Middle Class Finances
October 10, 2006
The American Dream?
The Center for American Progress recently released a report entitled “Middle Class in Turmoil” that covers the financial troubles faced by the middle class in America. I was reading this report and others on their site and came across some depressing information that many of us are well aware of.
While health care, health insurance, college, housing, and energy costs are rising; Americans are experiencing flat wages and an economy with slow job growth. With more going out and less coming in, many of us have used a mixture of two strategies just to keep up. We’ve increased the amount of money we’re borrowing and have been working longer hours or multiple jobs.
Quality of Life
These strategies of working harder and taking on debt have dramatically decreased our quality of life. They have lead to less time with our families and record levels of household debt as a percentage of our disposable income. With any job or business, to be successful you have to put in the time. The same thing applies to relationships. It’s hard to enjoy time with your family when you’re always at work. It’s also hard to enjoy time with your family when you’re arguing over finances or stressed over bills.
The report discusses one thing that is a definite cause for this stress, the decreasing financial security of the American middle class. Many of us aren’t prepared for the financial drain of a medical emergency or the sudden loss of a job. Even if we’re getting by now, without an emergency fund and financial alternatives, families can have the troublesome fears of “what if” in the back of their mind.
Feast & Famine
One of the sad things is that these families are experiencing this during a time of economic success in our country. The Center for American Progress discusses this in the
“Upside-Down Economy“. The article discusses the feast of the corporations vs. the famine of their employees.
“While business profits are soaring to record levels, income growth is extremely slow and wage and employment gains have lagged significantly. Despite the rise in corporate profitability, these earnings are not being reinvested in the creation of good paying jobs and productive capital. Workers, therefore, have not reaped their fair share of the productivity gains in the past few years.”
What Can We Do?
At a macro level, we can get involved in politics and vote to help change policies. Unfortunately for our families this is a long term solution that will have an eventual trickle down effect. What can we do NOW?
I’ve decided the best way to change my family’s future is to take matters into my own hands. I’ve decided to work for myself. With a family to support, I can’t just quit my job. So mine will be a gradual journey earning money for myself, instead of for other people. I want to work all day on something I’m passionate about. My vision is to help others learn how to live a money smart life and I’m glad I’ve started on the journey.
Get Started Today!
I encourage you to find something you are passionate about and that helps meet your life goals. There is a saying something along the lines of “If you don’t like where you’re headed, change directions.” If you’re worried about the financial state of families in our country today and think you’re one of them, change where you’re headed. Get started today, making the decision to change really is half the battle!
All posts by Ben Edwards