Eating out on the weekends, adding the latest tech gadget into our collection, or planning a family getaway, we’ve done it all and without much thought behind it. We had the money and we wanted to give our kids the advantages and experiences we didn’t have as kids ourselves. Then the economy changed.
The downturn in the economy didn’t happen overnight but like many, we thought it was something that only affected THOSE people, the ones in factories, the union jobs at risk, and the industries that are pulling out of the country. But we forget how interconnected things can be. As one company closes down or tightens it’s spending, it trickles down to other businesses. They don’t care how many years you have worked in your industry, what your accreditation is, or even the level of your education. It’s all money. This means for our business we don’t have the big contracts to keep us afloat. Now we have less than half the household income to work with.
Things could be much worse; we could be out of work all together. At least we have some money still coming in but we’ve enjoyed a certain standard of living for years thinking we were secure for awhile. Many families live on much less so it can be done but changing the way we think about money and our ‘needs’ versus ‘wants’ will take some adjusting, especially for the kids. Heck, who am I kidding; it will take adjusting for myself too.
I don’t think we’re alone on this. You more than likely know a family like us or may even be a family caught in the same adjustment cycle we’ve found ourselves in. The number of upper-middle class families having to struggle to live the dream doesn’t seem to be that unique anymore.
It reminds me of the scene from Seinfeld when he convinces Elaine that he should sit in First Class when an upgrade becomes available. His rationale: he’s experienced First Class before. He doesn’t want her to get hooked on something she’ll never be able to experience again. It will taint her whole travel experiences in the future.
It was funny to watch but there is some truth to it. I think having financial freedom taken away or reduced greatly is much harder to adjust to versus living at that level originally. Perhaps by thinking that I’m setting myself up for fail, for a hard transition. Time will tell as we make adjustments on the home front but I think we’re in for a bumpy ride.
Author: Karen Antsow