7 Things the Middle Class Will Not Be Able To Afford in the Next 5 Years

7 Things the Middle Class Will Not Be Able To Afford in the Next 5 Years

The middle class has faced increasing financial challenges in recent years, and the trend is expected to continue over the next five years. As the cost of living rises and income growth remains stagnant, many middle-class families will find it increasingly challenging to afford certain items and services.

In this article, we will explore seven things that the middle class may be unable to afford in just five more years.

7 Unaffordable Items for the Middle Class by 2029

Based on current trends in inflation, real estate prices, rent, city living, and the overall cost of living, there are several items and services that the middle class may struggle to afford in the next five years. Here are seven key areas where affordability could become a significant issue:

  1. Home Ownership in Major Cities
    • The cost of purchasing a home has steadily risen, driven by low inventory, high demand, and increasing material costs. Real estate prices have outpaced income growth, making it increasingly difficult for middle-class families to buy homes, especially in urban areas.
  2. Big City Rent
  3. Healthcare Independent of a Job
    • Healthcare costs have been rising consistently, which is expected to continue. Insurance premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses can be prohibitively expensive, making comprehensive healthcare coverage challenging for middle-class individuals without substantial employer contributions.
  4. Private College Education
    • Higher education costs continue to rise, and student debt levels have reached all-time highs. The increasing tuition, fees, and associated educational expenses (like books and supplies) make college education less attainable for many middle-class families, especially for out-of-state and private colleges.
  5. Retirement Savings
  6. New Automobiles
    • Owning and maintaining a vehicle has become more expensive due to the rising costs of cars, insurance, and fuel. Sticker prices for new vehicles have increased dramatically over the past four years. At this rate, a new car will be unaffordable for the middle class, especially for high-end vehicles. The average price paid for a new car in the United States is approximately $47,338, according to data collected by Edmunds.com. 
  7. Luxury Vacations
    • Discretionary spending on leisure and vacations is likely to be impacted as well. With the need to prioritize essential expenses, middle-class families might find it harder to allocate funds for travel and recreational activities, which often take a back seat during economic downturns.

These trends highlight the growing affordability gap in the middle class through stagnant wage growth and rising costs in essential and non-essential sectors.

What the Middle Class Do to Help Their Selves During This Affordability Crisis

To better afford the items and services that are becoming increasingly out of reach, middle-class individuals and families can take several proactive steps to improve their financial situation over the next five years:

  1. Create a budget and stick to it: By carefully tracking income and expenses, middle-class families can identify areas where they can reduce spending and allocate more money towards savings and investments.
  2. Boost income through skill development and side hustles: Investing in education, training, and developing new skills can lead to higher-paying job opportunities. Additionally, starting a side hustle or freelancing can provide an extra source of income to supplement the main job.
  3. Save and invest wisely: Prioritizing saving and investing a portion of each paycheck can help middle-class families build an emergency fund and grow their wealth over time. Researching and utilizing tax-advantaged retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s and IRAs, can also help maximize long-term savings.
  4. Shop smarter and negotiate prices: Middle-class consumers can save money by comparing prices, using coupons, and taking advantage of sales and discounts. Negotiating prices on big-ticket items, such as cars and appliances, can also lead to significant savings.
  5. Consider relocating to more affordable areas: While not always feasible, moving to a city or region with a lower cost of living can help middle-class families stretch their income further and improve their ability to afford essential items and services.
  6. Explore alternative housing options: Renting a smaller apartment, sharing living expenses with roommates, or considering a fixer-upper home can help middle-class individuals and families reduce their housing costs and save money for other priorities.
  7. Prioritize preventive healthcare and maintain a healthy lifestyle: By focusing on preventive care, such as regular check-ups and screenings, and adopting healthy habits like exercise and a balanced diet, middle-class families can potentially reduce their long-term healthcare costs.
  8. Be strategic about higher education: Middle-class students can explore more affordable college options, such as starting at a community college and transferring later to a four-year institution, applying for scholarships and grants, and choosing a major with solid job prospects and earning potential.

By implementing these strategies and making informed financial decisions, middle-class families can work towards improving their ability to afford the things that are becoming increasingly challenging to obtain in the next five years.

However, it is essential to acknowledge that individual actions alone may not be enough to address the systemic issues contributing to the growing affordability crisis, and broader policy changes may be necessary to support the long-term financial stability of the middle class.


The ever-widening affordability gap poses a significant threat to middle-class families’ financial stability and quality of life in the coming years. As the prices of essential goods and services continue to outpace wage growth, many households struggle to maintain their standard of living.

Policymakers and business leaders must recognize the urgency of this issue and take proactive steps to address the root causes of the affordability crisis. Without meaningful action to bolster the middle class, the American dream may become an increasingly unattainable aspiration for many families.

The middle class will continue to grapple with the reality of not being able to afford the things that were once considered achievable, such as homeownership, quality healthcare, higher education, a comfortable retirement, reliable transportation, and occasional luxury vacations, until there are dramatic changes in the way federal government manages the money supply and deficit spending and local governments manage their economy and tax burden.