The New York Times just published an interesting and important look at how four real middle-class families budget and spend their money.
As the authors note, “these stories help illustrate how a middle-class existence has fundamentally shifted over a generation.”
Of course, the financial health of America’s middle-class is highly politicized. But even after you sweep away politics, it’s clear that many families - even responsible, frugal, careful families - are stuck in survival mode. Many others are just one small accident from financial trouble.
It’s not all bad. Some items (like food) cost less now than in the past. And some middle-income families are finding ways to thrive by cutting expenses, earning more, or benefiting from luck or family help.
The term “middle-class” has an emotional definition as much as a numerical or political meaning.
The Pew Research Center defines the middle-class as “having an annual household income from about two-thirds to double the national median, which translates to roughly $48,000 to $145,000 for a family of three (in 2018 dollars).”
For many, the emotional definition of middle-class is all about security. How do you define “middle-class?” Share your thoughts below.