The Wall Street Journal reported on new research from the Pew Research Center and Gallup that affirms what many Americans are experiencing: Today’s middle class is precariously perched on the precipice of financial ruin. What once was considered a staircase to the American Dream–education, hard work, and persistence–now looks like an escalator going down.
The article points out:
The median family had net worth of $135,400 in 2007, adjusted for inflation, according to the Federal Reserve. But the recent housing crisis caused many of those families to take an enormous hit. As of 2013, the median family’s wealth was $81,200, a decline of more than 40%.
The recent economic crises–caused largely be corrupt housing lenders–pulled many more members of the middle class into the “teetering class.” Facing too much month at the end of their money, they teeter from one paycheck to the next, trying to stay one step ahead of collection notices, overdraft fees, and utility cutoff schedules.
This situation is not limited to a specific income bracket. Whether people are living on $75,000 in a major city or $15,000 in a small town, whether they are older blue-collar workers or have white-collar jobs and a family to raise, many are finding, after years of hard work and sacrifice, they’re making less than before. In particular, those whose $75,000 or $100,000/year jobs were stripped away by the recession have found in the new job market that they now have to settle for jobs paying $40,000 to $50,000/year.
John Hope Bryant is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass). His newest bestselling book is How The Poor Can Save Capitalism (Berrett Koehler Publishing).
Bryant is a Member of the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans, and co-chair for Project 5117, which is a plan for the rebirth of underserved America.
Bryant is the only bestselling author on economics who is also African-American.
Posted by Natasha Eldridge, Office of the Chairman