If You Grew Up With Nannies, Maids, Cars, Vacations, You Aren't Middle Class

“Rich people don’t consider themselves rich because they surround themselves with people who are much richer than them.”

Brandon Charles - Author

Mar. 4 2024, Published 4:03 p.m. ET

TikToker @gen_laforce is slowly going viral with her post about her girlfriend’s financial status. The video begins with the astute observation, “Rich people don’t consider themselves rich because they surround themselves with people who are much richer than them.”

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In the proceeding two-minute video, Geneviève excellently lays out how her girlfriend definitely didn't grow up in the middle class. She’s not throwing anyone under the bus. She's just noting how perception may be more important than tangible markers of wealth.

After stating her thesis, Geneviève gives her non-rich people bona fides. She explains how she grew up frugal, her family didn’t buy things new, they drove a used car, and she paid her own way through school — relatively normal stuff for middle and lower-income folks.

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A woman discussing how she grew up poor
Source: TikTok/@gen_laforce

Wealth may be a state of mind, but nannies and maids are paid in real money.

Things get good when Geneviève lays the case for her girlfriend’s family's non-middle-class status. She doesn't pull any punches. Many people can likely relate to at least one side of this scenario.

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“My girlfriend was like, oh, we lived in a pretty big house, we had a live-in nanny, a maid, each of my five family members had their own car, we’d go on multiple family vacations a year, been to Hawaii so many times I can’t even recall, private education, paid apartment, paid car, never had to work until after college and the list goes on and on.”

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A commenter saying that if you grew up with a nanny, maid, and five cars, you're rich
Source: TikTok/@gen_laforce

What's considered middle class depends on surroundings.

“It’s amazing that she was able to live this life but it made me realize that everything is relative.”

Although there are clear financial delineations that determine financial class brackets, most people don't subscribe to them.

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“She was by far not the richest person at her school, in her neighborhood, in her group of friends, so to her she was actually middle class because she had never really come into contact with people who were properly poor or even properly middle class,” Geneviève says.

The comments in the post are a wide swath of people’s thoughts on all things middle class. Lots of posts about how they relate, a few about how her girlfriend is actually upper middle class and one anecdote that may make for a good future TikTok video.

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A commenter saying that she grew up rich and her parents grew up poor
Source: TikTok/@gen_laforce

Most everything is relative, but definitions aren't relative.

While everyone’s experience is relative, there are some objective ways to measure what class you belong in. If you’re in the United States, the Pew Research Center has a handy income calculator.

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Just enter your location (state and city), household income before taxes, the people in the household, and viola, you have a simple way to tell if you’re upper, middle, or lower household. You can go even further and break things down by education, age, ethnicity, and marital status.

But based on everything Geneviève says in her video, her girlfriend’s family definitely sounds like they qualify for the upper-income tier. Unless it was all a scam. But those nannies and maids had to get paid by someone, right?

Geneviève grew up lower class and eventually became more middle class. She offers a unique perspective on the often debatable topic of social classes. Let us know what you think!

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