they both had to work to support their families, even before they graduated.
Growing up, my neighborhood had German Catholics, like my family, but also Appalachians and African-Americans. I was actually saying "gurl" and "chile" back when I was 11 (1972), having picked it up from the black girls, who let me join their Double-Dutch games on the playground. My family was considered upper class, at least in my neighborhood. But my grade school shut down after I completed 7th grade, and we had to go to a different school. There was only one Catholic school nearby that would take me, my brother and sister as a group, so that's where we went. It was in an affluent neighborhood, and it was there that I realized not only was I gay, but also that I was low class. The kids made fun of my hand-me-down clothes, my working class accent (with borrowings from my black and Appalachian neighbors) and my unashamed effiminate nerdiness. It was in 8th grade that I tried to hurt myself.
I had skipped a grade back in grade school, since I was a straight-A student. Not so in my new school. I suddenly became a C student, and had to go to summer school, while my brother was held back. Anyway, my brother and sister were the first members of our family to earn degrees. I never did. I only have a high school degree, and went to work full-time at 16, when I graduated. I've taken some college courses over the year, and have always done well, but right now, I'm so preoccupied keeping up with my job (I'm an hourly worker, still) that I just don't have the energy to pursue a degree.
|by Anonymous||reply 54||June 18, 2018 11:54 PM|
I’m from a poor Jewish family, on both sides: my grandmother on my mothers side cleaned houses and my fathers mother did what she could, even being a wet nurse. My father was the first in his family to go to college and ended up with a good job while we were growing up. I’d say we’re were slightly upper middle class. As almost all jobs do, especially in retail, it collapsed and he opened a store that drained all their money. We ended up losing everything, including our house. Dirt poor. My dad took any job he could get, traveling around the country, getting fired here and there. My parents divorced, my mother working as a secretary, which she loved. Going from middle class to having less than nothing sort of fucked me and my brothers up. I’m thrifty and a super hard worker. I have enough for retirement I think.
We took care of my mom, until she passed away. I help support my dad now. I’m extremely jealous of my friends who will get an inheritance. My parents have only cost me money as an adult.
The final irony is that the cleaning woman we had, once a week for many years, also worked for a very prominent family in town. When he died, he left her some money, right about the time my parents had to get out of the house. She took our dog, because she was the only one who could.
|by Anonymous||reply 55||June 19, 2018 12:29 AM|
We were poor. Yes, there was always food on the table but my family of five lived in a one bedroom apartment. I remember once during a really hot summer, the AC unit in the bedroom went out and we had to move into the living room for the rest of the summer As we could not afford to replace it. We could not afford to eat out except for a fast food joint from time to time.
|by Anonymous||reply 56||June 19, 2018 1:28 AM|
[R55} You rarely hear of poor Jewish families. My childhood friend and I were both brought up upper middle class Blacks (which many Blacks called upper class) We both went to private schools...she was in boarding school in Europe until her parents came back to the States.
She sent her kids to the same private day school we went to...then her sons kept being invited to bar mitzvah parties as they and their buddies turned 12 and 13. She became frustrated because this was a year when they were ongoing parties...being spoiled they refused to take gifts that weren't fitting in their estimation...so she was spending between $200 an $300 per gift practically every weekend for both boys. In her frustration she said to me "Aren't there any poor Jews...they give one another walk in refrigerators for presents." My response was of course there are poor Jewish families they just don't celebrate them like Black people do . Interesting...no..?
|by Anonymous||reply 57||June 19, 2018 1:56 AM|
Middle class. I was aware of the working class from very young because some friends were in it. The rich from 12 or 13 when you notice some people have a lot more expensive versions of every thing and every experience I had.
|by Anonymous||reply 58||June 19, 2018 2:01 AM|
Odd upbringing...my dad was born in a beautiful small town on the water and his parents owned a restaurant. They were trashy addicts, but the tourists and townspeople sought my dad out and he got a great education, was the salutatorian in high school, moved away for college and never looked back. He owned a business and was friends with judges, glassblowers and everyone in between.
My mom was raised in a big working class Catholic family in Detroit. When my dad made money in the 70s and 80s, she was the one who was snooty. She divorced him in the 90s when I was 20 to marry someone with even more money.
I grew up middle class, and some years weren't great, but we did have a live-in housekeeper in the summer and other touches of wealth. My husband grew up in poverty so I keep a lot to myself.
