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08-29-2012, 01:07 AM
Hockey Team
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
It is difficult and in many cases impossible for a middle-class person to independently raise a family on a $40k salary and still put away enough savings to cover an extended bout with unemployment. By your definition of affordability, middle class people should not have families, correct?

Car payments are not optional for most people. In most places, if you want to work, you need a car.

Mortgage payments are the result of owning property and ceasing the cycle of throwing money down a hole and then finding more money to follow it. Again, people with limited personal resources are least able to afford an entire lifetime of paying landlords instead of building equity. At some point, one reaches a phase in which they money they are "saving" is no longer equal to the amount they are losing in the long term.

It's very easy to brush off these issues with a "well, it's your own fault, screw you". That attitude fails to acknowledge that most people live their lives with a desire to marry, bear children, own a home, and feel like they have accomplished something other than scraping together a few pennies for future layoffs. Most people are able to throttle back on luxuries when their pay gets cut, but losing their entire income attacks the basic building blocks of their lives and self-worth. That's one reason to favor pay cuts over layoffs.
The truth is, for most middle class families, they'd probably be better off without kids.

Car/mortgage payments are a function of how expensive the car/house is that you buy. Spending 10K on a reliable car to drive to work may be a necessity, but unless you're a realtor or are in some other job where you're going to be judged based on the car you drive, spending another 10 - 15K on a nicer model is purely a luxury expense. Same goes for mortgage. Buying a house that's going to cost you 50% of your paycheck in mortgage payments is generally a bad idea.

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