For Young People in the Middle

If you're young and middle class, forget the flat-screen TV. Get as much education as you can and start saving for your retirement now

I was brought up in Valley Station, Ky. On a recent trip back home, I had lunch with my friend Joanie. She talked about how the lives of her father, Bob, and her son, Jared, were indicative of the changing world of work in the U.S. (BusinessWeek.com, 8/20/07). "My dad didn't like to work," Joanie said, laughing. "He always put in the minimum number of hours, called in sick whenever possible, and did just enough to get by. He worked at a factory and, like all of the hourly employees, was a member of the union. He had no special training or education. Once he was hired, he assumed that he had a job for life. He was right.

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