These traits may differ from those in the middle class but their offspring, in the form of goods and services, are making their way "downstream."
"From life coaches to luxury vacation rentals, concierge medical care to high dollar prep course into the Ivy League [these things] are making their way downstream, steadily becoming available to a much broader population," Prince and Schiff say. "What was once the province of only the super rich is now being created and packaged for the 'downline' population or for those with fewer zeros in their net worth, but similar aspirations."
It's a whole new level of keeping up with the Joneses.
Take the OnStar navigation system. It began as an emergency road service for high-end luxury vehicles. Now it's even offered on midrange trucks. Similar trends are occurring in real estate, vacations, airline travel and other services.
In other words, people are being told that ridiculous, pointless luxuries that the rich used to waste their money on, are now being marketed back to people who are definitely not rich. But they're told these things are now necessities, and of course people believe them. So instead of saving their money, they'll spend it on these things, then complain they can't get ahead.
No one really seems to want to get off of the treadmill.