In some states, when a couple enters into divorce, the court may award “alimony,” or spousal support, to one of the former spouses for the express purpose of limiting any unfair economic effects by providing a continuing income to the spouse. The purpose is to help that spouse continue the “standard of living” they had during the marriage.

The idea of “maintaining a standard of living,” has become a foundational bedrock in our society today. Americans, in general, have come to believe they are “entitled” to a certain type of house, car, and general lifestyle which includes NOT just the very basic necessities of living such as food, running water and electricity, but also the latest mobile phone, computer, and Internet connection. Really, what would be the point of living if you didn’t have access to Facebook every two minutes?

One of the charts that are often bantered about in the media is the increasing prosperity of the average American as witnessed by the following chart.

But, like most data extracted from the Federal Reserve, you have to dig behind the numbers to reveal the true story.

So let’s do that, shall we?

In America, the problem of maintaining the basic lifestyle is becoming ever more problematic as shown in an updated 2015 Pew Research study.

In the U.S., the poverty line in 2011 was $15.77 per day per capita for a household with four people (the precise poverty line varies by household size and composition). The poverty line is defined as the income three times the cost of an economy food plan as determined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Orshansky, 1965). In July 2011, the daily per capita cost of the USDA’s thrifty food plan was $5.07 for a family of four with two children ages 6-8 and 9-11 years.”