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Is one person's riches another's struggle street


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Poll: What is comfortable (253 member(s) have cast votes)

How would you rate your financial position?

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What is your combined family income?

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#1 CRose

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 08:32 PM

Ok, so I hardly ever post anymore let alone post a topic! But in the spirit of getting something interesting (to me at least) going I am going to try.

This is a question I have mulled over often while reading on the forum - it seems that people have extremely divergent ideas on what constitutes a wealthy person vs a poor person.

Asking someone how much they earn is vulgar in my opinion but I am interested in viewing it in context - I have recently come to the realisation that we actually earn just above average income but view ourselves as incredibly well off and blessed, however we don't have lots of excess cash to splash around so based on my poll I would classify us as comfortable.

I realise that the amount that makes you comfortable varies depending on cost of living but I couldn't add any more questions and for us at least we would earn the same in the city and cost of living would be much higher but I would still classify us as comfortable.



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#2 squidge

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 08:46 PM

We're ok, but not much left over but that's because of the choices we've made. We are by no means low income earners (well, he certainly isn't, I may well be classed as such) but we are currently paying off our own large house rather than renting, we are also paying off a car and plan to update the other one when it's paid off, so we definitely don't have to think about every penny but we're certainly not "well off" in my opinion!

#3 *Lib**

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 08:49 PM

We have money in the bank, we're comfortable, we'll be a lot more comfortable when we aren't paying a fortune in child support. But for now we are good, the benefits of slogging our guts out for our adult lives in a family business are starting to really pay off.
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#4 AK2

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 08:50 PM

Same. We are earning quite good money, but paying off bad financial decisions we made when we first got jobs and credit cards. Sigh. So thereby, 'just making do'

#5 Daybreak

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 08:52 PM

I classify us as comfortable (though that may have something do to with living with my parents. We have a combined income of 50,000-100,000. I'm not clear on exactly how much. I earn around 54,000 per year before tax, but I'm not sure of Andrew's annual gross income.
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#6 Jane Doe

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 08:54 PM

Thanks CRose for posting this, because I have often thought the same thing.

I think we fall somewhere in the middle of how we are managing, but our income is currently on the lower end of the scale.

I am a public servant, so I earn a decent wage for the job I do in the area we live in. Hubby on the other hand is a tradie - and probably in the the lowest paying one out there.

Hubby has just been signed off his second apprenticeship, so things have been tight in the last few years on adult apprentice wages, but in that time we bought our home, got married, went on an OS honeymoon, and been on a couple of interstate trips to visit family.

I think people very much live to their means. We have an extremely modest mortgage which enables us to still have money left over to live our lives. To have that compromise, we moved about 20-30mins away from the beach (where we were renting) to a new estate in a up-and-coming suburb. We also pay extra on our car loan to get rid of that as quick as possible.

For us, I can spend maybe $100-$150 a week on a one off, out of the ordinary purchase, but anything over we would have to save up for as we don't have credit cards.

That being said, we do go out for dinner at least once a week, plus have takeaway another night, I buy coffees a couple of times a week, hubby can have a drink watching the footy etc, so we aren't going without in any way either.


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#7 aChocLover

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 08:54 PM


I feel that we're comfortable, both of us are in secure jobs, paying reasonably well.
We are not as frugal as we should/could be, but we are certainly not living what I'd classify as the high life.

After tax, school fees, childcare, mortgages, utilities, super, private health, insurances etc., there's not much cash left TBH.







#8 Becca13

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 08:59 PM

We are comfortable, but things will most likely change when our new mortgage really kicks in.

We don't have a massive house, drive great cars, or pay private school fees which we could probably afford to do (if we wanted) but we're good the way we are.

#9 EJay

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 09:02 PM

I voted 'okay but not much left over' and we live in a one-income household - DH earns about $70,000 p.a. but I am a full time, self-funded student, and I don't work part time. I have, in the past, taught a few undergrad classes, and I suspect I will teach next semester, but this semester I wanted to focus solely on my MA thesis.

We are in the process of moving in with my parents for a few months, though this was slightly unplanned. We're moving to the UK in September and we were planning on staying in our rented flat in inner-Melbourne until we left. However, they raised our rent and we decided it would be easier to just move sooner.

We don't live an extravagant lifestyle, but we still do stuff - though since we decided to move OS we have radically changed our lives; we have friends over for dinner rather than go out, for example.
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#10 ellemjaye

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 09:06 PM

Ooooh! I like it! A substantial topic biggrin.gif

IMO we are talking relative wealth. So what you earn is really compared to what people in your demographic and geographic location earn. I live in Melbourne so it's hardly worthwhile to compare my income to that of someone in rural Tasmania (for example).

I don't consider my self in a comfortable financial position. I am only working 3 days/week and I am the sole income earner in my family of three. I pay (IMO exhorbitant but obviously well worth it!) childcare fees as well which along with the cost of the roof-over-my-head is my main expense.

However I am frugal and extremely financially savvy (side-effect of being an accountant I suppose tongue.gif) so have managed to accumulate some savings. In saying that I am supporting two children as well as subsidising my parents who have fallen on tough times recently. So I could have higher savings but at the cost of my conscience which, to me, wouldn't be worth it.