I spent my 8th birthday on a plane to visit my favorite cousin and it became a thing to spend our summers together on my aunt's ranch. Never thought of horses as expensive, but realized later it was a luxury to be a "dandy."
I also had the best uncle. We flew to Chicago around Christmas every year so we could shop at Marshall Fields and hang out together.
We had access to a boat whenever we wanted, vacations, the ability to go to private school if we wanted...
But ultimately my dad had major ups and downs and we had food stamps when I graduated high school. I really believe you cannot really escape your familial upbringing. If I feel myself getting too far ahead, I feel guilty and sabotage my own finances to this day. It is stupid.
|by Anonymous||reply 59||June 19, 2018 2:24 AM|
R57. There are many poorer Jewish families, but education is so stressed in the house, that they often can get a lift. My great grandfather, who I knew well, was a janitor. My grand father was a tailor at a store, and after he passed away at 50, her second husband was a low level bookie.
My brothers and I aren’t rich, but we all got college educations and get by okay. My dad has no money but as and what we can give him.
I do joke that of all the Jewish families I had to be born into, I got a poor one.
|by Anonymous||reply 60||June 19, 2018 2:37 AM|
[quote] You rarely hear of poor Jewish families
True. I wonder if the father was gambling.
|by Anonymous||reply 61||June 19, 2018 3:47 AM|
[quote] I grew up very blue collar/working class. Neither of my parents made a lot of money, but both worked steadily for their whole lives and never spent much. After my dad died last year at 79, I helped my mom add up all their investments, which she had never done. All told, they had between two and three million at the time of his death. I had no idea they had put away so much.
R33, what kind of investments added up to $3million?
|by Anonymous||reply 62||June 19, 2018 4:17 AM|
I am female - was raised in a very upwardly mobile way. My parents were college educated. My mom came from a more refined back ground than my Dad - but my Dad's humble family really valued education and those three boys all made something of themselves, One a judge, one a Pharmaceutical Executive(Dad) and the other worked in Advertising and wrote copy for big clients - like the Pontiac Commercials with Tina Turner in them - My mom's side was full of successful people and all the males were ring knocking Masons that provided very well for their families. My parents got married, got successful, got divorced because of my mothers illness - and my brother and I ended up sort of strange marginal first family kids living with my dad and his second family after my mom died. Real or not, I felt - stigmatized by all this. It did not help that when I first sprang from the nest and struggled to be out on my own - this was a time I was being evaluated for mate potential by the kinds of men I should have partnered with - and was found lacking due to my circumstances. These guys though, went to school at places like Vanderbilt and Harvard - they wanted to vet me - but in the end they went for more submissive former sorority type women. Its interesting how acutely I felt this judgement and class status crossing over as mate selection was going on. It basically passed me by. I joined the military and married and divorced a couple of blue collar type men and I always felt so aware of how social status and ways that you are raised set a kind of expectation hard wiring in us - I was pushed out of being considered eligible in a certain social bracket only to feel self aware and uncomfortable when I tried very hard to marry "beneath" myself. All of it is bullshit. Its all cultural programming and it can seemingly be discarded on a whim, but yet it is not. How you are raised effects everything, what you were exposed to, how you talk, what your interests are. When my family fell apart in its strange way and my mom died and my dad sort of pushed me out of the nest of his provision - I was orphaned in multiple ways. Its a mind journey I still have not completely navigated.
|by Anonymous||reply 63||June 19, 2018 4:39 AM|
R62, sorry to hear about your Dad.
I don't know how this works for married couples, but if he were single, and you inherited, if you are in the US, then you should know that there would be no income tax liability on the investment gain or home appreciation. The value on both are “stepped-up”, so a stock Dad bought for $10 per share in 1980, and is now worth $100 per share, there is no income tax on the gain of $90 per share.
For elderly people with large investment gains, it’s sometimes better, for their heirs, for them to borrow money, if they need money, rather than sell investments, as tax is due on sales before death, but no tax on sales made after their death.
