$2000 a month (24k!! a year) on preschool to give their kid a leg up on going to a $35k a year grade school & high school?!?
$70 per DAY on food because you can't be arsed cooking?
They factor in 8K for vacations and another 6K per year for date nights?!?
And then it ends with this stunner:
> According to the U.S. Census Bureau, less than 5% of households earn $350,000 or more a year.
> While $350,000 might sound like a lot of money, it’ll go quickly when you’re raising a family in an expensive city. We all deserve to live a middle-class lifestyle. Unfortunately, we’ve first got to sacrifice more than ever to get there today.
Uhhh if only 5% will achieve that level of income you might need to ask yourself if it is really middle class....When people talk about "out of touch coastal elites" this is the type of shit they're talking about.
In our area (bay area suburbs), daycare for a 2-year-old is around $2000 a month excluding any extra babysitting. Preschool for a 4-year-old is around ~$1800. I can see how within SF proper they might be higher.
I do agree with you this is a crazy article to make this seem middle class. But I do agree on the point that our econ is broken...
If you plug that $38k in 401k deductions, and then add say another $10k in employer contribution, assuming you have two parents at age 30 who plan on working for the next 35 years, and who have, to date contributed $10,000 total to their 401k you end out with a $9.0m retirement fund at age 65, assuming a 7% annual growth rate. Going by the 4% withdrawal method you get a $360k annual retirement income which seems a little high.
Vacations that require plane travel twice a year? Going out to concerts and ball games for regular date nights? Life Insurance?
Also, when people talk about the price of living in Manhattan, the obvious response is - so don't live in Manhattan. Can't you work in the Bay Area without living in SF proper?
RE: Cost of living, I dunno, part of the reason the cost of living in SF / Manhattan is so high is that lots and lots of people make enough to be able to afford it.
I thought the cost of living in Manhattan or other similar places was so high because people do other things than live there that are highly valuable. Which might be nature's way of telling you "don't live there".
Spending $70/day on food is not normal middle class living. Go to the grocery store once in a while.
> The parents’ ultimate plan is to send both children to private grade school
Are you kidding me?
When I eat downtown with my family the bill is rarely below $100 with tax and tip for dinner, and that’s a single meal, with no drinks (tap water), and no dessert.
Even some place like B.GOOD (higher quality fast food) is going to be $50 unless it’s a “Kids eat Free” night.
And that’s assuming the two working adults are brown-bagging it at lunch every day and not eating out lunch with team members at least a couple times a week.
So $70/day gives you room to eat out as a family maybe once a week, not daily. (No way a family with a 2 and 4 year old are doing that, but that’s kinda besides the point)
Of course there are people who claim they eat like a king for $5/day. And I don’t doubt it’s possible, but I doubt it’s common for a middle class family of 4 living in the city who are probably paying Amazon to deliver their groceries.
People's memories and estimates are often unreliable, but if you use one credit card for everything and it tallies your spending on restaurants, that's pretty definitive.
Breakfast at Flour (egg sandwich, and a late) is going to run you $12, assuming you don’t buy that brownie for later. That salad at Sweetgreens is $15. Just the salad. Juice is charging $14 for a 16oz protein shake. We haven’t even made it to dinner yet.
My point is that doesn't mean you average three times a typical meal price per day over a long period of time. And the reason I'm so sure is because I have the records which show I don't.
Maybe it's just laziness/time constraints. I can't possibly get up early enough every day to have a large meal, even if I could stomach it. And I only get half an hour for lunch on workdays.
My point is the relationship of averages to salient data points. Like I mentioned in my other post, it seems like I'm always going 40-60 mph, but my trip computer says my average is a lot less, and the average is very consistent no matter what kind of driving I seem to have been doing. Or, another example is time estimates, where short tasks are consistently underestimated, because it's human nature to ignore short delays/overhead.
2 pounds of steak before cooking isn’t lunch and dinner for two adults.
A single bell pepper is $1.50. They’re charging $0.69 for a single damn potato. Broccoli is over $3/lb.
These prices are insanely high. And I would assume some of the food you eat in a day is not going to be just bulk produce.
https://imgur.com/eKQXa0Y - New York Strip steak $10/lb
https://imgur.com/GAug7XC - Green bell pepper, $1.79/lb
https://imgur.com/a/AI2eVqa - Broccoli, $1.49/lb
https://imgur.com/TP64IDK - Onions, $0.79/lb
https://imgur.com/a/7ME1g7D - Cauliflower, $1.76/lb
potatoes, $0.79/lb (tired of making imgur links now)
roma tomatoes, $1.49/lb
long grain brown rice (rice freshly delivered from Whole Foods instead of from somewhere saner!), $1.20/lb
Of course if you only ever buy the most expensive items and don't fill out your meals, then yes it gets expensive. But not being price sensitive in any way when shopping is like the very definition of being upper class.
> 2 pounds of steak before cooking isn’t lunch and dinner for two adults
You know that a proper meal isn't _just_ steak, though, right? Brown rice, legumes, vegetables, 8oz meat, spices. 2 Steaks, 2 people, 2 meals.
