I am doing better than my parents due to careful saving and the luck of not having health problems like my father did. Overall, I see the next generation expecting a better life style than they will have.
I think middle class children today grow up in a very sheltered environment, both at home and in school.
This is positive in the sense that it can help them reach their potential but it also can set them up for unrealistic expectations. I see relatives and the children of friends going to college and choosing majors with little or no thought about the job potential. 
A liberal arts education is becoming a very expensive luxury in an increasingly competitive global economy.
I think this competition, combined with the overwhelming debt being accumulated by individuals and government, will lower the overall standard of living. Add to this increasing income disparity, and a lot of families will be struggling financially.
-Jim Irvine

I am doing better than my parents due to careful saving and the luck of not having health problems like my father did. Overall, I see the next generation expecting a better life style than they will have.

I think middle class children today grow up in a very sheltered environment, both at home and in school.

This is positive in the sense that it can help them reach their potential but it also can set them up for unrealistic expectations. I see relatives and the children of friends going to college and choosing majors with little or no thought about the job potential. 

A liberal arts education is becoming a very expensive luxury in an increasingly competitive global economy.

I think this competition, combined with the overwhelming debt being accumulated by individuals and government, will lower the overall standard of living. Add to this increasing income disparity, and a lot of families will be struggling financially.

-Jim Irvine

I was raised in a family where we were not sheltered from the consequences of saving, and conversely of spending and going into debt.
At a very young age my dad showed me an amortization schedule of a typical mortgage, and since them I have been terrified at how much I am likely to pay the bank in interest when I get a mortgage.
For this reason, I am feverishly working to save as much cash as I can with the hopes of paying a very large down-payment on my first house. The more you pay on principle, the less interest you end up giving “the man”.I am aware that these lofty public pensions that exist today will surely not be there when I retire, so I am investing what I can save into various retirement accounts.
I hope that people will take the time to educate themselves on how to properly save, budget, and invest (if possible). You can live a VERY comfortable life without spending everything you earn. If you don’t have the money to live lavishly, don’t do it. That seems like a rather simple rule to me.
-Elissa Laskey

I was raised in a family where we were not sheltered from the consequences of saving, and conversely of spending and going into debt.

At a very young age my dad showed me an amortization schedule of a typical mortgage, and since them I have been terrified at how much I am likely to pay the bank in interest when I get a mortgage.

For this reason, I am feverishly working to save as much cash as I can with the hopes of paying a very large down-payment on my first house. The more you pay on principle, the less interest you end up giving “the man”.

I am aware that these lofty public pensions that exist today will surely not be there when I retire, so I am investing what I can save into various retirement accounts.

I hope that people will take the time to educate themselves on how to properly save, budget, and invest (if possible). You can live a VERY comfortable life without spending everything you earn. If you don’t have the money to live lavishly, don’t do it. That seems like a rather simple rule to me.

-Elissa Laskey

This past fall I lost my home to foreclosure. I had always paid my bills. It is unbelievable to me that I have found myself in this situation.
My dream now is to be financially solvent, to live below my means so that I can save, and to simply have a small place – apartment - that I can make into a home.
Will there be much for retirement? Probably not. I do not expect to retire until I’m 80! That may not be all bad. There have been many that have had to go back to work or continue working instead of retiring.
My biggest concern is moving from one career into another. I am a week away from finishing nursing school, and I will be beginning a new career at the ripe age of 53. There will be a few months of possibly no income. I’m not eligible for unemployment because I am leaving my current job voluntarily.
It takes time to work through the process of applying for jobs, take nursing boards and landing an interview. Still, the outlook for nursing jobs is good. If I can last for a few months on the money I have saved I should be able to make it until I find employment.
-Carol Kania

This past fall I lost my home to foreclosure. I had always paid my bills. It is unbelievable to me that I have found myself in this situation.

My dream now is to be financially solvent, to live below my means so that I can save, and to simply have a small place – apartment - that I can make into a home.

Will there be much for retirement? Probably not. I do not expect to retire until I’m 80! That may not be all bad. There have been many that have had to go back to work or continue working instead of retiring.

My biggest concern is moving from one career into another. I am a week away from finishing nursing school, and I will be beginning a new career at the ripe age of 53. There will be a few months of possibly no income. I’m not eligible for unemployment because I am leaving my current job voluntarily.

It takes time to work through the process of applying for jobs, take nursing boards and landing an interview. Still, the outlook for nursing jobs is good. If I can last for a few months on the money I have saved I should be able to make it until I find employment.

