Top 12 Tough Calls for Middle-Class Americans

Middle-class life is not always easy despite being characterized by stability, security, and a sense of comfort. However, underneath the surface, the middle class has numerous problems and tough decisions that could either bring financial success or push them deep into debt. Here are twelve difficult decisions of the middle class.


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In 2021, nearly 58.4% of middle-income students took federal loans. For most individuals in the middle-class, taking a student loan is the only way to pursue a quality higher education. Whether or not a student should be taken is a difficult decision for the middle-class; on one side, the loan will help them get into a good college, thereby opening doors to high-paying jobs, but on the other hand, there is an equally high chance of falling into a debt trap due to high interest rates, an unstable economy, and job-market.


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Buying a house is a big deal for the middle class; many middle-class individuals own less than two properties and hence wish to buy the best in terms of depreciation and future value. However, this has become an even more difficult decision due to the high real estate rates and higher mortgage rates. According to the Pew Research Center, the average middle-class household income is $90131, but the median home price in the U.S. is $432,812. This makes buying a home an incredibly difficult decision for the middle class.


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The middle class is known for stability and security; choosing between comfort and wealth, therefore, is a difficult decision for the middle class.

A steady job brings the middle-class a sense of security and comfort, but on the other hand stepping out of the comfort zone can lead to wealth generation. Prioritizing wealth over comfort, however, does not bring instant results; the gratification is delayed, and this is hard for many middle-class individuals to choose.


happy family at kitchen, daughter with father sitting at table with pancakes and looking at each other when daughter drinking milk
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Having a child or children is a huge part of many people’s lives, but it can be an extremely expensive decision for many middle-class individuals. This is because the costs start with pregnancy to the child’s education. According to a survey, raising a child costs $16227 to $18262 every year. This takes up a considerable chunk of the parents’ income, paired with mortgage or rent, insurance, and other expenses like utilities and paying taxes, leaving middle-class individuals with barely any money to have or to raise children.


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Most middle-class individuals depend on a single source of income, and quitting that job is incredibly difficult. The added fear of being unable to find a new job makes it a hard decision. The uncertainty of the job market and economy are the primary reasons for this hesitation. Leaving their job would mean forsaking financial security and almost going broke for many middle-class individuals, especially those who live paycheck to paycheck.


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In many middle-class families, the parents spend all their earnings on their children and their education, leaving them with zero retirement savings. Once they reach a certain age, they will no longer be able to work, and due to the lack of retirement savings, they end up dependent on their children. This tends to become a huge burden on the children, putting a dent in their incomes and further pushing them into middle-class income ranges.


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“To invest or not to invest?” This is a tough decision for the middle-class. On one hand, savings provide stability and security, especially in case of emergencies and unexpected expenses. On the other hand, investment can lead to wealth growth and a safety net for the long term.

The main problem for middle-class individuals is that the majority of their income is spent on day-to-day expenses, leaving little at the end of the month or year; they feel that investing this amount could leave them without a security net for any expenses that arise.


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In many middle-class families, by the time of retirement, the individuals are left with little to no money. Despite this, saving for retirement is a difficult decision for the middle-class because they have to prioritize immediate financial obligations like paying off debts and spending on children’s education and healthcare.

Additionally, retirement saving options, like 401(k)s and IRAs, can be overwhelming, leading to confusion and then inaction.


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A career change is done for many reasons, the most famous being growth, a hike in salary, or dissatisfaction with the career. However, this isn’t an easy decision for the middle-class. A career change will require quitting their existing jobs, which could push them out of their safety net; career change sometimes requires an advanced education, which could be unaffordable to the middle class, making this a difficult decision for middle-class individuals.


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Entrepreneurship is a rocky road for anyone; this is especially true for the middle class. Entrepreneurship involves leaving the financial security of a steady paycheck and taking on many risks. This is a particularly difficult decision for the middle-class, specifically those with families, as starting a new business could come in the way of fulfilling family obligations. Despite great rewards, the probability of failure is very high in entrepreneurship and is, hence, a tough choice for middle-class individuals.


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The most prevalent belief among the middle-class is that the more you work, the more you earn. This isn’t always the case, though; overworking and not prioritizing health leads to numerous physical and mental issues, which would cost a fortune to heal. Despite this, many middle-class individuals glorify overworking and ignore work-life balance. The major reasons prioritizing work-life balance is a difficult decision for the middle-class are the dependency on a single income and fear of job loss.


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Taking risks is yet another difficult decision for the middle-class. This is due to the lack of a safety net that the rich have. A slight misstep for the middle-class means financial strain and jeopardizing their future. Taking risks might feel like a gamble with not much to gain but everything to lose. While enticing, the potential rewards often pale compared to the potential losses that could cost them their carefully built foundations.

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