Seven things the middle class can no longer afford, by Erika Rawes of The Cheat Sheet website. First Erika labored to define the middle class, finally settling on the middle 50% of income earners – classifying the lower 25% as poor and upper 25% as rich. Fifty years ago the largest employer in the United States was General Motors, who paid what would now be $50.00 an hour in today’s money. Today the USA’s largest employer is Wal-Mart, who pays $8.00 an hour.
1. VACATIONS: now the only way the middle class take vacations is to sacrifice spending in other areas – or have someone else foot the bill. That's us.
2. NEW VEHICLES: the average cost of a new vehicle is almost $35,000.00. These days the middle class buys used cars, drives them into the ground – and sells them to the lower class. That's us.
3. PAY OFF DEBT: on average, each house with a credit card has more than $15000 of credit card debt – as well as other debt. Thank God I’m not average.
4. EMERGENCY SAVINGS: these days only the rich have six months’ of earnings saved up in a liquid account. I know our family has a lot of emergencies. Expenses are unplanned because there’s not enough money to budget for them.
5. RETIREMENT SAVINGS: twenty percent of people near retirement age had zero retirement savings. Twenty percent of the middle class near retirement age? It doesn't say. This astounded me, though perhaps it shouldn’t have.
6. MEDICAL CARE: 66% of the population has to choose between paying for medical care and paying for food. Each month 31% have to make that choice every month. Those with more money can live and eat healthier, and can afford more preventative care.
7. DENTAL CARE usually isn’t covered by most medical plans. When it is, often only 50% of the costs are covered. We have put off dental work because of the high out of pocket expense.
Little was mentioned of how today most households have two incomes, unlike the single income households of the past. Times are tough. My family suffers in all seven of these areas, but comparatively we have plenty.