I guess the main reason I don't consider it to be comfortable as that if something happened to my earning potential then my family is screwed sad.gif

#11 -Megs-

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 09:13 PM

I think it depends a lot on your commitments. I'm a SAHM, DH isn't exactly a high earner BUT our mortgage is relatively low and we're paying off a personal loan for our car but we don't have credit cards. DH works shift work so some fortnights the budget is tight and others we have a decent surplus. So we're doing ok, I wouldn't say comfortable but we're certainly not struggling and there are areas we could easily cut back on if required (Foxtel, internet, cravings runs ph34r.gif ).

#12 ----

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 09:13 PM

We dont earn a lot but we dont really miss out. If there is something we really want to do we save for it.
We have a mortgage and a car loan and are paying extra off both, we dont have credit cards.

We dont miss out on anything really but we are not well off by any means, its just good juggling on my behalf

#13 beachgurl

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 09:16 PM

I think it really depends on where you are living. I read in the paper today about people needing to be on 100K plus to survive in Sydney. I don't know about anywhere else, but in Sydney, the longer hours they work the less commute you want to make. I moved from a very comfortable existence in the burbs to a still-doing-fine but not living the high life existence living closer to the city. So while we were making 200K+ between us, housing was more expensive and we were at the lower end of the scale in terms of wealth in that area. We had to budget and didn't go out to restaurants often.

Now we live in the burbs on a lesser income. To us it feels like we are tight on the budget but to others around here we'd probably look like we're doing well. Seeing a lot of wealth and the salaries of my previous bosses and the lifestyles they lead make us look like we struggle. But then on the other side of the coin there are others that struggle and think we're doing ok.

#14 ~ela~

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 09:22 PM

Yes people definately have different ideas as to what struggling is.

I would classify us as just getting by. We knew that dropping to 1 pay would be hard, 17 months down the track we cannot see light at the end of the tunnel yet but it will come eventually. The way I justify it to myself is we choose to pay a mortgage, have children, and choose for me to be a SAHM (I mean whose going to hire me at 7.5mths pregnant? laugh.gif ). We will do a few hard years of 1 pay coming in and then focus on upgrading our cars and making a dent on our mortgage when we eventually have 2 pays coming in.

Alot comes down to what we value/choose to do, what I mean by that is Brett could get a job working away, or even a 2nd job if he wanted to flog his guts out - but neither of us want that. His Dad worked in the Police force (and still does) and Brett remembers his Dad never being there for a Christmas, birthday, dinner. I am sure there is alot more to it than what we know, but before Ethan came along he said he wanted to be there for those things. I am not claming the force is like this now, it is merely how Brett remembers his childhood and therefore wants/wanted to spend as much time with our kids growing up as he can. So we deal with an average salary and Brett working night shift, but on the upside his shifts are flexible, he is 30 minutes from home, he is grateful to have work and he gets a decent amount of time with Ethan/family time.

I am grateful we made ''good'' financial decisions (in our eyes) when we had 2 pays coming in. Yes it was $hit scary getting a mortgage at 19 but we will be hopefully reaping some reward when we decide to upgrade houses. Sure we have no savings and we live week to week, but we are ''luckier'' than some people, as we are getting by. We don't have money to drink/take drugs (not that we want to do those things) and whatever else, but we make our mortgage repayments, are all clothed, have petrol in the cars, pay our bills, we eat well and that's enough for us atm.

But yes I would love a 6 figure salary laugh.gif

#15 CRose

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 09:24 PM

QUOTE(Kate S @ Jun 2 2010, 08:54 PM) View Post

I think people very much live to their means. We have an extremely modest mortgage which enables us to still have money left over to live our lives. To have that compromise, we moved about 20-30mins away from the beach (where we were renting) to a new estate in a up-and-coming suburb. We also pay extra on our car loan to get rid of that as quick as possible.


I agree - we have made similar choices, bought at the bottom end of the market although we could probably cover the mortgage of a much larger newer home. We have no other debt apart from our mortgage which we are paying off as quickly as we can - a break in work due to being on unpaid maternity leave has put us in a holding pattern for now. To be honest some weeks I have no idea where our money goes and it astounds me how we survived for so many years as students.

I probably would've classified us as just making ends meet when we earnt a combined income of $14 000 pa - that was living in the inner suburbs of Sydney but we were very very frugal!

These days if I want a new pair of shoes/dress etc I can usually buy it without too much thought but we still live to a budget to pay for bigger items.

QUOTE(ellemjaye @ Jun 2 2010, 09:06 PM) View Post

IMO we are talking relative wealth. So what you earn is really compared to what people in your demographic and geographic location earn. I live in Melbourne so it's hardly worthwhile to compare my income to that of someone in rural Tasmania (for example).


Agree that we should be talking about relative wealth - but I am actually interested in the figures as well - I guess Kate S made the point that to some extent people's choices about how they spend their money can change that. It is the point about relative wealth that I think is overlooked often when people are discussing how "wealthy" someone is - hence I wanted to know how people feel financially rather than how the tax man classifies them.



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