Shifting Social Classes
Then, in December 2008, his celebrated career came to a sudden end. Ernie was fired, and his six-digit salary was gone in an instant. When the severance package he was promised fell through, Ernie and his wife, Susan, found themselves facing a financial crisis.
Fortunately, Ernie had been studying veterinary care and got a job at an animal hospital. The bad news? He earns 80 percent less than he used to. "[We're] living like we used to live when we were first married 36 years ago," he says. "[We] get a cheap six-pack of beer and invite friends over to play cards."