The Circles of American Financial Hell – The Atlantic

Source: The Circles of American Financial Hell – The Atlantic

There’s no escaping the pressure that U.S. inequality exerts on parents to make sure their kids succeed.

Why can’t people live below their means, save up some money, and kick up their feet?

The place to start is by looking at what they are spending their money—and particularly their loans—on. The biggest expenditure? Housing, by far. (Transportation is next, but a good portion of that—gas—is in some ways a housing cost as well, since it’s a function of one’s commute.) And the biggest sources of debt? Housing and education. The average loan burdens for mortgages and student loans dwarf auto loans or credit-card debt, the other major types of debt that Americans tend to carry.

Housing and education appear to be two distinct categories of spending, but for many families they are one and the same: For the most part, where a family lives determines where their kids go to school, and, as a result, where schools are better, houses are more costly.