Are you really middle class?

4 bills and changeSo the Post has an article about middle class incomes rising and mentioned the national median income for 2016 was $59,039. Keep in mind that is for a household, this will become important later.

The median income for the DC Metro area is way higher. Twice as high, at $110,300 for 2017 according to HUD. You might be thinking, I don’t make that much, who the hell is making that money? Well remember this is for households, those incomes are typically for a four person household. This may be two working adults and two kids, or one extremely well paid working adult and 3 dependents.

If you’re a singleton, the AMI is $77,300, pat yourself on the back you are definitely middle class in DC.  If you’re single in DC making $52,550 or less you are low income (80% AMI). An annual income of $38,650 or less, you are very low income (50% AMI) and $23,200, you’re poor (extremely low income).  I will leave it to you to decide if at 80% AMI  (Area Median Income) you are middle class or not.

Using the Federal government’s salary table the good news is for the DC-Baltimore area there are no full time poor workers. Same thing for MPD police who are in the union, the base salary for a Class 1 officer (2015) is $53,750. That puts them in the 80% AMI region if they have 1 dependent. A starting teacher for DCPS with just a BA should get $51,359 annually. So when someone promoting workforce housing proposes having income limits at the very low income level (50% AMI) and says it’s for teachers and police officers, they are full of $hit. Even a family of four would make too much at the 50% level after the lowliest teacher’s 5th year or for a teacher with a MA 2nd year of service and a cop’s second year, assuming their spouse (if any) wasn’t working.

Being in the 80% AMI range can be a pretty sweet spot. Just before I bought my house I was below the 80% AMI and was able to qualify for a bunch of housing programs. There was a property tax abatement I qualified for that lasted about 5 years until I made just a smidge too much and the low interest rate mortgage from DCHFA. Neighbors at the 80% AMI are the kind of people you want. If they are young it is only a few years before they are at or above the AMI.

Living Large with FSAFEDS

The open season is over so, if you are a Fed and didn’t sign up for FSAFEDS, then just keep this in mind.

We buy lots of contact lens cleaner with our FSAFEDS money. And glasses. Well not lots of glasses, but we do buy glasses when the dentist fails to find an excuse to put a cap in our mouth. That or more fillings. And if dental bills, prescription glasses, and the several kinds of expensive contact lens cleaner the Help goes through doesn’t spend all our FSAFEDS cash, we get fancy.

I discovered that I could get reimbursed for Uber rides to and from the doctor a few years ago. When I was going through a health issue, the Help would drive me to the medical center, but that stopped after the valet service (normally we self park, but that day they were packing in cars) messed up the car’s clutch. After that, cabs were way cheaper than the $1,500 we paid to fix the clutch. I used a few cabs then one day I used Uber. And FEDSFEDS reimbursed me for the ride. So far it’s been UberX or Uber-taxi, I haven’t tried seeing if I’d get reimbursed for UberBlack.

Yeah, not as fancy as Uber, but in a walkable neighborhood, in a walkable part of the city these help. So go for the super fancy Dr. Scholl’s. Or you can test if they’ll reimburse for the Birkenstock arch supports. They should, but I haven’t tried it.

Now there have been some changes in 2015-2016 and so I plan to test the following out.

Acupuncture/ Chinese medicine/ Massage-
According to their site “You can use your FSA or HSA to pay for ALL services at Pekoe!” on 9th St NW.  I just submitted a claim for massage therapy elsewhere. I could have sworn that previously you needed a doctor’s recommendation to make massage therapy eligible. But I was recently going down the list to share with a co-worker what she could blow her money on from 2015 on besides another pair of glasses and saw massage and acupuncture listed. For massage there were no qualifiers but I chose a spot that advertised massage therapy. I do have an ache that needs soothing, so it is not for the fun of having a massage.

Re-hydration Liquids- or hangover cure
Pedialyte. I like some drinks, but as I get older more than one glass becomes problematic and that just doesn’t do when you are dining at Chez Fancy Pants with the wine pairing.

There are other things on the list of things we can buy adn get reimbursed for but they aren’t all that exciting (Breathe Right Strips anyone?) or they reveal a little too much about us.

If one wanted to they could maximize their FSAFEDS with a day at a place offering therapeutic massages, then a night on the town where next to your favorite bar/restaurant, you later pick up your prescription from the 24 hour pharmacy and a bottle of Pedialyte then from the pharmacy get an Uber home.

Live large and healthy my friends.

Debit and city leaders

Just to remark on this DCist post about city council members and their debit. Not to excuse Councilman Thomas and his $16K of alleged unpaid student loan debit, but he’s not the only one. I’ve experienced having to deal with schools and banks hounding roommates for not paying their student loans. But apparently in the case of Thomas, he says it is a misunderstanding. I guess I’m sympathetic in that looking at my own credit report it isn’t clear that I paid off my numerous student loans as they all shifted around different parts of Sallie Mae/Citibank, consolidated, and listed as transferred or sold.
Now Kwame Brown knows he has a problem. Hopefully he knows the solution starts with a pair of scissors and living on a budget. $50K is a lot. Off the top of my head I think the highest I let my credit cards go is $7K. At $50K I’d be freaking out.
Anyway if you want to check your credit report for possible forgotten student loans check out the FTC’s free (not like the fake free sites) Annual Credit Report Dot Com. If you Google Annual Credit Report, but do not go to the sponsored link for Annual Credit Report.Com, that’s a fake.

This page contains a single entry by Mari published on July 15, 2010 10:58 PM.