Who Thinks $250K Per Year Makes You Rich?

President Obama has repeatedly said that of all his campaign promises, he definitely will not back off of imposing higher taxes on households earning more than $250,000 a year.

Higher taxes on the rich is one thing. But since when are households earning $250K per year rich?

Maybe in Idaho or Illinois, such a couple could be considered “wealthy.” But the $250K tax mandate ignores the reality that paychecks go very different distances depending on which part of the country you call home. Anyone dealing with the high costs of living in the New York City metro area, Boston, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, or Miami knows that city living is expensive.

Take away federal, city, and state taxes, sales tax, gas tax, cable and phone tax, property taxes, commuting costs, rent or mortgage payments, childcare if both partners are employed full-time, medical expenses, caring for aging parents, home and car maintenance and repair bills, saving for retirement and kids’ college funds, food, a vacation, and pretty soon you’ve used up the whole year’s paycheck. You are certainly not struggling and not poor, and no one should feel sorry for you–but are you rich?

Here’s more from a recent story CNBC did on the topic:

The $250,000 threshold was first mentioned in a campaign speech by President Obama in 2008. “It’s an historical accident,” Roberton Williams, an analyst at the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, D.C., says. “I don’t think there was any thought given to why $250,000 — (but) it became a mantra.” Whether $250,000 represents affluence “depends a great deal upon where you live,” he says.

So we are asking you, our readers: do you think $250K per year for a couple qualifies as rich? If you are in that income bracket, do you feel that you have more than enough to live on, or are you stretching your dollars? How expensive of an area do you live in?

Let us know in the comments.

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Jack Kelly is CEO of Compliance Search Group and publisher of the CompliancEX blog and newsletter. Beth Connolly is Editor-in-Chief of the Wall Street Job Report and the Compliance Exchange. She blogs creatively at When Nutmeg Met Basil. Connect with her on LinkedIn , Twitter, and About.Me.

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