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(Not) Keeping Up with Our Parents: The Decline of the Professional Middle Class
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(Not) Keeping Up with Our Parents: The Decline of the Professional Middle Class

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  72 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
The first book to exclusively target the struggles of the professional middle class-educated individuals who purposely choose humanistic, intellectual, or creative pursuits-Nan Mooney's (Not) Keeping Up with Our Parents is a simultaneously sobering and proactive work that captures a diversity of voices.

Drawing on more than a hundred interviews with people all across Americ
Hardcover, 264 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Beacon Press
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Sep 04, 2008 Mark rated it liked it
Shelves: money
Just because the baby boomers got away with it (The Greediest Generation) doesn't mean we will. After all, THEIR parents had it tougher, as did their grandparents and so on. It was a fluke. High wages, pensions, cheap houses, health insurance, social security that pays out for four decades, and dropping costs of food and clothing (relative to inflation).

We should get over the idea that we'll have it better than our parents did. Or rather we should redefine the idea of what "having it better" sh
Bill Erickson
Aug 13, 2015 Bill Erickson rated it did not like it
This book is clearly pandering to those who already feel the way the author does - that society (ie, the rich) isn't taking care of the working- to middle-class well enough. It is just the same argument over and over, extended through many examples and statistics.

It's actually a bit depressing and cynical. The author will use an example, like a successful artist that has sold out art shows, movies made from her scripts, and great reviews in the New York Times. But even with all this success, th
Jun 20, 2010 Lori rated it liked it
So I am not the only one? This book depressed the living daylights out of me. But it also made me feel, somehow, better. For the past decade or so I have often had to fight the feeling that I am a failure as an adult...despite my good grades, my Phi Beta Kappa membership, my fourteen years in a career I felt positive about and my generally responsible personality. Even more than failure, I have felt profound guilt. Guilt for being given every opportunity in life. Guilt for having wanted for noth ...more
Aug 31, 2009 Angela rated it it was amazing
This book is a “must read” for everyone in my generation. The author thoroughly researched and clearly presented the data that proves that people in my generation have less discretionary income than previous generations. The changing economy over the past several decades has had a significant impact on the distribution of wealth in the country, and reading this book helps to put it all in perspective. I highly, highly recommend it!

The only thing I didn’t like is the fact that Mooney focuses pri
Jul 11, 2008 Natalie rated it liked it
I was anxious to read about the excesses we indulge in as middle class but this was not really in this book. Having had to cut our income by a third because we put our kids in private school, I am interested in books about budgeting, the state of the economy etc... This book had many interesting examples of people struggling to keep up financially. Her main argument is the government does not look out for the middle class enough: wages, health care benefits, retirement benefits, and housing oppo ...more
Jul 25, 2012 Yitka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yikes. Like many previous reviewers have stated, this is a disheartening read overall! If you're a young, educated member of today's American middle class, you're likely to find a great deal to relate to in this book, and most of it is pretty depressing. I did find some aspects refreshing, at least...the level of honest, candid disclosure on the struggles of an increasingly squeezed middle class. The rules have definitely changed since our parents' generation, and too often, I find economists/fi ...more
Aug 02, 2008 Wellington rated it it was ok

In the beginning the book grated on my nerves with people whining. But I decided to work myself through it any way because sometimes it's good to listen to an opposing viewpoint.

The book itself can be good reading if you are one of the many struggling middle class burdened with mounting debts and expectations of a supposed American typical middle class life and want to feel like other people share your pain. (sorry for long-ish sentence)

However, I'm not a proponent of more regulation and a bigge
May 26, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it

Nan Mooney set out to write an article about the struggles she was having as a single young writer living and working in Manhattan. She was on a book tour at the time and would tell her audiences what she was working on and ask them to talk to her if they had tales to tell.

