Living within your means

joseph vargas middle class
  • Name: Joseph Vargas, 61
  • Hometown: San Antonio, Texas
  • Profession: Mail processing clerk for U.S. Postal Service
  • Status: Married with three children

To me, it means ... being able to pay for a mortgage [without] having to finance any other purchases on credit, send my child to private school, take a reasonable vacation once a year and save 10% to 15% for retirement. The vehicles we drive are dependable, efficient ... purchased slightly used. Our lifestyle does not include the latest fad. It does include a significant amount [of] events that are free or low cost (sponsored by the city libraries, parks, etc.). Our mortgage payment amounts to no more than 15% of our income.

[Being middle class is about living] within your means. Save, invest and build the American Dream.

First published June 1, 2015: 5:09 PM ET

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