Are you "making it" in America? Does your income meet your NEEDS?

United States
February 7, 2008 1:59pm CST
I'm not asking anyone their income here. And I don't want to hear that your income isn't sufficient because you can't buy a wide screen tv. I'm wondering how many people are struggling to meet the bare necessities. Do you have Health Insurance coverage, Life Insurance, Savings, Retirement? Can you put your child through college, or will you have to mortgage your house to do it? What is keeping you from "making it"? Lack of education, no vehicle, heavy unemployment in your area? I don't want this to be a sob story place. I'd like to see what the real NEEDS are, and if there are commonalities. Thanks for responding.
3 people like this
6 responses
@dragon54u (31651)
• United States
7 Feb 08
My situation is a little different from most. I'm divorced after 20 years and I have spousal support but I'm in my early 50's and my husband never saved for retirement. There aren't many jobs available that don't require standing (I have scoliosis and arthritis) and most places I apply to hire younger workers, anyway. Jobs are scarce here. So, although I have an adequate income I have to live as if I don't. I have insurance (pricey!!), enough to eat, I can pay my bills but my future is very uncertain. I realize I'm better off than a whole lot of folks out there, but my income could stop at any time--just like everyone else's!
• United States
8 Feb 08
Hi Dragon Yes early 50s is a difficult age. We have experience but generally other issues that make us unattractive to employers. My husband goes through that. He works construction which often means finding a new job when the last one is completed. They appreciate his experience, but still only want to pay an entry level wage, which we can't live on. Have you looked into any of the Make Extra Money discussions? I am going to start one on Yuwie. I recently became a member of that. There is much misinformation going on around the net about it. It does have real potential to make some added income while enjoying your social time on the net. There are some real jobs available through the net, it just takes time and some effort to find them sometimes. Thanks for responding.
@sid556 (30999)
• United States
8 Feb 08
I am barely getting by. I am always grateful when I've been able to pay my rent knowing that for at least the next month, I will have a roof over my head as long as I don't mess up and have my electricity shut off. Getting ones electric shut off is automatic cause for eviction. I drive an old beat up car and can't afford insurance on it. I don't have health insurance and I don't get food stamps or anything like that because I work full time and am considered making too much. I have a re-built computer that I only paid 100.00 for. I don't own a cell phone and my tv is a 2nd hand one that i've had for 7 years. I own no new furniture and I don't spend alot on clothes or luxury items. Others have it much much worse. At least we are getting by...others are not.
• United States
10 Feb 08
Sid, yes, I hear you. Thank you for the positive position you take, even though your situation could be brighter. When they label us, you and I fall into that new category of "missing" Middle class; meaning that we make too much for help but not enough to be considered middle class. We ride the edge day to day struggling to make sure that we don't fall off the wrong side of the fence. The difficulty of that lifestyle is unknown to many, and one of the reasons I created this discussion. I was curious how many would respond in that manner. Thanks for your response.
@dlkuku (1936)
• United States
8 Feb 08
We struggle to just pay the bills, mortgage, electric, phone, we don't have extras. We thankfully have health insurance through hubby's work which is company paid, we have purchased insurance that will pay the house off if something happens to one of us. He has life insurance through his union, and a pension. But we have no separate savings, which we have been discussing. On the good side, we have made no new debt, and have worked to pay some things off, our goal to become debt free eventually, except the house of course. As for college, my daughter will be going to the community college, their tuition rates aren't as bad as other schools, and it's a good school. We are also looking into financial aid for her, applying for everything we can. Jobs in this area are really hard to come by, there have been so many layoffs and plant closing in the last year, over a thousand jobs were lost.
• United States
10 Feb 08
Well, dlkuku, it seems you have worked hard to get the measure of security you have. I'm glad for you. Applying for everything you can, and starting early when it comes to college financial aid and scholarships is great advice for others. Thank you.
@sylvrrain (659)
• United States
8 Feb 08
We are making it, barely. (No, I don't have the wide screen) Between bills, groceries, gas and insurance, by Thursday we are really cutting it close. I still feel blessed that I can put gas into my old car and have money to spend at the grocery store. I think the only problem in the area that I live in is the lack of higher paying jobs. There are jobs to be found, but few really good ones.
• United States
8 Feb 08
Yes Sylvrrain, The lack of good paying jobs is becoming more and more of a problem in the States today. With jobs being outsourced overseas, what are Americans to do? It's a major problem that I hope will get addressed if the focus comes back to America, rather than Iraq with a new president. Though I'm sure it's difficult, I'm glad for you that you are "cutting in close" rather than being under the wire :) Thanks for responding.
@angelface23 (2498)
• United States
7 Feb 08
we are not 'making it' right now. We moved out of our apartment in December ot live with my grandma cause we just couldnt afford the rent and I was sick of always having to pay the landlord 2-3 weeks late every month. My husband struggles to keep a job. I have been at my job for almost 3 years but I am not an employee so I get no benefits or taxes out. I also have a lot of debt that is catching up with me. I have Sallie Mae loans that I can't afford to pay and they are coming after me threating to garnish my wages. Point being we are trying to save up money to pay off my debt to get it back down to minimum payments and to find our own place.
• United States
8 Feb 08
Hi Angel, I think moving in with your Grandma was a smart idea. I'm sure she's happy for the company and having others to help out. Many families live together to help pool their resources. Having our own place is important to us all, but I hope that you find appreciation in this arrangement for all of you so that you can take the time you need to get straightened around. When you get back to being more financially secure, I'm sure you'll feel it was worth it. Good Luck!
• United States
7 Feb 08
Hi Kerenhap, We are a older couple. My husband is 60 and I am 57. We've been together for a very long time. We live ina modest, 2 bedroom home in a small town. We have downsized to one vehicle, a new pickup. We have health insurance and life insurance through my husband's employment. We have a nice saving and have worked hard for many years to secure our retirement. Our daughter went to college and we didn't have to mortgage anything for her to go. We have managed to have everything we want, based on the fact we don't really want much more than what we already have. We're looking forward to my husband's retirement in a couple of years. By most people's standards we are not rich by any stretch of the imagination, but from other's point of view, we live quite well. I don't mind saying we have managed to accomplish a comfortable lifestyle and have maintained it all of our lives together. It comes from good money management. While my response might not necessarily fill what it is you are really looking for, because we really have all of our needs met, I can tell you a comfortable lifestyle can be achieved. It just takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice, not always buying brand new. Hope this helps.