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Death of the Middle Class?



We've been hearing the death knell for the middle class for some time now. Phrases such as "the middle class is under attack!" or "the middle class is being squeezed!" are not uncommon. And, to a certain extent, it's true. The cost of living increases, while worker compensation rises at a much slower rate. Those at the top can and do get greedy. Things are definitely not hunky dory. But the middle class, itself, needs to accept some of the blame.

It's not popular to land responsibility at the feet of those doing the complaining, yet, there it is. Perhaps the primary problem afflicting the middle class is that it spends too much money. Simple as that. We live in a world full of enticements, and the seeming need for immediate gratification. So, we buy lots of things that we don't really need, and then put it on credit so that we can have it now. This, dear reader, is a recipe for disaster.

A friend was opining the other day how, as recently as when we were growing up, things were simpler. We didn't have the myriad of choices that we do now. There was no internet, no TV line-up with a gazillion channels to choose from, no plethora of techie gadgets to covet, etc. etc. And, oddly (if you really think about it) we treat these relatively recent things as needs, not wants. But do we really need a smartphone? Do we really need cable? Or the internet? Or a tablet?

A lot of folks would probably respond to the aforementioned queries with something along the lines of, 'No, I don't need those things, but they enhance my life, so I want to have them.' That would be a fair response, but then a cautionary note would be: spend at your own peril. If you want to own stuff, that's cool, but then also take ownership of your decision-making process.

Who knows.... it might just help save the middle class.

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