Did they ever. What emerged is a clear and powerful indictment of the American middle-class dream, at least as it is idealized by so many. Her basic premise is that many of the younger, two-income couples she interviewed had d
Jul 20, 2010 Woodall rated it it was amazing
As a relatively young woman who desperately wishes to have a child but has been restricted due to educational, career, and financial choices, I found “(Not) Keeping Up with Our Parents” reassuring to realize that I am not alone in my struggle. Nor have I erred in these life choices because I have been feed empty promises of success. Mooney has effectively illustrated the plight of the now struggling educated middle class who are burdened with financial hardships resulting from their choices to p ...more
Jan 12, 2016 Liz rated it liked it
What a dismal bunch of information on how the middle class isn't really an achievable goal for most, in spite of college degree or degrees. I wonder, though, how these interviews would have read if this had been written after the Affordable Care Act was in place for a few years. Making the choice between those things our parents seemed to be able to have achieved (owing a home, taking vacations, having retirement funds, adequate health insurance, and even paying for children!) seems to be beyond ...more
Jan 05, 2011 Erin rated it really liked it
I definitely could relate to many of the insights made by the author. The author challenges the belief that if you go to college and obtain a degree, you will make more money, when in reality, that is no longer the case. One line of thinking teaches you to study what you love, but that theory fails to acknowledge that you have big bills to pay such as a mortgage, student loan, car payments, etc. At times, I wanted to say in acknowledgment, "Amen!," and at other times was frustrated and angry at ...more
Oct 25, 2008 Erica rated it really liked it
I picked this book up immediately after reading Jennifer Government , a novel about a world where corporations have taken over and there is no government and almost no call for social responsibility. Nan Mooney argues that this is exactly the world we are heading toward in Not Keeping Up With Our Parents. She approaches many of the difficulties that people have in managing their finances today, including dealing with increased student loans, health care and child care costs, and a volatile hous ...more
Mar 02, 2010 Mscharlee rated it liked it
Started out good, bleak but really eye opening. Paints a picture of just how freaking hard it is for my generation vs. my parent's. Problem was it got too repetitive and eventually depressing. Chapter after chapter goes into just how messed up our economy and society is and how we will never catch up. Also, some of the examples made in the book were not very good ones. For instance, anyone shelling out over six figures in college loans has been mislead. Several of the people mentioned who are st ...more
Dec 10, 2008 Vassi rated it liked it
Wow, this book illustrates a lot of the issues that plague the middle class. If you are a gen X or gen Y individual who has a college degree (even a post-doctorate degree) and is struggling to make ends meet, this book will only fuel the fire of resentment already boiling inside of you. HA! No, seriously, I read this book because I found the title to be intriguing. All in all, Nan Mooney takes a very Socialistic approach to government and almost suggests that it's the responsibility of the wealt ...more
Betsy Brainerd
Sep 03, 2009 Betsy Brainerd rated it liked it
Well-written and well-researched. Nan Mooney explains why it is so difficult for the middle class to keep its collective head above water. Rising health care costs, childcare costs, student loan payments and dampened salaries (particularly for those in the helping professions, including teachers, librarians, psychologists, and those in the arts)are making it difficult for many to purchase homes, save for retirement, etc. She talks about the myth that if you do the right thing - i.e., go to colle ...more
Feb 27, 2008 Jessie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those of us who despair when we look at our bank accounts
(full disclosure: I work for the publisher...)

Do your student loan balances exceed what you make in a year? Why does it seem like we make less and less and owe more and more? Nan Mooney relates honest stories about personal finance--some horrifying, some familiar--that paint a grim picture of life in the professional middle class today. Many of us are reluctant to talk to our friends and family about our money anxieties, but this book may change your mind: it's likely they're experiencing the sa
Stuart Lutz
Jan 01, 2011 Stuart Lutz rated it it was amazing
A very important and informative Gen X book, filled with facts interwoven with interviews of people. The book really sang to me the way few other non-fiction books have recently. Mooney correctly predicted that the housing bubble couldn't go on forever, and she discusses how some parents will still be paying off their college loans while their kids are off at college. I thought the last chapter was a tad too preachy, but I read it quickly and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Aug 20, 2008 Sue rated it really liked it
This isn't easy to read, regardless of what stage of your life you're in, but I feel it's realistic. Reading it at a young age and being aware of the "real world" will help you come up with your best plan as you finish school and start out on your career.
The Moongoddess
Jun 29, 2008 The Moongoddess rated it it was amazing
A great look at the socio-economic crisis in America that many are facing as the middle class becomes almost non-existent. Another reason I like the book is because I am in it! :)
The Librarian
Sep 20, 2008 The Librarian rated it really liked it
This book confirmed my suspicions that Gen X IS working hard. We're just not getting the same bang for our bucks as previous generations...not by a long shot.
Jan 31, 2010 Cheri rated it it was amazing
Want to know why you feel like you're swimming uphill despite being college-educated & having a professional job? This book is for you.
Feb 21, 2011 A'Llyn rated it really liked it
Looking to get an engagingly-written book that will have you super-depressed about your financial prospects? Look no further!
Jan 13, 2009 shannon rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
not recommended for anyone who'd like to sleep at night. jesus.
Victoria Vogel
Aug 04, 2010 Victoria Vogel rated it really liked it
All I can say about this one is......word.
Aug 02, 2008 Gabrielle rated it liked it
Equal parts enlightening and frightening.
Katie Redman
Katie Redman marked it as to-read
Jul 25, 2016
Janice J
Janice J rated it really liked it
May 24, 2016
Diana Nagy
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Apr 14, 2016
Elaine rated it liked it
Jan 31, 2016
Stacey rated it it was amazing
Jan 23, 2016
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Nan Mooney is the author of three books and numerous articles for publications including the Washington Post, The Daily News,, the Utne Reader, Women's eNews and Alternet among others. She currently lives in Seattle with her son Leo and lots of rain.
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