12

Cutting savings to the bone

Marketplace's Wealth and Poverty reporters talked with people from all over the country, and many, regardless of their earning power, had very little in the way of savings.

Daryl Snell of Nashville, Tennessee works as a server in a restaurant. "On paper," Daryl says, "I'm poor."

Courtney Kimsey of Des Moines Iowa says she's part of the middle class, but it's tough to stay there.

Rob Wininger of Los Angeles, with his wife and business partner Sandra. Even though income from the business can vary month to month, Rob calls himself upper middle class.

Tess Vigeland: As part of our Wealth and Poverty coverage all this week on Marketplace, we introduced you to people from across the class spectrum and around the country. Today we're focusing on two big issues: budgeting and saving.

So allow me to introduce you to Daryl Snell -- a 43-year-old waiter in Nashville who makes $21,000 a year, Courtney Kimsey -- a 29-year-old mom and freelance writer in Des Moines, Iowa who lives on about $48,000 a year, and Rob Wininger -- he and his wife own a small business in Los Angeles and make about $130,000 a year.


Daryl Snell: My name is Daryl Snell. I live in Nashville, Tenn., and I live alone. I don't keep a strict budget, but always in the back of my mind is the thought that, "Ok, the mortgage is going to be this part, and it's been cold so the electric bill's going to be a little higher and the gas bill's going to be a little higher, so maybe I shouldn't spend as much." I don't have it written down, but it's always in the back of my mind that I have to be aware of what I'm spending and how I'm spending. And to be as frugal as possible, I clip coupons, I buy in bulk and freeze things, I have a huge pantry. That's how you make it. You pay as little as you have to get as much as you can and then make it last. I have absolutely no savings. I think there might be $50 in my savings account. I worry about retirement as much as I worry about my day-to-day living. It's not going to happen -- I'm going to work until the day I die.

Courtney Kimsey: My name is Courtney Kimsey. I live in Des Moines, Iowa. My husband Keith and I have two boys who are 5 and almost 2. We try to maintain a budget, but because I do freelance, and my work cannot guarantee us anything, it's hard. It's a struggle, and we've worked on it for years. The money that we do have, we can't let any of it go. My car is literally 19 years old. We basically live paycheck to paycheck. We have minimal savings, but to lose his income -- my husband's -- we'd be fearful of losing our house. When our second son was born, I left my job because of day-care issues, and we had to cash out our retirement, so we have none. I feel like a downer when I'm talking about some of this, but even though we do struggle, we feel like our situation will improve when our youngest son can go to school, I go back to work full-time. And having two salaries in our family will make an immense difference.

Rob Wininger: My name is Rob Wininger. I live in Sherman Oaks, Calif. I'm married to Sandra Wininger. We have four children together in private schools, and that's something that's been a huge, huge aspect of our budget. I think we're one of those families that really keeps CostCo in business. We're playing it day by day instead of having some sense of security behind us financially. We have maybe $8,000 to $10,000 in a savings account that would be for emergencies, but we don't have any investment accounts for retirement. I've heard people call it "F-you money," which is that sack in the bank that you know you're OK. For me, to know I have an extra $100,000 in the bank, and I don't have to worry as much, that is something I'm a little bit envious of.

Daryl Snell of Nashville, Tennessee works as a server in a restaurant. "On paper," Daryl says, "I'm poor."

Courtney Kimsey of Des Moines Iowa says she's part of the middle class, but it's tough to stay there.

Rob Wininger of Los Angeles, with his wife and business partner Sandra. Even though income from the business can vary month to month, Rob calls himself upper middle class.

Log in to post12 Comments

Pages

There are different people living different lives and doing different jobs to survive.It's frustrating that some of them can not save money on retirement or emergencies because they are focused on surviving and paying bills.But even if your income is extremely low you should try to save some money, there's always something to do.I know people with low-income job, but they try to find another part-time job and try to make some money there,work on their skills and try different kind of jobs. I understand that every one of us have a different situation but I don't want to say that only a way out is to do your job,get your low income and say that there's nothing else to do.I believe that there's always a chance to earn more money and save some money, because nobody knows what happens tommorow, if today it's just bad, tommorow it can be worse,so better off is try as much as it possible to do something to make you life better, at least a little.
http://cashadvancesus.com/

"I'm going to work until the day I die."

Welcome to the club. For most of us it's: low pay, long hours & work till you drop. Most of the advice you get on shows like Market Place about saving part of your salary for retirement is a complete joke and bares no relation to the kind of paycheck-to-paycheck lives many American, even educated ones, now live.

I agree with several comments above and would argue that the story is incomplete. There is likely little demographics between the Wininger's and the Kimsey's apart from professional choices made and perhaps a bit of cunning. Throw this into sharper relief by including a household with a lawyer or doctor, etc.

"I'm going to work until the day I die." Forgive me, but something about that statement seems all too wrong. How has our country gone from such brilliance and glory to increasing numbers on the streets? My question has yet to be answered, and quite frankly I believe the reason for it not being answered is because no one actually knows. Where is all of the money going? People work day in and day out all of their lives', and yet they find that they must keep working or else they must declare bankruptcy. So how does this work exactly? Say you make something like 80-90,000$ a year, a reasonably generous salary. How is it that us Americans, in the land of opportunitites and excess lifestyles, are crumbling at the might of our own hand? One couldn't even resort to robbing a bank because chances are it'll be empty! I was born and raised in America, always was and always will be, but I'm ashamed to say that I am a citizen of this place and even more ashamed to say how well our neighboring country Canada is doing in comparison to us. Change is needed indeed, but I believe that the time for change has come and gone. We are decling in more ways than I care to count. Words cannot even explain how saddening it is for one to walk out of their house with open arms ready to embrace the world just to have your dreams crushed, your money lost?, and the worst part is... it seems nothing can be done to stop it.

The comments by Robert Reich seem to ring true for these vignettes....education is part of the key. We are now a society in which a majority of people are a paycheck away from being in a free fall into poverty.

The comments by Robert Reich seem to ring true for these vignettes....education is part of the key. We are now a society in which a majority of people are a paycheck away from being in a free fall into poverty.

The comments by Robert Reich seem to ring true for these vignettes....education is part of the key. We are now a society in which a majority of people are a paycheck away from being in a free fall into poverty.

The comments by Robert Reich seem to ring true for these vignettes....education is part of the key. We are now a society in which a majority of people are a paycheck away from being in a free fall into poverty.

The comments by Robert Reich seem to ring true for these vignettes....education is part of the key. We are now a society in which a majority of people are a paycheck away from being in a free fall into poverty.

I'm never sure what the message of these vignettes is supposed to be -- that people at all income levels worry? I'm sure the Winingers have their concerns, but compared to people worried about retirement, their houses and their jobs (not to mention having only $50 in savings), it's hard to be sympathetic. The Winingers have *choices*, Mr. Snell doesn't. What is the point in comparing the two?

Pages

With Generous Support From...