See a professional if this sounds applicable or interesting. .
|by Anonymous||reply 64||June 19, 2018 5:24 AM|
R63 I find what you wrote to be fascinating! I was also bred to aim "up" (lived in a fancy suburb, attended a Seven Sisters college) but my Third Culture Kid stigma and artistic bent repelled the WASP men fast and far. I was a Grateful Dead follower for quite a few years, and even *those* WASPs (and there were many) could sniff out that I was not "one of them." Sometimes I wish I was the subservient sorority type... life might be simpler.
|by Anonymous||reply 65||June 19, 2018 5:29 AM|
Poor, Middle Class, Wealthy.
I'm a white guy who lived in the Projects, immigrant parents became teachers and middle class. Mother died, father married into Fortune 500 family.
A crazy ride, but I'm grateful for experiencing all three.
|by Anonymous||reply 66||June 19, 2018 5:57 AM|
Oh come on. Judging by the White Trash Christmas thread there HAS to be more trash on the DL!
|by Anonymous||reply 67||June 19, 2018 7:37 AM|
Working class. Grew up on a ranch in Montana. We were very self sufficient. Most of what we ate was produced on ranch. My father was a harsh and violent man, who beat us often, but he did teach us a lot about ranching.
|by Anonymous||reply 68||June 19, 2018 8:12 AM|
My parents were both professionals, my father a mining engineer, my mother a professional musician - but I come from a Catholic family of seven children, and my mom was a stay-at-home mom until my little sister was in grade school, so money was tight. We also attended Catholic schools, so that decreased spending money even more. But as children of the 50's and 60's, we were very similar to the other families in our schools. (Big families, father as sole bread-winner). Catholic schools of that era also stressed non-materialism - everyone wore uniforms, no jewelry or fancy shoes were allowed, so there weren't obvious signs of different degrees of wealth. My mom was raised in relative affluence (even during the Depression), until her father died when she was 14, and then living was tight for her family. However, there were enough resources for all 5 children in that family to attend college. . My father was the child of a ranch hand in Montana, so his upbringing was hard-scrabble. However, his IQ was off the charts. He tested into a very good (and safe) job in the Army during WWII, (weatherman in Alaska) and then took advantage of the GI bill to get his degree. My siblings range all over the block in terms of wealth. My baby sister married into a wealthy family, but has an autistic child, so that takes a lot of monetary resources. My younger brother got in on the first tech boom of the 90's and retired young (under 40), just as that crashed, by selling his company for big bucks moments before it lost most of its value, but his Chinese wife insists that they live very frugally. My oldest brothers both were in high-end sales for years, but neither were good savers, so they are facing constrained retirements now. My oldest sister has bar-tended her entire life (functional alcoholic herself). Her husband is in construction, but spotty work. She's the poorest of us. My next oldest sister works in upper management for a major airline, and draws a very good salary, but she and her husband spend money very freely, plus they have a home (with a big mortgage) in a pricey Bay area suburb, so I suspect their retirement plan is to work until they are in their late 60's then sell the California home and move somewhere cheaper with the massive proceeds of the sale. I'm single and very frugal, but I gave up my academic career to care for my aging parents, so I work like a dog at multiple jobs as a professional musician to earn less than what I earned as a college professor 20 years ago. I own two rental homes, have some stocks and insurance policies, so unless things go really south, I won't starve in my retirement, but it won't be plush. I consider myself middle middle. However, as a musician, I am frequently a guest in the homes of the very rich and the upper upper middle-class, and have been since childhood. They know that I work for a living, but I'm sure they're not fully aware of the gulf between their economic status and mine, because my education matches theirs. I just smile and enjoy it all - I'm not obligated to reciprocate their hospitality, so I just bring a bottle of wine or some flowers and eat and drink to my heart's content. LOL
|by Anonymous||reply 69||June 19, 2018 9:03 AM|
Oh, it's been a rollercoaster, Miss OP! The dizzying highs, the terrifying lows! And the odors--oh, the odors! Wait, what we were talking about?
|by Anonymous||reply 70||June 19, 2018 9:48 AM|
Lower middle class. My father was a sergeant in the Air Force until he left the service in his early 40’s when I was in high school. He never worked much after that. My mother stayed at home until I was around 7 or 8 and then worked as a bank teller. We were always comfortable, but there were never extras like vacations, eating out, or activities outside of school that would have cost extra. After ages 10 or so, presents for birthdays and Christmas ended too.