-Carol Kania

In December 2008 I accepted a buy-out package from Dana Corporation. During this time my 80 year old mother became ill. 
My siblings and I researched nursing homes and placed mom in a 5-star local facility. It has been 2 1/2 years and I still visit at least 6 days per week.
I was laid off again in January. That’s when I decided to follow my new passion, elder care, and I founded Darling Daughters Senior Care.
I remember visiting my mother where she lived alone in her apartment before becoming ill. There were so many things she could no longer do, like cracking ice cube trays or cleaning her bathtub.
I am 52 years old and all of my friends have stories of their own parents’ changing needs.
The business is still in its early stages. My short term objective is to meet my own financial needs, but my long term objective is to grow the business and become a pillar in the community.
-Diane DeKoster

In December 2008 I accepted a buy-out package from Dana Corporation. During this time my 80 year old mother became ill.

My siblings and I researched nursing homes and placed mom in a 5-star local facility. It has been 2 1/2 years and I still visit at least 6 days per week.

I was laid off again in January. That’s when I decided to follow my new passion, elder care, and I founded Darling Daughters Senior Care.

I remember visiting my mother where she lived alone in her apartment before becoming ill. There were so many things she could no longer do, like cracking ice cube trays or cleaning her bathtub.

I am 52 years old and all of my friends have stories of their own parents’ changing needs.

The business is still in its early stages. My short term objective is to meet my own financial needs, but my long term objective is to grow the business and become a pillar in the community.

-Diane DeKoster

Because I got through college, I’ll probably be slightly better off economically than my parents, who only graduated high school.
On the other hand, the generation after me is doomed; college tuition and a rapidly changing economy requiring less workers means no chance to improve or make money, and the (probable) lack of a social safety net just adds to the gloomy picture facing my generation’s kids.
A second income is essential to any household. We have three. I work, my wife works, and on the weekends I work as a photographer. I’m iffy about kids, primarily because I don’t think I could realistically afford them. Maybe someday I’ll have enough saved to buy a house, but I’m not holding my breath.
All I ever wanted was an office job. I have that now, so now I just want to pay of my debt and enjoy my life with my wife.
-Josh Eikenberry

Because I got through college, I’ll probably be slightly better off economically than my parents, who only graduated high school.

On the other hand, the generation after me is doomed; college tuition and a rapidly changing economy requiring less workers means no chance to improve or make money, and the (probable) lack of a social safety net just adds to the gloomy picture facing my generation’s kids.

A second income is essential to any household. We have three. I work, my wife works, and on the weekends I work as a photographer. I’m iffy about kids, primarily because I don’t think I could realistically afford them. Maybe someday I’ll have enough saved to buy a house, but I’m not holding my breath.

All I ever wanted was an office job. I have that now, so now I just want to pay of my debt and enjoy my life with my wife.

-Josh Eikenberry

My husband and I have different priorities than my parents. The way we define doing well, economically, is different. We are choosing to live debt free until we buy a house. That means we do not have a lot of stuff and are slowly furnishing our apartment frugally. 
We won’t have as much stuff as my parents but are able to save over half of our income each paycheck. So we’re doing well even though we don’t have a tv, a smart phone, or cars that are less than 14 years old. 
I hope that I can teach my children to make wise financial decisions like my parents did. I hope the next generation does not live with a lot of debt. If they can do that, I think they can do better than us.
My biggest concern is that my husband’s wonderful job as an engineer will go away. We moved to Michigan last year and I still wonder if the job that seems secure is too good to be true.
We are expecting a baby early fall, and even though we are consistently saving, we worry that our ability to provide for our baby will go away.
-Elizabeth Halgren

My husband and I have different priorities than my parents. The way we define doing well, economically, is different. We are choosing to live debt free until we buy a house. That means we do not have a lot of stuff and are slowly furnishing our apartment frugally.

We won’t have as much stuff as my parents but are able to save over half of our income each paycheck. So we’re doing well even though we don’t have a tv, a smart phone, or cars that are less than 14 years old.

I hope that I can teach my children to make wise financial decisions like my parents did. I hope the next generation does not live with a lot of debt. If they can do that, I think they can do better than us.

My biggest concern is that my husband’s wonderful job as an engineer will go away. We moved to Michigan last year and I still wonder if the job that seems secure is too good to be true.

We are expecting a baby early fall, and even though we are consistently saving, we worry that our ability to provide for our baby will go away.

-Elizabeth Halgren

My parents were far better off than my family and I. My father was born in Manitoba, Canada. He dropped out of school at 14 and went to work in a small welding shop. He and my mother then moved to the US, undocumented, with my uncle. Both my father and uncle became entrepreneurs before the term was coined.
I recently completed a consulting job, but am still catching up on debts from 2009 and 2010 when I wasn’t able to find work. 
It seems that every time I’m poised to realize a major goal the economic landscape shifts underfoot.
The longest position I’ve held in thirty years was less than three and a half years. I’ve learned that the only way to get ahead to “be a business,” not “an employee.”
-Alexander Zayachkov

My parents were far better off than my family and I. My father was born in Manitoba, Canada. He dropped out of school at 14 and went to work in a small welding shop. He and my mother then moved to the US, undocumented, with my uncle. Both my father and uncle became entrepreneurs before the term was coined.

