If you’ve noticed that it takes a lot more money to live the middle-class American Dream than it used to, you aren’t alone. Buying a house, saving for retirement, and putting your kids through college while living comfortably is a whole lot harder than it once was. Being part of the middle class sure isn’t what it used to be.
Despite the rosy outlook on employment numbers, things have become incredibly difficult for many families. They’re deeply in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and without an emergency fund. Let’s take a look at what the media is saying about the middle class.
First of all, what IS “middle class”?
There are many different definitions of middle class, and a lot of it depends on where you live. “Easy,” you may be thinking. “Just live somewhere with a lower cost of living.” Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy, because when you move to an area with a lower cost of living, you’re likely to get paid less for your occupation.
Once upon a time, the middle class was the largest group of Americans. Now, according to the Pew Research Group, it is closely matched by people in the low-income class and the high-income class. The image below shows the stats for 2014.
According to Quentin Fottrell, the personal finance editor for MarketWatch, “middle class” is tough to define:
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There is no universal definition of the middle class. The Pew Research Center often uses the middle wealth quintile, the middle 20% of Americans’ income and wealth. Other economists have said it’s defined as making 50% above or below the median annual income. Most Americans regard a college…