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The Rich vs. the Middle Class: Who Tips More? Thumbnail

The Rich vs. the Middle Class: Who Tips More?


You might think that if you had more money, you’d tip more than the standard 15% on a regular basis. But, is that truly the case? Does how much you make actually affect how much you tip those in the service industry? Does how much you tip have anything to do with what you do for a living?

Life Experience

Erika Kullberg, the founder of Erika.com, a financial advice website, said that how much you tip sometimes doesn’t have to do with how much money you have, but where you’ve worked.

“Typically, the people who tip the most are those who worked in service roles in the past or who still do,” Kullberg said. “Those with experience in the service industry know firsthand how important tips are to service workers–especially those who receive low base pay, like servers in restaurants.”

Going off this theory, if you were born into a wealthy family and never held a service job in your life, you might not fully grasp how important a tip is to those working for them. Therefore, your capacity to tip might not be that high. Conversely, if you’re a wealthy CEO who has worked in the service industry, you will probably tip higher because you know what it’s like to work for tips. 

“Whether you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or some random person walking down the street, if you’ve ever worked a job where tips were important, it’s significantly easier to empathize with those who are also reliant on tips that provide you various services later in life,” Scott Sturgeon, the founder and senior wealth advisor at Oread Wealth Partners said. 


Here’s the flip side of the life experience argument. Think about the scenarios where tips are appreciated: going out to eat, going to salons, valet parking, etc. These instances are typically afforded by those with more expendable income, especially with recently inflated prices. The more money you have, the more of these activities that you’re likely going to participate in.

In fact, inflated prices have actually lowered the possibility of a tip at all. It could be reasoned that the only people still tipping are those who can afford to do so. 

A CreditCards.com survey said higher-income individuals tend to top more at restaurants. Kullberg said that it then could be argued that rich people do tip more simply because they are in these situations more.

“With how high restaurant prices are right now, those who are considered rich are more likely to still be going out to eat, getting their hair done, and paying for other services that tend to require tips,” Kullberg said. 

Kullberg added that if you’re struggling to tip someone because you can’t afford to, you might want to reevaluate if you should be engaging in that activity in the first place. “If you feel like you can’t afford to tip right now on a service you would have tipped for in the past, that might be a sign to cut that expense from your budget completely.”


Sturgeon said there’s another element that affects how much you tip, and that’s how much you think the service is worth based on your own personal values.

“My hunch is that [tipping] actually depends less on someone’s income or their net worth and more on their values as an individual,” Sturgeon said. “If you’re a generous person and value good service, you’re going to be more prone to tip in larger amounts or at least in larger percentages of the transaction.”

Tammy Trenta, the founder and CEO at Family Financial said that your tipping tendencies have a lot to do with your views on money in general. “It really comes down to whether a person has a scarcity mindset versus an abundant mindset. If you are not stressed about money, you will not feel financial stress in leaving a tip.”

This can also extend to culture. Trenta said that your background might influence your views on tipping. “In some countries, tipping is seen as obligatory and generous, while in others, it may be perceived as unnecessary or even insulting.” 

Values can be based on so many things: how you were raised, what your parents did for a living, or who you surround yourself with. There isn’t a clear cut way to define what middle class versus upper class’s value system might be, so there is no surefire way to determine who tips more. 

GoBankingRates link: https://www.gobankingrates.com/saving-money/shopping/the-rich-vs-the-middle-class-who-tips-more/

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