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Are you a Middle Class "Millionaire"?

I know, it sounds like an oxymoron. However, I've recently sold a rental property and was doing all the Quicken gymnastics to reflect the revenue, the expenses, where the proceeds went, etc. This excercise brought into focus something I already suspected...we're doing really well financially. I say that with much gratitude and much humility, because I know it is not because I am so smart or so deserving - far from it!

I also say that with a bit of surprise because I don't FEEL as well off as Quicken says I am. So I thought about it. I wanted to understand the gap between what the #s said and how I felt. We live in a modest home, surrounded by people with a wide variety of jobs. We drive 2 cars made in the 90's (remember my great 92 Miata? Post #680976), we eat out very little, wear clothes till they frey, hate to pay for people to do things we can do ourselves, etc.

But so far, all I've done is convince myself that DW and I are kind of cheap (in a good way). So I thought some more about it. I don't have piles of cash lying around looking for something to do. I'm not doing so well because I'm cheap and have thousands of $ at the end of the month to plow into investing. We mostly give away, pay bills and spend what comes in the door.

This helped me to understand why I don't FEEL that well off, but not why I AM this well off. So I thought some more. And I believe I have a reasonable answer. That answer actually has 3 parts. Let me share and see if you can relate to any or all of them:

1. Most of our net worth is illiquid.
The vast majority of our net worth is hard to spend - and that's a really, really good thing. We have lots of paper gains in real estate, and I have some significant holdings built up in 401(k) and IRAs. It's real money, but it's hard to spend. It helps me feel secure, but doesn't make me spend $40k on a new car.

2. Most of my savings comes out before I see it.
I max out my 401(k) (free money!) (DW doesn't work), and contribute to an employee stock purchas plan that I buy at a discount (more free money!!). This is also real money, but since it never hits my account, I don't have to resist the feeling of being momentarily "rich" and the accompanying temptation to spend it.

3. We're committed to giving ~10% of my gross to the Church.
This also makes us concious of our spending, and contributes to the sense that what we have is not really ours, and to give, save and spend it wisely.

So, that's my recent musings. Can you relate? Are you illiquid "rich"?

At the risk of going OT, I feel compelled to add that my REAL riches are all sleeping soundly right now. I just thought there's probably lots of other people out there with healthy retirement accounts and significant real estate gains that are not really living different than before even though their net worth may be several hundred thousand more than before. Again, that's a good thing. Just thought it would be interesting to get others' 2c.

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When Life Gives You Lemons
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