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opinion | 12 Economically Insecure Americans on What Keeps Them Up at Night

Mary (68, white, Massachusetts, retired, makes between $50,000 and $75,000): Hopeful. I’m hopeful.

Margie Omero: Tony, how about you?

Tony (62, white, Arizona, business owner, makes between $30,000 and $50,000): I run a business out of my home. I do antique restoration and antique work. When I order stuff, it takes forever to get it. Customers, they’re really, really shy about doing business right now because of the Covid.

Jenny (49, white, Tennessee, licensed psychotherapist, makes between $50,000 and $75,000): I’m in Nashville, and it’s growing like crazy. We have tons of folks moving from California, Illinois, New York, places like that. It’s driving our housing market through the roof. And groceries are getting expensive. Some shelves are empty. And I hear that we’re not the only city.

Margie Omero: Let me ask this differently now. What about for you personally?

Bekira (53, Black, Michigan, not working and not looking for work, makes between $30,000 and $50,000): I’m on a fixed income. I’ve been like that for 15 years. And the only way I’m going to get out of that is to go back to work. But the day the pandemic started roaring up, I had two job interviews, one for the post office and one with another company to get fingerprinted, but slowly but surely they were shutting the city down and then the state. Two years later, the only thing that I had was those $1,400 checks.

sammy (68, Black, Nevada, retired, makes between $30,000 and $50,000): I drove gasoline tankers for 40 years. And my wife’s a retired nurse. We left Chicago going on three years ago now and came here, to Las Vegas. My wife got a job in two different places here as a nurse. And all of a sudden, she had a massive stroke. I’m taking care of her. I can’t go out and make money, like driving trucks again, because I got to be home with her. So I got to look for other means of making money.

justin: I’ve been an actor for over 20 years. I’ve never had a recurring paycheck. I’m currently back with my parents. I’ve become one of those stereotypical millennials who just leeches off their parents. I’m not really happy about that. But I probably am privileged in my situation right now.

jennifer: I lost my job like a year ago. I have three kids. And the smallest one, she just turned 1. Everything’s getting expensive. Diapers. Food. They eat a lot of food. Right now I’m staying in a two-bedroom apartment. I was looking into buying a house at the beginning of 2020, and then everything happened and people were outbidding us. I don’t have a lot of money to be putting on a higher price for a house.

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