I grew up with only one sibling until my parents ended up having two more kids while I was in high school. This led to my mother not working for a few years and us living only on my father’s smallish military pension. As a result, in my senior year of high school, my family was officially below the poverty line. Fortunately, I had summer and after school jobs for spending money and clothes, so I didn’t feel like a total loser. But I went to a city-wide college prep high school and most of my friends from different parts of the city lived considerably better than me, Much nicer homes, cars for them at 16, etc. Some spoke casually about summer vacations to Europe or summer programs at east coast prep schools (particularly unusual because I lived in Arizona at the time).
The most important thing I did with money from my jobs in high school was pay application fees to big name private colleges. My father thought I was insane for even applying to these places, but he didn’t know anything about scholarships and financial aid. Between my academic credentials and my family’s low income, I got a nearly free ride for college at the University of Chicago. This set me up to continue on to law school and thus to an income and lifestyle now that are solidly upper middle class.
|by Anonymous||reply 71||June 19, 2018 11:58 AM|
We lived in an affluent executive community but my parents were from working-class backgrounds and never forgot it. (My father was a highly educated GM executive and my mother was a stay-at-home wife. Their fathers were steel mill workers.) We were the frugal, oddball Democrats in the neighborhood. My classmates were spoiled, but I never was and am grateful to my parents for that.
|by Anonymous||reply 72||June 19, 2018 12:40 PM|
Lower middle class. Very much aware of it. In that zone you’re desperate to distance yourself from “working class,” but acutely aware, as anyone is, of struggling to strive above your class. Parents came from a working class background and both were very aspirational. It was drilled into us that we would go to college and succeed where they didn’t/couldn’t. Today I am solidly middle class, possibly upper middle to some, based on my income.
Through all of this I still hate rich folks.
|by Anonymous||reply 73||June 19, 2018 2:16 PM|
Upper middle class in a wealthy suburb on the East Coast.
My parents were (and still are) obsessed with money. Gotta have the best country club(s), luxury cars, nice clothes, big house, vacation home(s), no debt. They obsess over the stock market and bitch and moan if they "lose" any money also to hear them bitch and moan when they have to pay for home repairs, taxes, etc enough to make me vomit. They suck up to other, richer people and complain about being "poor" compared to their friends who have a nicer vacation home or belong to one more club or whatever the competition is.
They're both miserable f*cks and not surprisingly have bad relationships with other family members and their children.
|by Anonymous||reply 74||June 19, 2018 2:29 PM|
I'd have to say bohemian, in the old-fashioned sense of the word (i.e., not "boho"). This was back in the Soviet Union during the Stagnation era, when pretty much everybody was lower middle class income-wise, but my parents were successful freelance artists. Sometimes this meant no money at all, but normally they made 10 times what the average citizen was making. In true Soviet fashion they'd spend it all, so life was one big party for them - theaters, nightclubs, seaside resorts and whatever else money could buy, which in the days of Socialism was admittedly not much. I, of course, was a privileged kid but had no sense of it - maybe because we left Russia when I was just 11. Here in the States my folks had always managed to find work as artists, and though they never rose above a lower-middle-class income they continued their spend-it-all lifestyle, which I think worked out great. We lived in cheap apartments and drove old cars and I went to public school, but we ate expensive food and Mom wore designer clothes and the walls were decorated with Versace plates and there were trips to Europe almost every year. And when my parents got too old to work, they of course got all the Medicaid and Section 8 benefits under the sun, since there's never been any property or assets to speak of.
|by Anonymous||reply 75||June 19, 2018 3:00 PM|
"[R33], what kind of investments added up to $3million?"
They bought the family house in 1963 for $12,000, paid off the mortgage in a few years, and it's worth around $200,000. Mom started buying bits of Fidelity Magellan sometime in the 1980s, and added when she could, which built up to $300,000 in Fidelity funds. When my dad became eligible for a 401k, he put in what he could, which added up to $400K. I graduated college and left home in 1986, so they had more free money to invest after that. They both continued working until my dad was almost 79, so they collected social security and pocketed that as well. They are a perfect example of how smallish amounts of investments can compound over time.
|by Anonymous||reply 76||June 19, 2018 6:06 PM|
My parents did not respect education and refused to send me to college. They didn’t have college educations, so why should I? Did I think I was better than they are? Did I think I was smarter than they were? As far as they were concerned they were just fine, so why should I want or deserve anything they didn’t have?
