Tag Archives: discretionary income

6 things the middle class can’t afford anymore

A recent article in USA Today discussed the “middle class” and the ways it has been pinched financially. The middle class was defined as

…those [with a] reasonable amount of discretionary income. Middle-class people do not live from hand to mouth, job to job, season to season, as the poor do…. Perhaps, anyone who earns between the 25th percentile and 75th percentile is a member of the middle class …. Today’s bourgeoisie is composed of laborers and skilled workers, white collar and blue collar workers, many of whom face financial challenges.

So what are the things that the middle class has a problem paying for?

At least not without saving on other things like dining out, movies or purchasing big ticket items like TV sets.

New cars
Middle class people buy new cars but it’s usually not a wise decision. “Just because you can manage the monthly payment doesn’t mean you should let a $30,000 or $40,000 ride gobble up all such a huge share of your paycheck.”

To pay off debt
According to one source the average family has at least three credit cards and owes them over $15,000. In addition there are student loans, mortgages, car loans and medical debt.

“In 2013, consumer debt was $9,800 per person, which was 13.4% of the average household income of $72,600.”

Emergency savings
Do you have an emergency fund in case something breaks or you lose your job? Having six months of earnings in an emergency fund is considered a minimal requirement. A Bankrate survey found that only one in four households had this amount set aside.

Retirement savings
Saving for retirement is one of those things that people find easy to put off. If you do, unless you are fortunate enough to have a pension, your income will be what Social Security provides or what you can earn as you pass the traditional retirement age. It’s estimated the one in five people near 65 have not saved anything for retirement, and many more worry that they have not saved enough.

Medical and Dental care
Medical care is becoming increasingly expensive, insurance premiums are going up and so are the deductibles. Given the cost, the government is seeking to reduce the amount it allows the doctor and hospital to charge. There are also changes in the kinds of procedures that are going to be covered by programs such as Medicare. An increasing number of people are simply forgoing medical and dental procedures to save on costs.

Many people have financial issues. We can’t help with all of them, but if you have a financial issue that is troubling you, give us a call to see if we can help.

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