""the rich get richer and the poor and middle class get poorer?""
The above is not a given. More and more are joining the 'rich', and the poor and middle class are not getting 'poorer' here in the USA, as those 'poor' classes are continuly being added to through illegal and legal imigration plus the high birth rate among the unmarried 'poor'.
A wise man (hubby) once said "A person has more control over his/her life than the person thinks he/she has."
Here are some 'tips' to allow one to save YOUR OWN MONEY for retirement. This would apply to all you 'poor' working folk putting in 40 hour/week: (we dairy farmed; actual working time +/- 12 hr/day, some night work, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year -NO "BENIFITS". We paid for our own 'benifits', ie. retirement savings, medical ins., had to pay for hired help if we wanted a day or several off, and then worried about the hired help ruininng our capital; cows, calves, buildings, equipment, etc........
Live within a 5 mile radius of your workplace.
Never pay more than 25% of your net (read 'take home pay) monthly income for rent/house payment
Get a ROTH IRA and regularly 'feed' it 10% +/- of your monthly net
Have kids? They do not need 'designer' jeans, athletic shoes, etc., there are alternatives. Kids don't need their own TV, phone, computer, - they are part of a 'family', these 'bells and whistles' are 'family' items.
Keep your car well maintained, by new every 12-15 years and pay 'cash'.
Cut back on 'entertainment' expenses; bars, restaurants, movies; note 'Cut back', not cut out. Make them rare but special events.
Teenage kids? School work and grades should be the top priority, the if they have too much time and energy on their hands...a part time job.
Collage age kids? Scholarships, grants, their own part time/ full time work. No student loans, no parents footing the bill. Been there, done that. It can be done! Don't forget to point out to them that the world still needs skilled tradesmen (plumbers, electricians, excavators, etc.)
Debit card yes/maybe....Credit card NO.
From Charles Dickens in "DAVID COPPERFILD"
"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure ninteen nineteen six, result happiness.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."
You, and no one else, are in control of your expenditures!!!