Educator, artist, social worker, not-for-profit administrator, journalist—these white-collar professions are typically populated with college-educated, middle class professionals who pass up big-money careers in finance, medicine or law to pursue more personally meaningful work in creative and service-oriented sectors. Increasingly, though, these career choices are leaving middle class professionals struggling to make ends meet, let alone fulfill social expectations and reach the economic stability of the “American dream.”
Now in (Not) Keeping Up With Our Parents, award-winning journalist Nan Mooney traces how and why today’s educated professional middle class is experiencing financial volatility more profound and paralyzing than the struggles experienced by previous generations. Mooney will be my guest on Tuesday June 3 on News Talk Online on Paltalk.com.
Drawing on her own experiences and those of the hundreds of individuals she interviewed across America, Mooney highlights the struggles this group is facing, including negotiating massive student loans and credit card debt, struggling to pay high housing, health and child care costs, and choosing between funding their children’s education and their own retirement.
“The sort of family I grew up in seems near extinction these days, a middle-class family who can support themselves on a pair of middle-class jobs,” she writes.
“Not only do many of today’s educated middle-class professionals worry that they won’t exceed their parents when it comes to financial success, they fear they can’t even keep up with the middle-class, and often the working-class, lifestyles their parents modeled for them decades ago.”
In (Not) Keeping Up With Our Parents, Mooney reveals the intimate financial lives of this strata of society — the social worker who makes $30,000 a year, the environmental scientist who makes $40,000, the college professor who makes $50,000 — to show how shifts in government policies and labor and business practices have meant plummeting financial and emotional security for this once comfortable center section. Noting that the share of family income devoted to fixed costs has climbed from 53 to 75 percent in the last two decades, she illustrates how those in this class are increasingly choosing to delay or forgo having children, carrying significant debt well into middle age, and struggling so hard to keep their own finances secure that they have little resources to offer those less fortunate.
Mooney is a journalist and the award-winning author of I Can’t Believe She Did That: Why Women Betray Other Women at Work and My Racing Heart: The Passionate World of Thoroughbreds and the Track. She lives in Seattle.
To talk to Mooney on News Talk Online on Paltalk.com at 5 PM New York time on Tuesday June 3 CLICK HERE. There is no charge.
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