By Louis L. Constan, MD
If you are concerned about where you fall in the financial class order that characterizes America today, a recent discovery by our talented research staff of Graphic Artists should enlighten you (see above the highly complicated and calculated figure they've developed).
To find out where you fall on the continuum, simply fill out the following short questionnaire. Place a "C" in the box next to the number that best describes your "current" preferences and place an "F" in the box next to the number that best describes your predicted "future" preferences.
What is your preferred dinner? __ 1. Anything that's free.
__ 2. Anything for a dollar.
__ 3. Anything served on a bun.
__ 4. Hamburger Helper with a brand of fine wine that comes in a box.
__ 5. Whatever is on special.
__ 6. The most expensive thing on the menu.
__ 7. Any food or beverage as long as it's French.
__ 8. Anything that your personal French chef cares to cook today.
What is your preferred form of entertainment? __ 1. Watching the police pick up vagrants in your neighborhood.
__ 2. Enjoying watching teenagerssteal hubcaps in your neighborhood.
__ 3. Sitting on your front porch watching the neighbors come and go.
__ 4. Watching reality shows on TV.
__ 5. Watching reality shows on a wide-screen TV with cable.
__ 6. Watching reality shows on a wider screen TV with the Super-Cable-Bundle.
__ 7. Watching real people in live theatre, preferably in New York City.
__ 8. Watching your neighbors, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, come and go.
What is your preferred form of transportation? __ 1. Your thumb.
__ 2. The bus.
__ 3. Your 10-year-old Pontiac.
__ 4. The car pool.
__ 5. The minivan.
__ 6. Any make of convertible.
__ 7. The latest model of Lexus.
__ 8. Depends on the day of the week. I like having Jeeves drive the Bentley on Tuesdays.
If you find that you have placed a majority of your Cs and Fs by a particular number, each number corresponds to the following categories on the Continuum of Financial Status:
1: You fit in the category of Dirt Poor. Let's hope that is temporary.
2: You are not that poor, but you are Struggling. If you're not an Intern, there's something wrong.
3: You are living Paycheck to Paycheck. You'd better put some money away for a cushion.
4: You are Working Class. You are probably a primary care doctor.
5: You are Middle Class, the great American dream. Is that where your dream ends?
6: You are Well-Off. That is a nice place to be, but you still need to work.
7: You are officially Wealthy. You don't need to work. Maybe you enjoy it though.
8: You are Filthy Rich. You either have family money, or you're in a specialty that's incredibly overpaid.
One final important note: If your current Cs are different from your future Fs, you need to develop a plan on how to get from your current situation to that future prediction.
Dr. Constan, a family practice physician in Saginaw, Mich, is the editor of the Saginaw County Medical Society Bulletin and Michigan Family Practice. He welcomes comments at email@example.com.