Also, has anybody questioned that charity amount? That's like 1%. Like, you're making $300K and you can't afford 10%?
If I think about the speed I'm usually driving my car, it seems like it's generally 50-60 mph, yet the trip computer consistently says I average half that. Because mentally, I don't weight all the time I spend not going full speed as highly.
I think a lot of the budget items are inflated in the same way - the monthly amount sounds like an amount you could spend in a month, but nobody would spend that much every month in perpetuity.
The $1200/month for entertainment/clothes/charity do seem a bit much if they leave you with a net cashflow of only $100/month.
$350k is at the very low end of this professional class with multiple kids. Kids, and proximity to good schools, get very expensive, very quickly.
Housing: properties that can fit families- but where kids need to share rooms- in demand areas sell for $2M. Look it up. Mortgage on that is $10k/month. Rents are equivalent.
Childcare: a babysitter off the books for one kid is minimum $20/hour. With multiples, and a baby requiring full time attention, plan for $1k/week. Don't forget the bonus.
Food: at Whole Paycheck, the only supermarket in high demand areas, with picky kids, it's basically $5/person/meal. A 4-5 person family is $60-$75/day, $2k/month. Meals out with the kids anywhere in that neighborhood are going to be $20+ entree, $10+ appetizers, $10/dessert, $10/beer. Family of 4-5 can easily get to $200, including tip. Twice a month and that's $6k/year.
So with just those "basics" you're already at $120k + $50k + $30k = $200k post tax expenses, so $350k pretax. No private school, no vacations, no cell phones, no savings, no incidentals.
Note that in the context of these areas, this "professional class" is absolutely "middle class" in relative terms. "Upper class" in these areas will be the numerous families with assets and incomes above $1M.
Nit. Actually picky kids only want plain hot dogs and plain quesadillas and plain spaghetti. The ingredient cost of feeding picky children is a few cents per meal even after you add childrens' multivitamins and smoothies.
I think y'all have lost your minds on these food prices. $50 gets you two 16oz steaks (two adults can each eat steak for lunch AND dinner with that) and 15 or 20 _pounds_ of fresh vegetables easy at whole foods in the 94107 zip code according to Prime Now. And that's on top of the million servings of dry grains you can buy for a dollar. $50 every day? You're killing me.
Just to be more precise from an example I am intimately familiar with-
* picky in this case means "specific"- specific products or combinations of products are required to satisfy a given child's nutritional demands. One can bellow like the dad in Calvin and Hobbes- "if they're hungry enough they'll eat it"- but that will be to no avail.
* actual individual serving sizes of these specific products are often at least $1, and combinations of those servings are needed on a per eating event basis.
* "snacking" means that it's more like there are 4-5 eating events of $3+ per day per kid
* packaging, portion sizes, product lifespan and pickiness mean that a lot of food- probably 40-50%- gets thrown away, either not eaten during a meal or not gotten to before it "goes bad."
From a recent daily trip that bled for $60:
* oat milk - $1+/serving for a wannabe vegetarian environmental activist
* quick cook oatmeal - $1/serving (and don't forget the cranberry raisins, also $1/serving)
* bagel - $1/serving
* cream cheese - $1/serving
* cut fruit - $5/serving (snack!)
* yogurt - .75/serving (cheap!)
* specific brand of peanut butter granola - $2/serving
* non-nut snack bars - $1/serving
The "whole" thing is insane.
You know... If you buy a knife, you'll save a lot in the long run. It doesn't even need to be a sharp knife.
> quick cook oatmeal - $1/serving
Quaker oats costs $1 per pound, not per serving. Granulated sugar costs even less.
I have similar comments about your other prices, but you probably get the point.
 Wait, no. One more. I have to.
> cream cheese - $1/serving
365 Everyday Value, Whipped Cream Cheese, 8 oz
Price: $1.79 ($0.22 / Ounce)
HOW MUCH CREAM CHEESE ARE YOU FEEDING YOUR KIDS? :)
As this chart from the article, SF is an outlier, only bested by NYC: https://fm-static.cnbc.com/awsmedia/chart/2019/8/22/salary%2...
Then don't live in a big city (read: SF, NYC). Not everyone should, nor deserves, to live somewhere just because they want to.
Hell, even in some of the bigger ones, like Phoenix, you could buy a giant home + drive to work in a Tesla for that type of salary.
What? This is unbelievable. But if true, makes us all contemplate our career choices.
>1. Limit your household income up to $321,451 after all >deductions.
The solution is your money problems is to make less money. :facepalm:
All the other costs are much higher than they need to be. You don't have to spend 70$/day on food, even here in the bay area. If you're really smart with money and eat a lot of oatmeal, beans, rice and onions, you can get your cost down to less than 30$/day for a family of 4, even here in the bay area! Vacations, aren't really needed - that's a luxury, same for clothes.
So, if you calculate it for real, you'll find the biggest costs by far are housing and day care which account for about 70%+ of the budget.
Recently moved to SF with family of 4, combined income of about 130k less than this and living well including private elementary schools and preschool.
Don't need a car here, even with a family.
We furnished our place with a bunch of stuff folk were giving away for free
We eat well, sometimes out.