MSN has an article from the Associated Press that looks at one person’s experience in the economy. The article is painful to read because it shows real-world difficulty in a first world economy. I can fully relate to what is going on in the article and had to think about some things I said recently. The article talks about someone who tried to do the right things including entrepreneurship on the fly, government assistance, and do work without an improvement in compensation. What is middle-class?
What we call normally call a middle-class life is a lifestyle in which quality housing, transportation, living, and recreational resources are supported through a job. The job does not lead to financial independence. When that job ends or is insufficient, the middle-class lifestyle may begin to decline to a level where these things diminish in quality or become unavailable. That is most of what defines middle-class life.
Usually, there are two ways to leave the middle-class. Employment termination, diminished employment, or decisions you or others make regarding work could lead to unemployment, poverty, or government assistance. The other direction is entrepreneurship, compounding investments including savings, and various kinds of luck. When I look at the article about a person striving to stay engaged in the economy I see efforts in entrepreneurship, government assistance, and conventional work all occur in real-time.
Middle-class life can last decades. The reality is that middle-class life is a temporary lifestyle. One that you can sustain for a long time. The conditions that make middle-class life possible are temporary. Those conditions are the result of active desire for your efforts. That desire can change and so those are not conditions you should count on. Leaving the middle-class in an upward direction is the right course.