DailyWorth Readers Share Their Biggest Financial Struggles

From how to best invest to how to pay off debt to how to make ends meet, your concerns were wide-reaching.

Last month, we asked some new DailyWorth readers to share their biggest financial struggles. Their responses were many, and varied from worries like how to best invest their money to how to start a business to simply making ends meet.

But one thing was clear: Women are more concerned now with their finances than ever before.

At DailyWorth, we believe that talking about financial challenges helps everyone. It breaks the barrier on the idea that talking about money is taboo, starts meaningful money conversations, and helps other women know that they are not alone, regardless of their financial struggles.

And most importantly, it gives you back your power – the power to recognize where you’re lacking financially, the strength to be open about it, and the courage to change it.

Here’s what they said.*

“My biggest struggle is that I’m massively underpaid, and I work in a field (venture capital) where jobs don’t open up frequently. My fiancée’s income is lumpy and unstable, and we quickly go from being very comfortable to struggling and stressed. I think that the best solution is to find a new job that pays an appropriate wage, but it’ll likely be a long, tiresome process. I’ve also thought about side jobs, and am in the process of building my own small side business, but am worried it’ll fail if I can’t devote myself to it full-time.”
-Alex, 27, Washington, D.C.

“My biggest financial struggle: I’m four-and-a-half years out of a divorce; one-and-a-half years of alimony left. I’m working two part-time jobs for crappy pay and pouring everything into establishing my business. I’ve learned that getting such a business going takes longer than I realized. This is the one thing I want to do with my life. But should I dump the shop rent and the expenses of the business in order to save and invest the alimony? Through the divorce, I’d say I have one-fourth of what I will need for net worth. It’s just that when I imagine myself doing a desk job every day, all day, to ‘earn a living,’ I feel so depressed about the idea. My guess is that I just have to suck it up.”
-Liz, 57

“My biggest financial struggle is feeling like I don’t have options. I feel stupid about asking questions and overwhelmed by all of the budgeting systems out there. I barely know what taxes are. (I just head to Turbo Tax every year and fill out the information.) And after discovering credit cards, I’ve learned the hard way about interest and overspending.”
-Jordan, 27, Nashville, Tenn.

“Right now, it is the 10-inch-high pile of Morgan Stanley documents sitting on my desk. Fed up with the lack of responsiveness of our former financial advisor(s), we recently transferred all our retirement accounts to Morgan Stanley, and have been receiving statements and other stuff from them daily. The real problem is making sense of all the documents, about the funds our money is going to, the agreements we entered into, etc. We are two smart women, one who has been running her own business for the past 20 years and the other one (me) with two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. And we have been saving for retirement. But in truth, I feel that we are totally just trusting others to make the right investments for us, and keeping our fingers crossed it all works out for the best. I hate it. Yet, I don’t even know where to start to change that situation.”
-Helen, 50, Tenn.

“I think our biggest struggle is we spend too much. We have a great combined income and no debt aside from mortgage. But money seems to just flow through our fingers like sand. In the last few years, we have been dipping into our savings instead of adding to it. The more we make, the more we spend. And it’s not big item-spending, either. It just here and there, yet somehow it feels even worse. Because at the end of the month, we don’t even have much to show for our spending.
-Annya, 35, Seattle, Wash.

“My biggest financial struggle would be not earning enough money to save for the future, anything with my kids’ future. I just want to find a full-time job with benefits and that pays enough for me not to live off my parents.”

My biggest financial struggle is coming to terms with the money available to meet the needs of my family, my future, and myself while having some leftover to play.”
-Bridget, 47, DeLand, Fla.

As a single woman who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, the biggest struggle I have is trying to rise above the poverty level. I know things would just be easier if I was in a relationship and could split expenses [and] bills, but it shouldn’t be the only reason to forgo my independence. But the current economic climate has made it almost impossible for me to ever be able to afford a studio apartment on my own. The economic ease with which my parents were able to afford a nice home for our family growing up has changed and left so many of us single people trapped in forever roommate zone!”
-Breanne, 33, Antioch, Calif.

“My biggest financial struggle is staying positive and realistic about my debt. I have a lot of student loan debt, and it just seems like it will never end. I have read a lot of articles about how to pay off your debt quickly, but with the high cost of living in California and a $40k salary, I don’t have the excess income to put towards pay off more than the minimum payment on my loans each month, especially while trying to save and put money in my retirement account.”
-Melissa, 23, Calif.

So, what are your financial struggles? Tell us in the comments.

*Stories have been edited for clarity.


Join the Discussion

12 Responses to “DailyWorth Readers Share Their Biggest Financial Struggles”

  1. Kayla

    Being a single parent with 2 children and almost $50k in student loan debt is almost depressing if I think about it long enough. I have a job making $32,000/year but I don’t have anything left over hardly once I do that. I want to save for retirement, pay for college for 2 children and get a business off the ground and I want to go back to school to get a better career but the thought of any more debt makes me shudder. I’ve cut back more than a Congressional budget and it’s still hard. Buying a home is on the list also but at this rate I’m like it will happen probably when I’m too old to even enjoy the house.

  2. Meg DesCamp

    Replying to Liz, 57, above: Could we talk? I’m in a similar situation regarding age/career/alimony and I’d love to discuss with you. Could use some positive support and reflection beyond what I get from my (very supportive and loving but NOT in this situation) friends and siblings. If you’re willing to talk, maybe Daily Worth could put us in touch? I’d also love to talk with anyone else in this same or similar situation.

