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man and woman running in hamster wheels Another way this is affecting the middle class is via 401(k) loans to keep up with bills or extraordinary expenses. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The middle class is staying afloat on a sea of debt. Four trillion dollars’ worth of debt, to be precise—and that’s all consumer debt, without counting mortgages. What used to be staples for the middle class—car loans, college educations, being able to afford health care—are increasingly turning into anchors attached to that float, and it’s only a matter of time before they drag everyone on it down.

Marlene Satter

Marlene Y. Satter has worked in and written about the financial industry for decades.

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