5th Feb 2013, 17:22

Exactly, they're trying to get rid of the Old Guard and bring in the young kids and immigrants who they can pay much less for the same work. Believe me, not a lot of the younger people will be making very much in the future.

5th Feb 2013, 19:48

My 2007 Prius just hit 270,000 miles this past weekend (I'm a courier) and I'm still on the original hybrid battery. Actually the car still works great, no problems showing with the battery at all, and it's the most reliable vehicle I've ever owned!

I didn't need brakes until 153,000 miles.

Reading through some of these comments is embarrassing. So wrong.

7th Feb 2013, 13:47

Most people don't fully understand how a Prius works exactly. It's fine though, a lot of people nowadays don't even know how a regular internal combustion engine works.

7th Feb 2013, 19:26

Some that have worked hard for decades as middle class have zero debt. If they paid their homes off and have the means to buy a nicer car, boat, private plane, whatever, that's their prerogative. They do not have to buy a tiny car if they can afford it.

I have lots of middle class friends that are touching or are in retirement. They travel and live well. It has fallen upon everyone the sluggish economy. But telling someone that invested, paid their home off and have 1 or 2 pensions that they are living too well is not an issue. One of my friends has 3!

I prefer a few niceties in life and am making no excuses for it. As we can well afford it. Drive what suits you.

8th Feb 2013, 10:25

I agree with the idea that people should be able to drive what they want. Personally, I love cars and own a 1990 Cadillac Brougham with the Olds 5.0 V8. I would love to drive that car more if only gas was a bit cheaper. I would never want to travel in a Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, or a Mitsubishi i-Miev.

People should be allowed to drive what they want, not be economically forced by the government to drive what they want. Instead of putting mandates and regulations on everything, we should embrace Ron Paul's idea of tolerating environmentalist policies, but not practically forcing them on people. I mean, if they can indirectly force you to drive what they want you to drive, what else will they be able to practically force Americans to do in the future?

8th Feb 2013, 16:36

I would agree with some of the various comments pertaining to standards and costs. For example, where I live now is pretty expensive. So expensive in fact, that what used to be considered middle class and even starter homes maybe 30-40 years ago here, require at least a 6-figure income to buy. We bought here about a year ago and all around us are older couples who had "regular" jobs making regular wages. They were able to afford their homes. They in no way could afford the homes the now own. My Wife and I make a fairly high income. But for what it gets us around here, we are more or less the new middle class.

I also agree that MANY people have no clue how to work on cars or understand even a conventional engine. I'm one of the few people in my group of friends who knows how to do so. It's not like today's cars are harder to work on. If you have the right tools and books, any car can be fixed relatively easily. I think people have convinced themselves that cars are too complicated, and so they don't even bother.

Another thing to consider is that the newer cars today tend to last for a lot longer with fewer problems. I was born in the 70's and I recall that cars back then were basically done by the time they hit the 100k mark, and even if they lasted longer, chances are they had some serious rust and wear and tear issues. I currently own a 17 year old Toyota, that while old, still runs like new and even looks decent. Cars might cost more today, but since they last longer, the equation might be about the same as back then when people seemed to buy a new car every 3-5 years.

9th Feb 2013, 10:45

I bought new cars in the late 60s and 70s. You had a 3 year loan, not 6 or 7. At the end of 3 years, it was all paid off, and as parents they gave it to you for high school or college, or bought another. I have bought brand new cars even for a new paint color In the 60s with the outstanding designs, it was hard to wait 3 years! The cars were fine, especially with garages. Now people are paying up to 6 figures for cars similar to those that my parents had used.

It's not what you make, it's what's you spend. A lot of people don't get that. The cost of living in some areas, you actually are not middle class even with a # on paper. Your accumulated debt, upside down on homes, credit card, cells, school loans and on and on. There is no 8 month emergency fund, likely no pension, utilities, tax erosion on deductions. My parents were definitely middle class and retired middle class. I am the same. My kids are probably hoping life insurance on us left will bail them out. It will be interesting to see in 20-30 years if you can start out middle class and retire out the same way. You have to make twice as much money if there's no pension today.

I would do my best to search for an equivalent position with half the cost of living expenses. Pay the house off in 15 years and drive some great cars when my debt is zero. Just monthly utilities and an annual tax bill for the home. Most I know want a home that the realtor says they can afford. That's great if you can stay middle class when you hit retirement age. Happy motoring!

9th Feb 2013, 12:00

I like that people have been keeping their cars longer. It's much more logical and economical. Back then, it was all about keeping up with your neighbors and owning the latest body style. The fact that cars were facelifted almost yearly didn't help things either. Whatever one owns, I'm glad that people aren't trading in their solid running cars for the latest and greatest for the sole reason of showing off. Do the right thing, keep the Tacoma until it stops running; that's what I'm going to do with my 2003 Ford Crown Victoria. Makes much more sense to do so.

10th Feb 2013, 09:38

It seems few speak to their neighbors anymore. I have no reason to keep up with them Also I feel few people keep cars for 10 years, and likely drive more as well. I feel to remain middle class they may keep them up to 6 years until the loan is paid off.

11th Feb 2013, 11:27

Exactly, the whole "keeping up with the Joneses" thing has dissipated nowadays, which is good in a lot of ways. However, if most people nowadays ran out and bought new cars every 3-5 years, they'd all be in the poor house very quickly. It just makes more sense to keep your car longer for more reasons than one. However, while I think that people back then were all about showing off their new cars, which was wasteful, they could at least afford it financially.