A recent blog conversation mentioned on The Simple Dollar started me thinking about wealth and quality of life. One of the participants wrote
I think passive income, like most financial information on the internet, is aimed at keeping middle class people more comfortably middle class. (comment on this post)
My first reaction was “Is there something wrong with being middle class?”
Ideally, yes, I’d like to never have to work another day in my life. It’d be nice not to have to worry about money (though I’d still be careful how I spent it). But I know that I would still work because there are certain types of work I find challenging and meaningful. It’s quite likely that I’d have a part-time job shelving books (I love it) and spend the rest of the time quilting, writing, and blogging.
That said, I don’t really understand slamming the middle class. I don’t see anything wrong with not being super-rich or even rich. It makes me think of how Kiyosaki talks about his father, the “poor dad.” From what I remember, his father had a job he liked and lived comfortably if not richly. I didn’t see what was so “poor”about that. It’s been a while, but I don’t recall them going hungry. Correct me if I’ve forgotten that.
Most millionaires and such have poured excessive overtime into their businesses and work. If that’s what makes them happy, I’m glad. I enjoy blogging, which takes up a lot of my free time.
And along with those success stories, I’ve heard plenty of stories of people well on their way to wealth who suddenly drop out because it’s just too much work and stress. They’d rather be comfortable and happy. Maybe they want to see their family more often and actually use the money they earn.
A middle-class family who knows how to use their money wisely can do quite well at creating a pleasant and comfortable life for themselves. I enjoy reading books from my library, I enjoy writing a blog (and other things), I enjoy quilting (but quilt by hand which is more fun and engaging and also takes longer…and thus costs less). I don’t need to be rich to do any of that.
If passive income or personal finance and frugality skills I’ve learned can make me “more comfortably middle class,” great! I’m willing to settle for comfortable middle class and enjoy myself in it. That’s a heck of a lot better than uncomfortable—whether it’s uncomfortable poor or uncomfortable rich.
Do you think there’s anything wrong with being middle class?