  3. Lauren

    I feel like I will never achieve real financial independence. I’m 31 and I still live at home (yes, I know I’m *lucky* to have this as an option, but I’d rather be *lucky* enough to afford my own home and get to feel like a real adult who doesn’t live with her annoying mother) and I frequently carry a credit card debt from month to month just covering normal expenses. I’m only able to pay the minimum on my crippling student loans each month, so the idea of being able to buy my own home, save more for retirement (I do contribute to my 401k) so I can actually retire before I’m dead. I’m profoundly single, so kids aren’t currently in any real plans of mine at the moment, but the idea of trying to support a child in the middle of all this seems impossible.

  4. theory_

    Good information that these stories provide. I do have to ask why Dailywoth choose the pictured it did at the top of the segment. The amount of cleavage that is being shown is entirely too much, especially with this site being all about female empowerment. I do not equate female empowerment with overexposure and it just doesn’t send a good message. Surprisingly enough, this is exactly what I spend so much of my time coaching young leaders on. So, putting pictures up like this just hurts us because instead of me coaching them on things like emotional intelligence, business communication, and other things, I’m coaching them through how to dress appropriately in the workplace. This completely puts them behind because these same conversations aren’t happening as frequently with their male counterparts.

  5. Lindsay

    It’s very hard for us to stay positive and enjoy our life with all of our financial stress. Both my husband and I are working hard but our underpaid for the work we do. The poor benefits at our jobs make medical bills account for a quarter of our annual budget! This as well as the fact that we have experienced a lot of transition in the last 5 years has ended us in a debt snowball. It seems we have reversed it but the process is so difficult, endless, stressful and exhausting. Everyday is a struggle.

  6. Karen

    My struggle is understanding if I am saving enough for retirement. I am able to save a sizeable amount but with soaring cost of living expenses (especially health insurance premiums) and uncertain social security funding, I’m worried it’s not enough. I want to retire in 3 years but especially worried about giving up employer funded health care contributions.

  7. Dana

    My struggle is getting out of debt, staying out of debt and understanding investments. I paid off all of my credit card debt in 2015, yay me! I was able to save about $800 each month and in 2016, I bought a house, on my own, with the help of a homeowners program offered by my previous employer. With all of the expenses associated with getting your house up and running, including two somewhat major repairs, my savings dwindled and I started using my credit cards irresponsibly again. I have about $69K in student loan debt and am about to take a pay cut for long-term job growth and better benefits. One of my parents passed away earlier this year and I planned on rolling the funds into an inherited IRA, but with the pay cut, I decided to use some of the funds to pay off consumer debt and car loan. More than half will go into into an inherited IRA. It’s not ideal, but I would have drowned in debt otherwise. I will still be ahead of majority of people in my age group for retirement savings, considering what I have saved so far plus the inheritance, but my goal is to be able to save enough money to live comfortably until death and pass a good amount of money down to either my unborn children, nieces & nephews. I want to knowledgeable enough about investing to do this with confidence and not rely on a financial advisor.

  8. Linda

    My husband and I have been trying to dig ourselves out of debt ever since we built our home in 2008. We had sold our previous home to build our dream home but ended up taking a loss of $70K due to the market crash even though the home we sold was only 2yrs old in “new” condition. We were already committed to building our dream Lincoln Log home and had placed money on the log package that was non- refundable. We were still able to secure a construction-to-permanent loan to build but ended up using credits cards to finish the home due to shortage of funds. Ever since, we keep trying to live our life but live in major credit card debt. We make good money, work hard for our money- but the debt remains. I feel like “extra” money just slips away to other things when I know it needs to pay down debt. Very difficult to stay positive about achieving a no credit card debt lifestyle.

  9. andrea preston

    My stack of ever-going medical bills. I have a rare auto-immune disease so medical bills are now the norm. I want to travel, pay off my other debts (car and student loans), but the medical bills keep coming and I’m drowning. I make a good salary and I make a good dent, but once one is paid, another comes. It’s frustrating.

  10. Kimmie

    I Love to read DailyWorth everyday it does show how far women have come with family,financial situations , work , life ,and self worth . All are just part of women into today’s world. With no looking back, At the way women use to do things, not needing a homemade guide to do it. Finance is so important to me especially at my age of the game. The crazy thing about money is it comes and goes so quickly sometimes we forget we even had it. I make smarter decisions and wiser choices now that I have two kids.

  11. Jamie

    I feel better knowing there are other people going through the same thing. Everyone around me have new cars, own homes, children. Meanwhile me and my husband drive old cars, rent in a not so desirable area, and have no children. Work, sleep, work, sleep. We ask ourselves, “what the hell are we doing wrong?”. So Thank you for helping us see there are others like us.

  12. Katrina, 38, Tennessee

    I became debt free last November when I made my final student loan payment. I have 6 months income in emergency savings & a home mortgage. I am ready to begin investing for retirement. My biggest money concern is that I have no idea how to do that or how to find someone who can help me. I am terrified of being treated like I am dumb because I don’t understand investing. I’m terrified of someone taking advantage of me regarding my money. I am, by nature, more trusting of women in these situations. I would love if you all would put up recommended financial advisors in each state. I’m afraid to ask questions & when I read things online, I don’t understand them. Please help!!