Coralie Seright, 29, a mother of three in Magna, says her family's household income hasn't changed in three years. Husband Clint, 31, a Salt Lake County corrections officer, has been told he won't get a raise for at least another year. That's made it tough to absorb rising prices for food, health insurance and other necessities. To cope, the Serights clip coupons, stock up on goods and watch their spending. Pleasures such as movies and once-a-week meals out are no more. When they look down the road, the future looks daunting. "I really feel like our [middle-class] status is slipping," Coralie said.
Jaren Angerbauer, 43, lives in Holladay. He started a technology consulting firm after getting laid off from a tech job in 2008. Although the venture is doing well, the husband and father of five worries about providing health insurance coverage for his family. CHIP, the Children's Health Insurance Program, covers his kids. But he had to purchase a policy for his wife, who is pregnant. Saving for retirement is a worry because he cashed out his 401(k) to cover expenses while he was unemployed. "Sometimes I wonder when I get to 65 or 70, am I going to be working at Walmart?" he said.
Marcia Timmins, discerns trouble wherever she looks. The Herriman businesswoman says income from the business she and her husband own is down by almost half since 2008. Her daughter is saddled with student-loan debt. A relative is upside-down in his mortgage; because of falling real estate prices along the Wasatch Front, he owes $150,000 more than his house is worth. Her brother-in-law can find only contract work that doesn't provide health insurance. "Middle-class security is long gone," Timmins said. "People are depressed. It's like Russia in the winter of 1916."