17 Signs You’ve Reached Upper Middle-Class Status

Wondering whether to classify yourself as middle class or upper middle class? It can be a tough distinction to make. Thankfully, this article delves into 17 signs that indicate you’re now considered part of this higher economic threshold.

You Have a Higher Income Level

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This likely goes without saying, but the most obvious sign you’ve reached upper-middle-class status is that you’re earning an above-average income that comfortably covers your basic needs. You have the ability to afford better housing, education, healthcare, and leisure activities—plus, you have more funds for savings, investments, and discretionary spending.

You Have Robust Savings and an Emergency Fund

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Leading on from the previous sign, if you’re not living paycheck to paycheck and can handle unexpected expenses without any lifestyle disruptions, you’re checking the upper-middle-class box. Having a good level of savings and an emergency fund is a sign of financial stability and security.

You Are a Homeowner

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As shared by CBS News, owning a home in the United States “is a signifier of the upper class now.” So, if you own a home that suits your lifestyle and needs, you’ve likely made it. This is an indication of financial capability and smart money management. Owning a house you love is a step beyond basic housing needs, reflecting financial growth.

You Have Investments in Real Estate Beyond Your Personal Home

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Owning rental properties or engaging in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) is a sign of upper-middle-class status. If you’re generating passive income through property, this demonstrates advanced knowledge of financial and investment strategies—traits of those who are doing well in life.

You Have Entrepreneurial Initiatives

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Likewise, if you’re considered upper middle class, you may have the time and finances to explore and carry out entrepreneurial initiatives, such as side hustles or investing in business ventures. You may be working toward generating multiple income streams or focusing on financial independence or early retirement.

You’ve Mastered Tax Efficiency

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Achieving upper-middle-class status often means mastering tax-efficient strategies. This includes utilizing tax-advantaged accounts like HSAs and FSAs, as well as understanding key tax credits and deductions. Seeking advice from financial experts for optimal tax planning is common, and the regular use of tax planning resources signifies a deeper understanding of financial management.

You Have Strong Professional Networks

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Those in the upper middle class typically have robust professional networks that they leverage for career advancement and financial opportunities. These networks provide access to valuable resources, including financial, legal, and healthcare services. Successfully navigating and utilizing these connections not only indicates social mobility but also demonstrates a keen financial acumen, often associated with upper-middle-class status.

You Are Active in Your Community

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Lower-class or lower-middle-class individuals typically don’t have much time to participate in community activities or initiatives, but those in the upper-middle class are fortunately able to contribute their time and resources. This reflects a sense of social responsibility and a higher societal position.

You Experience Minimal Financial Stress

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According to Yahoo Finance, those in the upper middle class are in the 60th to 80th percentile, with incomes between $89,745 and $149,131. This typically means they are able to cover unexpected bills without panic and that financial emergencies are manageable without major concerns. If this sounds like you, this is your sign!

You Recognize Lifestyle Upgrades

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If you’re now affording goods and services that you once considered luxurious, this is a sign you’ve reached upper-middle-class status. You’ll now have no major financial restrictions on leisure and recreational activities and an enhanced quality of life without living above your means.

You Can Afford Higher Education Easily

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One of the privileges of the upper middle class is the ability to fund higher education without incurring substantial debt, whether that’s for yourself or your children. You’re able to provide better educational opportunities for those you love, which is a sign of financial preparedness and long-term planning.

You Have the Possibility of Early Retirement

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NerdWallet states that “more than 1 in 4 Americans (27%) say they saved less than they normally would for retirement over the past 12 months due to inflation.” So, if you have the financial security to consider retiring earlier than usual, you’re in the upper middle class.

You Have a Diverse Asset Portfolio

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Upper-middle-class individuals typically boast a diverse portfolio of assets. This may include stocks, bonds, and real estate, indicating a sophisticated approach to investment and financial security. You also won’t be solely reliant on cash savings and will have a good understanding of wealth accumulation.

You Live in a Desirable Neighborhood

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Living in sought-after areas or zip codes is another sign of upper-middle-class status. It indicates your financial capability to choose your desired living environment. Beyond covering your basic housing needs, you’re showing a preference for a certain lifestyle and community and are able to seize this.

You Have Multiple Income Streams

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Most upper-middle-class people don’t rely on just one primary job but are actively earning from various sources. This includes passive income like dividends or rental property income—both of which are signs of wealth building and financial diversification. As shared on LinkedIn by Joshua King, “Rich people understand the power of having multiple streams of income. It is how they continue to accumulate wealth, even during a recession.”

You Have No Debt or Manageable Debt Levels

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Having a minimal to manageable amount of debt is another upper-middle-class trait. If you’re capable of paying off debts like mortgages and student loans early, you’re likely a member of this class. This reflects your prudent financial management, stability, and capacity to make significant financial commitments without undue burden.

You’re Able to Make Luxury and Recreational Purchases

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The ability to afford high-end items and experiences, such as luxury vehicles, vacations, clothes, and hobby investments, demonstrates your financial freedom and comfort. If you’re able to comfortably do all this without too much thought, this is a clear sign that you’ve achieved upper-middle-class status.

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