Summary of The Two-Income Trap

Why Middle-Class Mothers and Fathers are Going Broke

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The Two-Income Trap book summary
Two-income families with kids are increasingly financially vulnerable. What policy changes could ensure their future safety?


8 Overall

5 Applicability

10 Innovation

8 Style


Mother-and-daughter authors Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi tell the frightening tale of a rising tide of bankruptcies and financial difficulties in middle-class America. Their statistics show that families with children, including single parent families, are hardest hit by this epidemic. The authors, who make no pretence of objectivity, blame corporate greed and government neglect. Their politically improbable proposals include school vouchers removing geography as a placement criteria and the re-regulation of lending. The book doesn’t ever really define its pivotal audience, the "middle class." It trusts your conventional wisdom about what it means to be middle-class, while passionately questioning conventional wisdom about consumer debt. Yet, despite the book’s flaws, the authors make a thought-provoking, eye-opening argument about lending practices and they issue clear warnings about debt. recommends this book to families, and to anyone concerned about social justice, family-friendly policies and consumer debt.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How U.S. middle-class families with children are more vulnerable than ever to severe financial distress
  • The two biggest myths that disguise the true reasons for this vulnerability
  • Several government policy changes that could help millions of families stay financially secure


Middle-class Families at Risk
America's middle class is facing a hidden danger: bankruptcy. Today, more people file for bankruptcy than get divorced. While divorce, and its influence on children, is widely studied, few families discuss their finances or admit to the shame of bankruptcy...
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About the Authors

Elizabeth Warren, a professor at Harvard Law School, is the co-author of As We Forgive Our Debtors and The Fragile Middle Class. She is vice-president of the American Law Institute, and served as Chief Advisor to the National Bankruptcy Review Commission. Amelia Warren Tyagi was a McKinsey & Company consultant, specializing in health care, insurance and education. She co-founded HealthAllies, a healthcare company.

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