There was a time when Wendy and Martin, a couple from Illinois, were perceived as upper-middle-class Americans…but not anymore. "We've really been hit hard by this recession," Wendy says.

Wendy once owned two successful salons, but in February 2009, she closed the doors for good. These days, she does hair out of her home to pay the bills. The recession also forced her husband, Martin, to close his housing business.

With bills piling up, Wendy and Martin say they can no longer afford to treat their friends to dinner or host lavish parties. Since they dropped to a lower social class, Wendy says the phone doesn't ring as often. "It made me feel so sad just to think that people I would talk to or associate with on a daily basis weren't my friend anymore," she says. "They know the well is dry."


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