Mark — San Francisco
I’m a teacher. I don’t get a huge salary, but I have been able to save money and put it in my retirement account plus we do get a nice retirement benefit from my district. The stock market and the economy in general have really made a difference in how I’m going to be able to live during my retirement years. I know there’s some people who say, “Oh only a few people own stock in this country”. But the reality is that most people who are government or city or even private sector employees, have some kind of retirement plan that’s linked to the stock market. And people like us, who do not make a lot of money in our salary, like the Techies, this is a chance for us to have a bit more security. I understand that there’s a lot of discussion of the haves and the have-nots, but my salary is probably closer to the have-not than the have side of things. And I must say that the uptick in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the economy in general is going to really make a difference. Obviously there is a risk, things could go down before I retire. Without risk there is no reward. That’s a pretty fair way of looking at things. I’ve worked hard for my money, I’m not Donna Summer, but I’ve worked for my money. And one of the rewards I get for choosing to teach children and endure in this Bay Area, high cost of living is the security of knowing that there will be something for my retirement years.
Valerie — Ukiah
My personal economy is still trying to get myself back to where I was in 2008. My pay is lower. I work for a local county government, my pay is ten percent lower right now than it was in 2008. I have not gotten a raise since that time, and indeed my salary has been lowered by ten percent. So for me my wages have shrunk and I’m not feeling it.
John — San Francisco
I’m 59 years old and I’m working an entry level job as a telemarketer in a construction company because I can’t find anything better right now. I have a bachelor of architecture degree, and I have a semester in graduate City Planning Credits. I work for a property management company on a temporary contract and I was laid off and there were no benefits involved with that. There’s been a 2.2 percent unemployment rate but I really wonder how strong the post recession recovery was from the great recession seven years ago. For a lot of folks, especially mid-life folks, who are often discriminated against, especially age discrimination in the city where everyone seems to be under 30 years old, or easily under 35. The ones to get the headlines are the 30 under 30 the 40 under 40 list of the San Francisco Business Times. It doesn’t make any sense, it just doesn’t make any sense. I’m barely making ends meet. It’s a good thing I’m in a rent controlled apartment for the last 15 years.
Judi — Sonoma
The stock market and our economy may be doing very well, but you wouldn’t know it by my paycheck that has been practically stagnant for the last ten years. In the meantime prices of food, medical care, gasoline, housing and most everything else have skyrocketed. Wall street and the stock market doing well just means to me that the wealthiest are just getting wealthier.
Now Social Security, which I’m required to pay into, they say I’m probably going to get just 75 percent of what they owe me. I didn’t set up this system, I wasn’t asked if I wanted to participate. It’s not my fault that the government has spent most of the Social Security taxes collected on other things. Social Security was set up as a government run retirement savings account for the American people. Far from being an entitlement, Social Security is my money that the government has virtually stolen. I’m sixty years old and I’ve worked forty hours a week almost my entire adult life. I’m still working now and I bring home $2,200 a month with no outstanding debt. I’m basically living paycheck to paycheck with $3,000 in savings. Believe it or not I consider myself luckier than a lot of people. The economy is doing well for rich people but not for poor people and us who used to be lower middle class and maybe even middle class. I do believe it’s un-American for 1 percent of our country’s population to have almost all the money. And I’m not saying we all get to be rich, but what the middle class and the lower middle class and poor people put up with from wealthiest of the wealthy people is not right, and like I said, truly un-American
Karen, Fort Bragg
I’m making about half of what I was making hourly wage fifteen years ago. So that’s how it’s treating me.