Gen Z challenges the middle-class label for $74k, citing inflation and economic shifts making life difficult.
The whole concept of being middle class has changed in recent years. Salaries that used to be plenty for a middle-class individual are just not sufficient to meet the present-day living costs. TikTok influencer and realtor Freddie Smith (@fmsmith319) shared a video supporting Gen Z who do not agree that a $74K salary is middle-class. The video has amassed over 2.3 million views and 34.7K comments on the social media platform.
Smith starts the video by stating how he agreed that a $74K salary is insufficient. He makes his point by providing viewers with a hypothetical Gen Z individual's expenses after they get their $74K salary. Smith states, "If you take $74,000 for a Gen Z, let's say they have a bachelor's degree and they're 25 years old." He goes on to point out how the figure is much higher than the average income in the country.
The man explains, "Most Gen Z are probably making anywhere from $40K to $50K, maybe $60K, but let's use $74K." Smith points out how individuals could take home a meager $4,300 after accounting for taxes, health insurance, and a 401K plan. He then highlights how the individual will have to make payments for their college loan, which would amount to a $500 payment. Smith assumes the person in this hypothetical case is financially responsible and decides to split a 2 bedroom apartment in a medium-sized city with a friend.
Even while splitting the cost of rent, the Gen Z individual would have to pay $1,400 for housing, which also includes the cost of utilities. Now, if the individual wants to eat healthy, their groceries would cost $600. He makes a few other additional payments for a car, car insurance, gas and a cell phone plan, all of which leave the individual with $950. This is the amount they would have by choosing not to save or invest, which is quite worrying.
Smith says, "Let's give them at least $300 to go on a couple of dates or hang out with their friends so they can enjoy life a little bit." With this expense accounted for, the final amount comes out to be $650. The creator reiterates how a person who has a $74K salary and lives with a roommate would only have $650 a month remaining after all of their basic expenses. He points out how it would take years to save up a decent amount to perhaps use as a down payment for a house.
He continues, "But even if you could get that down payment saved, you would still need to make $120,000 a year to be considered for a $400,000 loan." Smith concludes his analysis by sharing how the ideal salary for a middle-class individual has drastically changed in the last two years. People agreed with Smith's insights and shared their thoughts in the comments section. @litoreads shared, "This is IF you're making $74k, which we are not. I'm barely scratching $40k after taxes. I don't have any money left over in the month."