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If you've lived through the recession of 2008, you probably have seen the U.S. struggling to catch their bearings again financially. The U.S. has been struggling to regain it's economic balance but truly the wage gap and percentage of our poor population has only increased.

Michael Farr writes that the economy should have been booming since we saw unemployment reach a low of 4% in 2019, but there hasn't been any meaningful inflation, or output of money, in the last decade. The culmination of economic suffering and irresponsible government response has lead us to a top 1% of our population hording all the countries wealth.

It's also known that vulnerable racial and social groups are more likely to experience high rates of poverty in the U.S., as well as in gender and sexuality variants.

You may reading this and yet still not know what it's like to truly be living below the arbitrary poverty line in the U.S.

Reddit user 192335 went to Ask Reddit to find out:

"What do most people not understand about being poor?"

Some of these comments may not be entirely from the U.S., but they definitely speak to the experience of economic hardship that many are facing.

It's exhausting.

"Being poor is f*cking exhausting. It's draining. Mentally. Physically. It's just exhausting."

"Everyone needs a win sometimes. Sometimes that win is finding a way to just afford a f*cking meal out or a movie. Yeah, you do have bills to pay and sh*t to do. But everyone needs a breath of fresh air sometimes."

"A struggle needs a f*cking break every so often."

- BogeyBogeyBogey

"I agree. I can't stand when people are like yeah blowing money on a coffee at Starbucks is a rip off when you can make it at home way cheaper. No sh*t. For some people though, it's the one treat they get for themselves."

- rinzler83

"So true. Growing up my parents would take me and my siblings 'out to eat' for dinner when they could and only as an adult did I realize it was at a breakfast diner most times."

"Kids get pancakes, they'd get bagels and butter/jelly. And that was our 'big family dinner date.'"

"Sure, it's cheaper to buy bagels at home, but sometimes you just need to get out of the house and have some away time to act normal."

"BreakfastForDinnerCrew reporting in."

- Chiggadup

Living in constant fear and question.

"The fear. Of something unexpected you haven't budgeted for. Of a knock at the door from a debt collector. Having to choose which of your children can eat more than once today. Having to choose which days you go hungry so your children can eat at all."

- flossgoat2

Getting dental care can be difficult.

"I am going to the dentist today. I haven't been in about a year. I've got stuff that should have been done ages ago, but I just didn't have the money. Now I've got a decent income and have saved a bit, I can go without too much worry, but the damage is much worse than if I just went regularly."

"With that, the cost of the procedure will be higher. Six months ago, I couldn't have afforded the x-ray they do at the start of the exam, let alone a procedure. I'm just lucky nothing went too wrong in that time. I looked at insurance. Basically nothing but minor stuff is covered by anyone. One bad tooth infection/abscess and I would have been totally wiped out."

- PapaOoMaoMao

"I didn't get to go for years. Dentists wouldn't clean my teeth without x-rays too. I didn't have money for both. So I went without. Then when my situation improved, they had the audacity to shame me for waiting so long."

- cautionjaniebites

In the U.S. in 2017, one in five people without medical insurance skipped out on medical care because of cost.

"I just want to jump in to anyone who might come across this because I found the solution I needed. After I fought through 15 years of depression my teeth where a sad reminder of how I didn't take care of myself. I would have never thought I would be able to smile with confidence as dental work in the US is criminally expensive even with decent insurance."

"But today I can and do have a big smile on my face, dental tourism is a legitimate solution. I took a flight down to Tijuana MX to have 4 root canals + zirconium crowns, 4 zirconium veneers (so all my front teeth match), and 8 composite fillings for $5.5k (excluding travel cost)."

- King_of_Nope

"I joked to my dentist once that I might go to Mexico to have work done. I had heard about dental tourism as an affordable option but wasn't exactly sure about it. Their tone immediately shifted from my friendly, neighborhood dentist to a more judgmental 'they don't have adequate dentistry standards like we have here.' It threw me off a bit but it felt like it came from a place of genuine concern. It's as if they think any dentist out of country is your crazy uncle with a pair of pliers running his office out of his garage."

- moderate_millenial

Being poor is expensive.

"How expensive it is."

- Duende_Saudade

"Cycle of poverty is no joke. I got really sick from anxiety. My stomach hurt, I developed an ulcer, I had to go to the hospital. Ok so root problem is anxiety and depression. How do I fix it? Therapy and maybe medication. But I'm already in debt from going to the hospital. So I try to do without. Manage on my own. Pay down bills. Anxiety grows from seeing the debt and life under covid. Anxiety. Stomach hurts. We're back to the beginning."

- HitlersSt*nkySn*tch

"How do you fix it? Money. They say money can't buy happiness, I call BS. 75% of the things that bring me stress could be fixed by money."

- Booji-Boy

"Having money's not everything; not having it is."

- simmonsatl

What is the sweet spot?

"They say money matters up to around 75k a year."

- Winpigg

"That was one study done in 2010; adjusting for inflation the figure is about $92k now. Other studies have found that wealthy people are indeed happier than working class people."

- Justwantedtono

If you're interested in learning about it, Forbes wrote about the study from Princeton University.

Time is money.

"It takes up all of your time."

- SparkyValentine

"Yep. I remember not being able to stock up on necessities. So I would have to run to the store a lot more frequently. I couldn't afford a car so I would either have to bus or walk. All of these little things eat up so much time."

- djflossy

If you're struggling to pay off debt, wondering how to get back on track financially, or struggling to find ways to get food on your table, you're not alone.

Feeding America is a resource that can help you find your local foodbanks. On the site, you can also see if you can benefit from government assistance programs.

You can also check out the Mutual Aid Hub where you can find local organizing that's benefiting your community and helping the most vulnerable.

Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.

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