I should have realized that declaring yourself the descendant of "rich" parents would cause a lot of unrest amongst my readers. I think maybe most of you pictured me growing up so poor I had to share a bowl of slop with my ten brothers and sisters in a one room house. Not so true. But was I rich as I so famously declared in this post? Or, more importantly, are my meddling yet charitable parents rich? I'll let you decide that in a bit.
But first, what if you decided my parents were filthy, old money, Bart Bass on Gossip Girls, rich? What would that mean for me? I have about $100 in my bank account right now to last me until next Wednesday. Hardly enough money to buy a drink at The Plaza. And sure I get a couple of handouts once in a while, but if you are interested in trading a father who gives you a hundred dollars a month versus one who lets you make your own relationship decisions, then give me your address and I'll gladly trade with you.
Yet, I live in a low cost of living area so my salary of $43,600 is well above the median household income for my city - $33,000. But I never feel rich because I am paying off so much debt. If and when I move in officially with Boyfriend, our household income will be over $130,000 and we will be statistically speaking quite rich. We probably won't feel rich then either because we will both be saving and paying off debt.
MSN Money did an article today on how to tell if you are rich. Because of the reaction to my post I tried to see if my parents could officially be categorized as "rich." The closest city listed on the chart was New York City, where the average household income is $240,000. My parents live in a suburb of New York City and I don't know how much their income is. My Dad is self-employed and therefore his income varies greatly from year to year. My Mom's salary is public information, as is mine, and it is about $100,000. They also pay about $25,000 a year in property tax. Rental income brings in about $20,000-$30,000. Hypothetically, let's say they make a combined $350,000 a year. This would only make them "rich" in NYC if they had no kids. Yet they have two living at home.
In short, my parents are well off but not crazy OMG rich. You may think differently if you spend time with them. They like nice things and were delighted to throw my sister a 200 person wedding. They belong to a private club and have hired help clean the house, landscape and do home improvement tasks. Growing up I had nannies, yes nannies, but in my Mother's defense, she was getting her Master's Degree at the time.
Yet I worry about my parent's finances. They have taken a huge hit in their retirement accounts with only five years to go before retirement. My little sister is expected to start college in a year and a half and we never qualify for financial aid. Most of my parents' wealth is tied up in real estate that is declining in value and they have expressed no desire to ever leave our mammoth house behind.
Bottom line, no matter how much money my parents have, I'm just as poor as a church mouse and though my Dad is paying $303 a month now towards one of my student loans, there's no chance I will get a $50,000 windfall like Her over at Make Love Not Debt towards paying back my loans. But stick with me and I will pay back my student loans (largely) by myself. Probably then I'll have to start a new blog about how "rich" I am.
What about you guys? Anyone else rich on paper but not in reality?