Must be nice to be in an area where you can do that for $65k. Here on Long Island, you need about $200,000 to hit that mark. That is not a number I made up, nor is it a scientific study, but rather based on that exact question put forth on a morning radio station a couple of years ago. The decision was that the definition of true middle class was the ability to own am average house (4 bedrooms, 1/4 acre), pay bills, put away for college, for retirement, be able to take a one week non-exotic vacation yearly and get one new car every 3 years (on LI you need one car per working adult - crappy public transit so this mean replace cars every 6 years) and have a few months reserve in case of job loss, etc. Those under $200k/year were unable to do this.