Becoming, and staying, part of the middle class is a lot harder these days. At one time, being in the middle class meant you were doing quite well financially. Nowadays, it often means you’re barely making ends meet.
In a survey conducted by Pew Research Center, 85% of respondents who described themselves as middle class said they feel it’s harder to maintain a decent standard of living now than it was 10 years ago. Even a family trip to Disney World is becoming out of reach for many middle class families, as it requires months of planning, saving, and sacrifice. Nothing comes easy anymore.
Today, we live in a society of haves and have nots. You’re either doing really well, or you’re struggling to put food on the table. There doesn’t seem to be much of a middle ground. Here are 11 secrets the middle class needs to know about surviving.
1. Accept child care help from friends and family
Average cost to raise a child: $233,610
One reason the middle class is struggling to survive is the high cost of child care. Raising a child can get expensive. Food, clothing, education, and other care expenses add up in no time.
A middle-income, married couple with two children is estimated to spend $233,610 to raise a child born in 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If you want to cut back on these costs, your best bet is to reach out to friends and family for help. Roughly 40% of upper-middle class parents surveyed by Zillow said they rely on extended family for child care, compared to 29% of low-income parents.
Next: The days of being loyal to an employer are over.