The path to a career in the early 21st century is anything but a straight line. The very idea that you will just have one career is becoming increasingly antiquated. We have to be creative in our plans for economic sustainability. This means building upon success and, even as you go for your dreams, having a practical means to meet the demands of your economic reality.
How much should you earn to be considered middle class? To be considered rich? Pinning down clear numbers is more complicated than you might think. During his presidential campaign, Mitt Romney stirred controversy when he grouped households earning $250,000 with the middle class. Rich and poor are relative terms, and our judgment of these categories is often informed by feeling, not fact.
It’s easy to forget that multigenerational households were once the rule, not the exception. The 1950s nuclear family was only possible because a thriving middle class and social safety net fostered newfound economic mobility. But the middle class has shrunk considerably in the last few decades, besieged by years of stagnant wages, rising debts and a growing concentration of wealth at the very top. It’s clear that nuclear families no longer make sense for everybody. In fact, thanks to its compelling economic advantages, multigenerational families may become the new norm in today’s post-recession economy.
If unemployment rates fall to pre-recession levels, will our economy be as healthy as it was in 2006? Not necessarily, the research shows. Even as rising housing prices and falling unemployment rates show signs of an economic recovery, it’s important to note that the recession has permanently shifted our job market for the worse.