Aw, the 1% Feels Poor


There’s an UrbanBaby thread making its way around Internet circles, inspiring a sense of both depression and horror. It is about money, and how we feel about what we make, particularly in New York City, where we all seem to need a little bit more than people who live anywhere else. Despite the reminder not to judge in the thread’s title — “What’s your hhi and do you FEEL poor, middle class, upper middle class or rich where you live. No judging” — there is, most definitely, judging going on. But how can there not be when someone says (and, really, trolls or not, they did) that they are “poor” making $700,000 a year, or, “upper middle class” making 13 million a year?

Or, with statements like these:

180K Greenwich Village. I feel wealthy compared to most of the world. I feel like I am doing my child a disservice when she cried at age 4 because I told her we will NEVER buy a country house.

$350K, so, so, so poor. Not being dramatic or anything, really poor. We totally struggle every day. UES.

One’s sense of wealth is a relative phenomenon (like happiness). In the world of Manhattan private schools, someone with $250k of income is eligible for financial aid; in most places in the U.S., that person would be rich. As amazing as it sounds someone with $1m of income and a young family will feel strained keeping up with the Soros family in the UES (without inheriting a substantial balance sheet); they will be in the bottom half of their child’s peer group in terms of wealth. Are they middle class? No. Do they feel middle class? Yes. The key to happiness is being a big fish in a small pond (or at least defining your peer group in a way that rationalizes your perspective)

Last year 2mm, prior year 1mm, before that 475. Feel middle class

I’m always amazed at how people bash others on this board. my dh earns a little over 500k and i have always felt poor in nyc. i was probably one of the poorest if not the poorest in dd’s preschool class. in nyc 500k is not a lot of money. yes, i have ft nanny. i have 3 children under the age of 5. we manage to pay our bills. we are now living with no money in the bank as we were pushed out of the city and purchased a house for over a million dollars. we did minor renovations. minor became major as it cost much more than we anticipated. we can afford the small daily things. it’s the big stuff that becomes problematic. it’s easy to feel poor when so many are receiving help from family members to pay for nursery school or camp. overall, it’s easy to feel “poor” in nyc.

Rich people — feeling poor, just like the rest of us!

For the record, according to a recent Gallup poll that asked people how much annual income they’d need to consider themselves rich, almost half the people surveyed said they’d need $150,000 a year to feel rich; 23 percent said between $100,000 and $150,000 would do it; 12 percent said between $60,000 and $99,999 would; and 18 percent said less than $60,000 would be enough.

Also for the record, in 2009, per IRS statistics, you needed to make $343,927 to be counted as among the 1%.

We find it hard not to side with this commenter, regarding those who make that and still feel “poor”:

Then figure it out and get a grip on reality. You are somehow plowing through the GDP of a third world country every year. You have a problem if you don’t recognize that you are filthy rich. The vast majority of people in this country make about 1/33 what you make, so suck it up.