How Much Income Do You Need To Be Upper Class?

Although some people believe economic status is overrated; many people want to know how much income you need to be considered part of the upper class. Poorer people typically earn less than $30,000 per year while lower middle class individuals have incomes estimated at ranging from $30,000-60,000.

Based on the testimonials of Dr. Leonard Beeghley, a leading socio-economist, upper class income is the 1% of Americans that earn more than $350,000 per year. The money doesn’t necessarily have to come from your daily job, as upper class individuals are also those who make money from dividends, trusts, royalties, and numerous other sources.

Individuals with incomes above $100,000 per year may be considered lower upper class. This means that they have a comfortable moneyhouse in the suburbs, have one car, and are able to save for retirement but prefer to send their kids to public schools.  This type of lifestyle is considered a good life, although it’s not luxurious.

Other economists don’t agree that you need $350,000 to be considered rich, however an amount of money that exceeds $200,000 per year is enough for a family to lead a more than comfortable lifestyle; this means having the chance to live in a big house, send the kids to private schools, have enough money to travel internationally, own at least 2 cars, and have no debt except a mortgage which will help them build equity.

Income is the most prominent indicator that reveals economic status.  People with public notoriety such as inventors, political figures, celebrities and so on, are considered part of the upper class because of their social status as well, not just because of their annual income.

Executives on the other hand, CEOs and business entrepreneurs are considered part of the upper class strictly because of their economic achievements. Still, lawyers, doctors, economists can also be considered wealthy as long as their annual income exceeds $200,000. In their case, experience, hard work, and commitment to their jobs are critical factors that contribute to their social ranking.

Millions of people are workaholics and believe in order to provide a good life for their families; at least one person must have a well-paid job. Those that have an upper class income that comes from a career usually work 12 or more hours a day either as lawyers or physicians. In spite of the hard work, the $200,000 plus they receive per year allows them to enjoy a comfortable existence.

Many people believe that by living in an upper class neighborhood they are considered upper middle class; this is not true. It’s all about the money, and you can choose to live in Brooklyn if you want but if you make $500,000 then you’re definitely upper class.  When you’re an average individual, education, work experience, and age can also contribute to your status but it cannot define it. A doctorate for example, in a certain field, comes with many years of experience, and that experience can bring you over $100,000 per year depending on your chosen profession.

There are two different types of upper class individuals: those who have “old” money and those who have “new” money. Old money refers to an inheritance while new money is usually earned in the last couple of years. Robert Gordon, a social science professor at North-Western University, says that a lot of people in are not fully aware of their social status considering their tax returns, monthly expenses, and average spending amount per month.

Basically, if you make $100,000 per year but you owe $50,000 of this money to the state and you cannot lead a comfortable life, it’s impossible to be included in the upper class.

An upper class salary exceeds $300,000 per year and those who are part of this category live in high-end cities. New York City, NY, Santa Barbara, Alpine, and Ross, CA are among some the wealthiest cities in the U.S with some of the most high-end neighborhoods and master-planned communities.

The upper class comprises of 1 to 3 percent of the population, and it holds roughly 25% of its wealth. These individuals give to charities and their wealth is either inherited or earned. A lot of people often ask themselves; if I win $1 million in the lottery, will I become upper class? In terms of money; the answer is YES.

However there’s more to wealth than meets the eye. And as we have all seen time and time again, it’s what you do with the million that determines if you will truly be a part of those considered to have an upper class income.

Every citizen wants to achieve the American dream, have a well-paid job and climb the social rank. However, only those that dream big and then follow up with action are able to do that. Some believe the nation’s economy is living proof that upper middle class status is achievable to anyone ambitious enough to go after it, but personally I’m not sure I believe that. What do you think?

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