We never had a vacation (why should we? We lived in in the countryside). We never ate out (Why should we? Is our food not good enough?) we never did anything or went anywhere except to church and catholic school. I wasn’t sent to catholic school because my parents thought the education was better. I was sent there because there weren’t any black or Spanish kids in our catholic school in those days. So my parents wasted tons of money on school and on those two “regular” collection plates and the third collection plate for the special missionary fund, which was probably in a mostly black or mostly Spanish speaking country.
|by Anonymous||reply 77||June 19, 2018 6:36 PM|
I always thought we were basically middle class, only later did I realize that that was relative to where I grew up. We lived in a upper middle class/wealthy town outside of Boston. In retrospect everone in town was well off. My parents were children of the depression, and my father's family was ancient, dour New England skin-flint WASP's, so they were very careful with money, the house and cars were paid for in cash, nothing was bought on credit. There was money to keep us in blue blazers and weejuns, my sister went to boarding school, and we both went to exclusive private colleges. There weren't lavish vacations, lots of eating out, or other luxuries, but there were still tennis, swimming, and riding lessons. My parents were much more frugal than my peers parents, so there wasn't a country club membership, or a second home, but we still had it pretty good in retrospect, and I've been more responsible with my own finances as a result of their example.
|by Anonymous||reply 78||June 19, 2018 8:43 PM|
Interesting stories and looks into DLers' lives.
|by Anonymous||reply 79||June 20, 2018 5:59 AM|
middle class, I guess; we always had money for clothes; we took trips; when we wanted something big we were told it'd have to wait till birthday or Christmas but we'd get it. My sibs and I all went to good / name/ expensive colleges; we didn't get scholarships ; paid off what few student loans there were within five years of college.
Mom worked; we had a nice house.
The only thing missing was dad. I often thought what I'd give to have a dad and if it meant living in the really poor part of town well, that'd be okay.
|by Anonymous||reply 80||June 20, 2018 6:06 AM|
Dirt poor. My grandparents had 10 kids in 14 years 1950s and 1960s) and then they raised me, all in a 600 square foot house. All of my aunt's and uncles are moved out by the time I came along. Only 1 of them finished high school, although several did get their GEDs later on. Around 1990 I remember seeing my grandfather's disability check and was amazed at how much he got -680 a month! It seems ridiculous now. We got running got water in 1997 when I was 17 and a color TV in the early 90s.
I'm still the only person in the family who went to University, of all my 20 cousins. And now I'm a professor. There's a lot of subtle resentment.
|by Anonymous||reply 81||June 20, 2018 6:48 AM|
*running hot water
Other errors too...
|by Anonymous||reply 82||June 20, 2018 6:49 AM|
We were middle, middle class. Dad was a high school teacher and mum a homemaker. We were a one car, one TV, one bathroom family, but no serious money problems. It helped that my parents enjoyed stuff like fishing, gardening, home bottling and sewing, so we always lived a bit better than dad's income alone could do. It also helped that my grandparents had a cottage in the backyard of their seaside home, so plenty of holidays.
I doubt even the best managers could raise five kids comfortably on a single teacher's wage these days.
|by Anonymous||reply 83||June 20, 2018 7:12 AM|
Lower middle class. Own house summer house by the sea, mum stayed at home, dad worked for the city and did lots of extra after working days. We always had everything I needed. Everyone I knew came from same kind of families. At high school I noticed there are wealthy people. My parents taught us to save save save, educate ourselves and to have a career. I’m not rich or wealthy, but middle class, able to take 6 to 10 trips to abroad yearly, fly first class and stay in excellent hotels plus to save money for old age.
|by Anonymous||reply 84||June 20, 2018 8:05 AM|
I've enjoyed this thread and the responses within OP. Its interesting insight in the the value systems of others that leak through despite the amount of money.
|by Anonymous||reply 85||June 21, 2018 4:53 PM|
We were middle middle class. Even when my parents made quite a bit more money and we were quite comfortable, we never made it even so to upper middle class.
|by Anonymous||reply 86||June 21, 2018 4:56 PM|
|by Anonymous||reply 87||June 21, 2018 5:05 PM|
Papa worked but his check was small. Mama sewed just to help us all. And our old house sure needed paint! And when it rained the roof would leak.
Well, the teacher's pet was Susie Grouth, born with the silver spoon in her mouth: Miss Goody Two-shoes in a sorority! And I was Little Miss Nothin' ,and they thought of me as
The girl most likely
Yea yea yea !
