SAN ANTONIO — Since Kimberley Aguilar married Sergio Garcia on April 6, they've planned a honeymoon on the beach in Mexico and moved into a three-bedroom house, complete with a yard for the groom's two daughters and miniature Doberman, Gigi, to play in. "I think our generation is very lucky," Sergio says. Not only have he and his peers achieved more financial security than their parents did, they also have time and resources to invest in their own education. Being middle class in America used to mean sending your kids to college. Now it means being able to send yourself to college, too.
Neither Kim nor Sergio has a college diploma, but both are thinking about returning to school part time, an option their parents never had. The newlyweds are second-generation Americans, the grandchildren of Mexican nationals, and both grew up on the city's heavily Hispanic south side. Kim, who's 32, and Sergio, 31, went to the same middle school and high school in San Antonio but didn't meet until they were in their 20s. Together, they earn $80,000 to $90,000 a year.
Life has had its "struggles," Sergio says, but not on the scale their parents faced. Kim's father, a plumber, was in and out of work, and her mother's secretarial income often kept the family going. Sergio's dad worked construction, and he, too, struggled to make ends meet. Sergio and Kim both remember times when there was nothing to eat at home but rice and beans.