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Are You First Generation Middle Class?

Have you ever tried out one of those income class calculators that revealed you are in the middle class, and doubted your results? Have you ever read articles on the struggles of the middle class, related to those struggles, and also felt struggles that were not quite touched on in the articles? Yes, you are feeling the sting of the rising cost of living and the stagnant wages that don’t come close to reaching the cost of living. However, you also sometimes hear from your co-workers about how they got this piece of land from their parents or grandparents. How they are living at home, without the expectation of significant financial contribution, and able to save up most of their salary to almost purchase a property out-right, or invest a huge chunk of their income. Meanwhile, you may be fronting the full cost of your own living or even possibly helping your family out financially, making things like saving for a down payment for a house take much longer. Yes, you are struggling with student loans, but you were also unaware of the 529 savings plan, or that students receive help for tuition from their parents is not a plot seen on television by the super rich. My parents couldn’t afford to help me out with the cost of my textbooks, let alone tuition. Are you reading about the massive amount of wealth that is about to be transferred over from the Baby Boomers to their children, and perhaps did not see yourself being included in that transfer of wealth? Are you expecting your inheritance to be very small, or perhaps the only thing you are expecting is to be the beneficiary of a humble life insurance policy. Maybe you are even paying for that life insurance policy. It is possible that you may be what I like to call “First Generation Middle Class.”

First Generation Middle Class sounds exactly like what you think it may be. People who are the first of their family to break into the middle class from the working class, poor or below poverty. While income is a major way to define the middle class, there are other ways to mark one’s place as well like home ownership, the ability to afford vacationing, healthcare coverage, and retirement and similar things.  What can make a first generation middle class person unique is that they are usually starting from ground zero. Their parents or grandparents may not have resources to be able to pass down to them, may not be able to afford to financially help them out, and may need help from them. 

What I hope this blog will do is be able to amplify the voices of the first generation middle class, and also provide tips and share resources in navigating this under-examined place to be in. It can be difficult trying to secure your place in our class system, build wealth, build a great social network, and overall feel secure when you are starting from scratch. It can also be a bit of an isolating experience. Hopefully this blog will make you feel a little less alone in your adventure.

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