The girl most likely
To wind up in a uh-huh jam!
They judged by the way I looked, not the way I am...
|by Anonymous||reply 88||June 21, 2018 5:19 PM|
Struggling to stay middle class on my fathers salary as a butcher. Both parents from dirt poor rural families. Always fights about money. Always on edge of losing everything. Parents were obsessed with us getting education and white-collar jobs - which we did.
40 years later I’m still terrified of poverty. Main topic of therapy. Feel like I’ll never have enough to be safe. And no inheritance - just endless bills for my mothers care. Life is unfair. Worked a miserable job all my life just to be comfortable enough to maybe retire - always at risk of a health crisis or other financial crisis. Better off than parents but rich and middle class people will never understand the scar of growing up in a house where fear of losing everything was constant.
|by Anonymous||reply 89||June 21, 2018 5:28 PM|
[quote] rich and middle class people will never understand the scar of growing up in a house where fear of losing everything was constant.
Yeah, R89. For me it was like living in the middle of chaos all the time, never knowing what would happen next, and sometimes even being blamed and told that things were easier before I came along etc...it sucked, still does because I'm still pretty poor. It's so hard to get out of it, I don't want to live the way I did, but trying to get through school is hard when there's no support from home and worrying about whether or not I'll ever get a good job.
|by Anonymous||reply 90||June 21, 2018 5:42 PM|
My parents we both children of immigrants, and both had fathers who drank away their pay. They knew poor. Good Catholics, seven kids in nine years. We lived in a small house in an iffy neighborhood, my dad worked construction and factory jobs, my mom stayed home. She believe in taking care of your teeth and your feet. We went to the local college with a dental hygienist program and had our teeth cleaned twice a year, and we each got new shoes at the beginning of the school year. We also got haircuts for free at the local beauty school. In the late sixties my dad landed a job at the post office, and we were one of the last families to join the white flight to the suburbs. My parents were very conscious of the affluence of the school district our new house resided in even though our house was the furthest out and the longest bus ride of anybody. Much like the poster above, my parents were very careful to make sure we didn't get 'big heads' or 'put on airs.' I remember getting a summer job mowing lawns to buy a pair of Levi's. My parents refused to spend money on 'labels', that was for rich people and that wasn't us. I remember coming back from winter break and the girl sitting next to me was telling her friend about spending her vacation in Switzerland skiing. Up to this point I thought skiing was only done in the Olympics. But we all ended up with good teeth and strong backs and unafraid of hard work. We are all now mostly solid middle class with careers like teaching and nursing, and most of us have some sort of college with two or four year degrees. Except for one brother. He is the phoniest of all of us, pretending to have a four year degree and a great career as a consultant when he really just lives off our mom.
|by Anonymous||reply 91||June 21, 2018 5:52 PM|
Fascinating thread. Thanks to everyone for taking time to share their stories.
Me? A little bit above middle in terms of money, higher in terms of activities -- in the sense that we went to lots of museums, art galleries, concerts of all kinds. My father was a college professor and my mother was a part-time, substitute teacher. So they weren't loaded, but they had relatively high-brow interests. My father's parents were dirt-poor, saved and worked hard for a long time, opened a small business that was successful, ended up with the nice house, Cadillacs, world travel, putting their kids through college. My mom's family was wealthy, thanks to her grandfather starting a business. She grew up on L.I. w. servants, though her dad ran the business into the ground. So her family was on the way down and my dad's family was on the way up when they met while attending Harvard and Wellesley.
Growing up, other kids around me always seemed pretty close in terms of their families' lifestyles, though it seemed like we did more fun, diverse, interesting stuff than most families.
Influences from all that? I'm okay for money and savings, have focused more on seeing the world and learning than on money, money, money. With all the travel in the family, parents encouraging me and my sisters to enjoy the big crazy world in all its diversity, I've managed to work and live in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, China, Kenya and Lebanon -- and this comes to you from Qatar.
|by Anonymous||reply 92||June 21, 2018 6:30 PM|
|by Anonymous||reply 93||June 21, 2018 6:42 PM|
R91, your mom was right about the teeth and the shoes. Just from that, I wasn't surprised that most of you ended up okay--your mother understood how to think long-term and passed that on to you. Planning ahead has a lot to do with how you end up financially.
|by Anonymous||reply 94||June 21, 2018 7:37 PM|
Anyone else have a dirt-poor Dad and a UMC Mother? It's been a uniquely challenging situation, to put it mildly.
