Yesterday I came across an article titled 7 Stressors Sapping the Middle Class. It describes some of the main concerns that middle class families have in today’s economy.
1. Falling income. This is one that I have experienced first hand. My family took a major income hit when my wife quit her job to stay home with the kids and it was a tough adjustment. And last year my company didn’t give out raises because of the bad economy.
2. Reduced savings/net worth. Our home’s value has dropped significantly since the housing bubble burst, and we have been forced to tap into savings a few times.
3. High healthcare costs. I feel this one too…I’m paying higher premiums for less coverage. My plan’s deductibles have gone up and instead of covering 90% after deductibles they now only cover 80% in most cases.
4. Child care/elder care expenses. Since my wife stays home to raise the kids we don’t have to worry about day care. Actually she stays home largely because day care is so expensive that it isn’t worth it because pretty much her whole salary would go to pay for it.
Elder care is on our minds a lot as my father-in-law’s health deteriorates. We’ve moved him in with us and we’re trying to convert our garage into a bedroom for him but dealing with our town has been infuriating…I’ll save that post for another day.
5. College costs. My oldest is almost 6 so I have some time before I have to worry about her going off to college. But with 3 kids to educate this will be a huge concern of mine in about 12 years.
6. Housing Costs. We bought our house in 2003 and fortunately we’re not upside down in our mortgage like some people we know. But our original plan was to move after 5 years and that didn’t work out so well. We were a two-income family with our first child on the way then. Now we’re a single income family with 3 kids to feed. And living in Northeast New Jersey is expensive both in housing costs and property taxes. We’re thinking of moving to Central or South Jersey where it’s a little cheaper.
7. False expectations. Gone are the days where you stayed with a company for thirty or forty years and retired with a sizable pension and a gold watch. Working hard and getting an education guarantee you nothing in today’s world.
What do you think? What other concerns do you have?