I recently completed a consulting job, but am still catching up on debts from 2009 and 2010 when I wasn’t able to find work. 

It seems that every time I’m poised to realize a major goal the economic landscape shifts underfoot.

The longest position I’ve held in thirty years was less than three and a half years. I’ve learned that the only way to get ahead to “be a business,” not “an employee.”

-Alexander Zayachkov

I will not do as well, financially, as my parents, although my standard of living will be about the same. My parents were a doctor and lawyer, while I have chosen to work in the nonprofit sector. Still, I believe that any children I may have will have access to an equal or greater living standard than I have chosen for myself.
I don’t have too many big concerns about money. I carry a lot of debt in the form of student loans. It will take a long time to pay those off, but I earn enough to support myself, and do most of the things I want with my free time.
I am concerned about my ability to pay for college for any children I may have in the future.’
I feel the national economic situation is making me think critically about buying new things and taking on debt. I recently sold my car, for example. The decision was definitely influenced by my perception of “lean times” brought about by high unemployment. Then again, I really enjoy not owning a car!
-David Blumenthal

I will not do as well, financially, as my parents, although my standard of living will be about the same. My parents were a doctor and lawyer, while I have chosen to work in the nonprofit sector. Still, I believe that any children I may have will have access to an equal or greater living standard than I have chosen for myself.

I don’t have too many big concerns about money. I carry a lot of debt in the form of student loans. It will take a long time to pay those off, but I earn enough to support myself, and do most of the things I want with my free time.

I am concerned about my ability to pay for college for any children I may have in the future.’

I feel the national economic situation is making me think critically about buying new things and taking on debt. I recently sold my car, for example. The decision was definitely influenced by my perception of “lean times” brought about by high unemployment. Then again, I really enjoy not owning a car!

-David Blumenthal

I’d always planned on working until age 70, but now that’s not a choice, it’s a requirement.
Part of it the problem is that I started saving for retirement late. After eleven years in the Navy my net savings was zero. My first two jobs after college didn’t offer a 401K and I didn’t have enough sense to open an IRA.
The Great Recession didn’t help either. I also have another 26 years on a mortgage for a house that is a bit underwater. I might be OK in the long run, but I sure don’t feel comfortable with the idea of retiring.
I was just looking at one of the funds I’m invested in, it’s doing pretty well now, but the four year average return is just over 4%. That’s not going to fund a retirement any time soon.
-Jon Strayer

I’d always planned on working until age 70, but now that’s not a choice, it’s a requirement.

Part of it the problem is that I started saving for retirement late. After eleven years in the Navy my net savings was zero. My first two jobs after college didn’t offer a 401K and I didn’t have enough sense to open an IRA.

The Great Recession didn’t help either. I also have another 26 years on a mortgage for a house that is a bit underwater. I might be OK in the long run, but I sure don’t feel comfortable with the idea of retiring.

I was just looking at one of the funds I’m invested in, it’s doing pretty well now, but the four year average return is just over 4%. That’s not going to fund a retirement any time soon.

-Jon Strayer

While my family contributes to our 401K programs and we try to save on top of that, we will not have enough saved for retirement by the time we are retirement age. Though, by all accounts, we are doing more than most people.Finding better paying jobs is an option for us, but ‘better paying’ means ‘a lot of travel and much longer hours.’ But we have small children, and that’s not an option.We have prioritized spending time raising our kids over our lifestyle, and would not change anything on that front, but today the cost of living a reasonable, middle-class lifestyle is much higher than it was a generation ago in real terms. We will likely work until we die, and either die with a mortgage on our home because we re-mortgaged to cover college for our kids, or have to sell our home to pay for college and then rent, hoping our monthly private retirement savings covers us.
-Steve Rummel

While my family contributes to our 401K programs and we try to save on top of that, we will not have enough saved for retirement by the time we are retirement age. Though, by all accounts, we are doing more than most people.

Finding better paying jobs is an option for us, but ‘better paying’ means ‘a lot of travel and much longer hours.’ But we have small children, and that’s not an option.

We have prioritized spending time raising our kids over our lifestyle, and would not change anything on that front, but today the cost of living a reasonable, middle-class lifestyle is much higher than it was a generation ago in real terms.

We will likely work until we die, and either die with a mortgage on our home because we re-mortgaged to cover college for our kids, or have to sell our home to pay for college and then rent, hoping our monthly private retirement savings covers us.

-Steve Rummel