Economic Anxiety Index®

You told us how your economy is doing

Marketplace Staff Oct 27, 2015

As we roll out the results of our first-ever national economic survey, we also want to hear from you: How’s your economy doing? Are you one of the one-fourth of Americans who say they’re losing sleep over their finances? When was the last time you got raise?

We put out a call Monday and we’ve already gotten a lot of stories that paint a very different picture of the economic recovery than what we’re used to hearing. Read just a few of the stories — which have been lightly edited for clarity —and submit your own here.

Dave Williams:

For us, okay. I’m a salaried worker for a large university, my wife is a retired RN. We’ve reached our target for retirement savings but wonder now if it will be enough, and setting a retirement date for me is akin to riding ocean waves in a storm, given market variability and the prospects of a bear market. We have what we think are significant savings until we see an “unknown-unknown” like our insurer wanting us to put on a new roof. So I think we’re good, but really don’t know for sure.

Emily Pauly:

I recently went from an hourly consulting job — where my contract would be under question every few months — to a permanent, salaried position. It’s been about six weeks and I can definitely tell that I am under less stress and feel less anxiety about my job security and financial security now. So for me the economy is doing better, but the workplace I was previously in made it a habit of hiring consultants. I know firsthand how nerve-wracking it can be to be in a position like that.

Susan [no last name given]:

Worrisome, sometimes fearful for the future. I’ve “retired” twice: once at the age of 62, but needed to go back to work to keep my head above water financially (and I live very, very modestly), and then I retired for the second time six months ago at the age of 67. Now I am 68 and worrying everyday that I need to go back to work, if I’m able to find anything at my age. I’ve been working for over 50 years now, and realize that many poor people in the world work their entire lives. I never expected to be “poor” in retirement, nor to have to work my entire life, but I am and I do.

Samantha Rodrick:

My economy certainly does not feel better and I am in my twenties and single. Student loan debt makes it nearly impossible to save for anything though I am contributing to a 401k account at 5 percent. I have a dream of owning my own land and a house, but with $40k+ in student loans it feels like it will be difficult to afford this dream till I am well into my 30s.

What’s sad is my parents are much worse off than me. I very likely have room to wiggle and if I have to — my parents do not. I worry that I do not have enough excess income to support them if something happens. I do not have any savings for myself, let alone my parents. If my mom could not physically work anymore I don’t know what I would do. I couldn’t even float myself for a month if I couldn’t work. I am not living in excess. I drive an ’05 Focus, I have a roommate, the heat doesn’t go on ’til well into November.

Many times I have considered getting a second job or more austerity to improve my cash flow. I am not sure quality of life is worth it though.

Jonathan Lamborn:

My economy feels pretty good, but I am part of strong trade union dealing with international trade. This always means we are the first to feel a recovery and the last to feel a downturn in the economy. I have seen more raw and finished steel going through the largest port in the country, along with increased container volumes. Personally, I have had the chance to use the last couple of years to save for a duplex that I recently purchased with my wife.

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