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Things We Can't Afford Anymore

According to a recent article swirling the internet this week, the difference in what a middle class family can afford now compared to ten years ago is a frightening thought. With a turbulent economy, a wavering job market and debt balances at all time highs, the middle class isn't nearly as comfortable as it once was. In fact, there are several big areas that the middle class is struggling to keep up with, such as:

Vacations

The average family of four spends around $2500 each year on a family vacation. Whether that trip is to Disney or the beach, most middle class families are spending more than they can afford these days. While a $2500 vacation doesn't sound that bad, consider how much it would take to save up for that throughout the year; around $208. Very few people have an comfortable cushion to which they can set aside $200 each month just for the purposes of a vacation, so many end up charging the expense to a credit card only furthering their already existing debt troubles.

New Cars and Homes

New home construction has significantly slowed over recent years, and many families are buying older homes to renovate instead. With the housing market still struggling to bounce back after the foreclosure crisis a few years ago many families are either still trying to recover from their mortgage debt problems or simply can't afford to buy a different house. New car purchases have also slowed in recent years, where many middle class families can't afford the payment on a new car. That isn't to say that not buying a new home or new car is a bad thing, just that the costs of doing so weigh far more heavy than they did in years past.

Emergency and Retirement Funds

The dream of retiring easy and moving to a warm ocean-front property is one of the past. Too many people in today's economy are facing a working retirement simply because they do not have an adequate retirement or savings for their Golden Years. Employers are becoming more stingy with 401(k) contributions and middle class employees simply cannot afford to take any money away from the household needs to save for an emergency or retirement.

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