Having seen their relationship, I know I'm very unlikely to ever get married. And if I do, I'll stay in my bracket.
|by Anonymous||reply 95||June 22, 2018 8:42 AM|
R95 I had a poor immigrant father (from Pakistan) and a upper class WASP mother who came from a very very rich family. They met in college and got engaged before dad met her family - and then he tried to break off the engagement because he felt that he would never be able to provide for her in the manner she was used to. Mom had to promise to never take money from her family in order to marry him. But, to give him credit, he did do very well and while he never became a millionaire, they did rise to the highest political and social circles in their state. The big drawback of their marriage was that dad was a bit of a tyrant who tried (unsuccessfully) to instill Pakistani values in his kids. Right now, only my dad and mom are still practicing Muslims and visit Pakistan regularly. The kids all rebelled, usually around college age when my sisters took off the hijab permanently. On the plus side none of the kids drink, unlike the alcoholics on mom’s side, and her share of the family inheritance is waiting for us in trusts.
|by Anonymous||reply 96||June 28, 2018 2:13 PM|
^^sorry, that should read “never became a billionaire”. My dad is a millionaire several times over.
|by Anonymous||reply 97||June 28, 2018 2:15 PM|
Nouveau rich...my parents came from farming areas and moved to the city...little education and from very large families...they worked hard and got rich..I was the first kid in my neighborhood to get a professional cyclist bicycle, a calculator, to have a microwave and a TV color and later a BETA tape player in our home. We kids felt entitled and better than the other families because we had stuff that few people had. A Cadillac, trips to Jamaica, stables with horses...But now I know that it was only material things...we never got our father's love or attention...he just bought stuff never able to say that he loved us...maybe he just didn't...they had 4 kids...we are all pretty much all damaged in some way...
|by Anonymous||reply 98||June 28, 2018 2:31 PM|
[quote] I’m not rich or wealthy, but middle class, able to take 6 to 10 trips to abroad yearly, fly first class and stay in excellent hotels plus to save money for old age.
Bitch, that is not middle-class! Middle class folks take 2 vacations a year at most, rarely abroad and always in economy.
|by Anonymous||reply 99||June 28, 2018 6:17 PM|
Yeah that poster is not middle class r99. That is a very American thing, a great percentage of the population calls themself middle class than are actually middle class.
|by Anonymous||reply 100||June 28, 2018 6:29 PM|
dirt poor immigrants
|by Anonymous||reply 101||June 28, 2018 6:31 PM|
Penniless immigrants here too. Dad worked constantly manual labor - maniacally focused on us getting education and a white collar job. My mother bitched about not having new furniture and other luxuries that neighbors had. But dad would not let her work. We all have graduate degrees and are comfortably middle class. But none of us became the millionaires dad expected us to be. American born people don’t realize how easy they have it. But then being exposed to driven parents made us achieve - though with lasting scars of never being good enough.
|by Anonymous||reply 102||June 28, 2018 6:54 PM|
Solidly middle class but the area we lived in was more upper middle class so we always felt like we were poor.
|by Anonymous||reply 103||June 28, 2018 8:07 PM|
i would love to match up the posters with "were you a Gifted child" thread.
|by Anonymous||reply 104||June 28, 2018 8:19 PM|
I just wasn't aware of my standing growing up, I was very naive. I grew up in a small town with a beautiful lake...it is a town people love to live in. I thought the rich people had lake houses and those that didn't..were just normal people. We had a big farm...about 200 acres but we didn't farm it, we just enjoyed it, tons of dogs and beautiful gardens, a pool...we called it the farm. I went to a private school growing up, summer camp and traveled over school vacations. Spent the summer, when not at camp, at our other house. I began to realize things when I was in college. Turns out we were the rich ones, the farm was an estate and we didn't have a lake house because we had a summer house on the ocean. My parents were both well educated and came from money, but both had great jobs and worked hard...I just assumed everyone lived like us. I also work and have a great job, but my friends don't know that I have a trust fund and really don't have to work. I don't consider us the 1%, but both my grand parents would have been considered in the 1%.
|by Anonymous||reply 105||June 28, 2018 10:54 PM|