There’s this great myth out there that we call the “Over-consumption Myth,” which goes: If you earn a decent income, and you’re in trouble financially, it must be because you’re blowing all your money at the Gap, and TGIF. The myth is so powerful, it almost seems like heresy to question it. But when we actually looked into the data on what real families actually spend, it’s just not true. An average family of four actually spends less on clothing than their parents did a generation ago, adjusted for inflation. That includes all the Tommy Hilfiger sweatshirts and all the Nike sneakers. How does this work? Well we forget all the things we don’t spend money on anymore — how many kids have leather shoes for Sunday school anymore? How many people dress up in wool suits for work everyday?
The point is that families today are spending their money no more foolishly than their parents did. And yet they’re five times more likely to go bankrupt, and three times more likely to lose their homes. Families are going broke on the basics —housing, health insurance, and education. These are the kind of bills that you can’t just trim around the edges in the event of a downturn."