Tips for Ruth Madoff: How to live in the middle class

Dear Mrs. Madoff:

I understand that with your husband in jail for the rest of his life and you losing claim to millions of dollars worth of real estate and other assets in the bargain, you are being left with only $2.5 million to your name. That gives you an income of about $125,000 a year.

Keep this in mind: 90% of Americans don't make anywhere near this. But for two-income professional couples on either coast, this represents a middle class income.

So allow me to give you some general tips on how to live like the middle class, although, as the character in Casablanca says, I don't know why because it can not possibly benefit me.

First thing's first, I'd find your AARP card and join up. Lots of discounts for you there. And you're gonna need them, lady.

Housing: You might have trouble finding affordable housing. This is sure to surprise you, having up until recently enjoyed lavish homes in half a dozen locations without a thought over how they were paid for. But, and I'm sorry to tell you this, your yearly nut won't qualify you for any home anywhere you'd be interested in living. The average cost of a home in Beverly Hills is $1.9 million. While in Manhattan the average cost is $1.4 million. It's looking like nobody in town is going to rent you anything there, anyway.