'This isn't how it's supposed to be': Family with ‘good jobs’ lives paycheck-to-paycheck
“Go to college, get a degree, work to support your family. Here we are. Did that. Now what?”
There’s a specific trait that exists deep in the American collective psyche that suggests that one’s financial well-being is somehow a reflection of their moral compass. Many people assume that if someone struggles to get by, they don’t work hard enough or make poor choices.
But that knee-jerk reaction couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are countless reasons why hard-working people struggle, especially these days with historically high inflation. Just about everything costs an arm and a leg.
For many, the sharp increase and costs forced them to go from being comfortable to getting by paycheck to paycheck. In addition to the financial stress, many feel stigmatized because of their struggles.
Mackenzie, a stressed-out mother from Pennsylvania, recently took to TikTok to share how hard it is for her family to get by even though she and her husband are responsible.
Normal people are struggling.
normal people are struggling. something has to change. #economy #groceries #price #rn #registerednurse #momsoftiktok
“I feel like my husband and I are doing everything right. We both have good jobs. I'm a nurse. I'm a registered nurse, work full time. He works full-time. We just got paid this past Friday, right? We paid the mortgage, bought some groceries, put some gas in the car,” Mackenzie said. “Guys, it is Tuesday. We have like [two hundred] or $300. To last us until next Friday.”
Mackenzie’s stress is only compounded by the frustration that comes with doing everything you were told to do and still coming up short.
“This isn't how it's supposed to be,” she continued. “Growing up, we were told to go to college, get a degree, work to support your family. Here we are. Did that now what? Now what?”
She then pointed out that our leaders seem out of touch and aren’t doing enough to help the average person. She sees a big disconnect between Washington, D.C. and Main Street, U.S.A. and hopes voices like hers can be amplified through social media.
“Feel free to share this video. Talk about it more. Maybe somebody who can do something about it will see one of our videos,” she added. "I just want to share our struggle, and maybe someone else can relate. I dunno, maybe we just need to support each other until things change."
A lot of people could relate. The video has received over 1 million views and 17,000 comments, where people shared how the salaries that once allowed them to live comfortably are now too small to get them through the month.
They also vented their frustrations at the fact that America’s political class appears to be ignoring the elephant in the room: the cost of living.
"I promise it’s not just you. It’s all of America," Trent Britton wrote. "I've never been in credit card debt and now I'm in debt because of GROCERIES," Chantelle Cyr added. "I make 6 figures and am STILL paycheck to paycheck! How in the hell?? I don't live beyond my means, either. It is so depressing!" Amy Knox Scott wrote.
In a follow-up video, Mackenzie shared a way forward for all struggling Americans, regardless of their class or political leanings.
"I am blown away by the kindness on that last video ... there were a few rude comments here and there, but for the most part—not only the kindness—but the thousands and thousands of people in the comments that are sharing their stories and their struggles,” she said.
Mackenzie suggests that we look for "commonalities, not differences" between people and communities and that we can find solutions through understanding everyone’s struggles.