|By Dan Kelly, Reading Eagle, Pa.|
At 33, with a graduate degree and married to a lawyer, she certainly didn't expect that to be the case.
But she got laid off last year as an elementary education counselor for the
So now she's a stay-at-home mom, but not by choice.
And as a 30-something disappointed in her financial circumstance, Rauenzahn is not alone.
A pronounced plummet
The study found that the net worth of today's 30-somethings adjusted for inflation is down 21 percent from what the same age group had in 1983.
Stagnant wages, diminishing job opportunities, and lost home values may be merging to paint a vastly different future for people under 40, the study reported. That could mean these young people won't be able to catch up in time to amass enough wealth to even support themselves in retirement. If that remains true it could deal yet another blow to an economy already woozy from the battering that the mortgage crisis,
Meanwhile, political discussions are aimed at preserving the public wealth and benefits of older Americans and baby boomers at the expense of these younger generations.
When her mother was her age, Rauenzahn said, she was working as a registered nurse and her stepfather was a
"My stepdad's benefits covered me through college," she said. "I was the one with benefits, so when I got laid off we not only lost my salary but our benefits. I had to put my kids on CHIP, which is terrible."
The state Child Health Insurance Program provides medical benefits to children whose parents have none.
Rauenzahn said she and her husband,
"It's a government agency so it doesn't pay very well but it provides us benefits," she said.
When the economy went south Ramos lost his job at a law firm in
"It's demoralizing," she said. "You start to lose faith in yourself. You really start to wonder what you did to deserve this."
A fortunate few
He said he's actually doing about the same as his parents were doing in their 30s, but admits that's largely due to the fact that he and his father worked for and owned
Though they provide an essential and inexpensive service, in this economy customers are constantly trying to negotiate for lower prices, he said.
And though they were fortunate to have most of their college paid through scholarships and their parents and grandparents, he and his wife of 12 years, Elissa, 36, worry how they are going to afford college for their son, Finian, 5, and daughter, Maeve, 3.
Still, Keeler's parents,
"I'm very lucky," he said. "I know that."
'Difficult to live at times'
Growing up in
Now, she said, her life is a struggle. Her husband, Andrew, 27, got laid off from a steady job in a warehouse and for the first time in his life hasn't been able to find any full-time work. Jessica can't find a good full-time job either. She works as a hostess at the
For the time being, Jessica and her young family are living with her 74-year-old grandfather,
"We're struggling," Echevarria said. "It's very difficult to live at times."
Even though times are tough, Rauenzahn said she still pays
"You can't stop your life," she said. "That
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|Source:||McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|