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Florida Realtor Says People Making $50 An Hour Are The ‘New Middle Class’

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man putting money in a piggy bank

Money is a topic that seems to be on everyone’s minds. Inflation continues to rise, while wages stay right where they are. Many people seem to be struggling with the cost of living. Where the middle class truly stands feels more uncertain than ever.

One realtor from Florida emphasized this problem even more by suggesting that there is a new level of income that the middle class has to meet.

A Florida realtor suggested that the middle class is now made up of people who make $50 an hour.

Orlando-based realtor Freddie Smith took to TikTok to introduce the idea that there is a “new middle class,” and you need to make at least $50 an hour to qualify.

“I know that sounds so outrageous to say, but I almost think it’s necessary for people to live with these costs of living,” Smith said of his proposal.



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He pointed out that the hourly wages people are making do not match up with the level of education and experience they require.

“What’s bizarre is the hourlies are not matching up at all,” he said. “There are people in fast food joints with no experience that can get started for $16 an hour, but yet there’s job postings where they want a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree starting you off at $17 an hour. That, in my opinion, is minimum wage.”

The numbers seem to support Smith’s argument.

According to the US Department of Labor, the federal minimum wage currently stands at $7.25 an hour. But that’s hardly enough to keep up with the cost of living. International education company Edvoy reports that the average cost of living in the US is $2,500 to $3,500 a month. If someone worked a full-time job for $7.25 an hour, they would make $1,160 in a month, and that's before taxes. It isn’t even half of the minimum cost of living. 

realtor argues new middle class makes $50 an hourPhoto: globalmoments / Getty Images

“Rent is two grand, groceries [are] a grand, childcare is like two grand, not to mention everything else,” Smith pointed out. He argued that not only would someone making the actual federal minimum wage not be able to afford to live, but also someone making what he considers the minimum wage —$17 an hour. Working a full-time job at $17 an hour would bring in $2,720 a month, which is far below Smith’s estimation of what is needed for essential expenses. 

“Even if you work your way up to $35 an hour,” Smith argued, “it’s still barely enough to get by. You’re not going to be able to buy a house on $35 an hour.”

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Smith shared an anecdote to illustrate his point. “I talked to a guy who was a bartender. He was serving us drinks last weekend, and he said he used to be a school teacher. And he quit because he was only making $50,000 a year. And when he bartends, he makes over 100 grand. So he’s like, ‘Why did I even go to college and do all that?’”

Smith believes this is really what is wrong with our economy. “That’s what’s out of whack even more than inflation,” he said.

It’s certainly true that the economy is in a place it’s never been before. There is a valid argument to be made for raising the income level required to be part of the middle class. However, it’s also important to note that doing so could further exclude those who are struggling with finances and fighting to stay in the middle class.

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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news and human interest topics.