Michael M.

Michael once owned a flourishing business as a licensed contractor. Back then, he could afford just about anything he wanted. But after the 2008 economic downturn and the death of his wife, he was left barely scraping by.

“I used to have five trucks and 28 guys when business was great.”

Michael is incredibly strategic about what he spends his money on. Working is his lifeline, so he puts gas and car payments at the top of the list along with keeping a roof over his head. But it leaves little money for food.

“I had to have a vehicle so I could work.”

Despite putting all his energy into his night job as a newspaper courier, Michael has had to make sacrifices to get by. Recently, he was forced to pawn his computer in order to pay critical bills.

“I’m a step from being homeless, and a step away from making it again.”

Eating next to nothing, working long hours, and consistently facing obstacles is enough to break just about anyone. Michael admits that at times, he’s nearly given up. But he won’t tolerate feeling sorry for himself.

“You think about giving up, and is it worth it?”

With his truck financing taking up a huge chunk of his income, Michael reflects on the cycle of poverty and the high-interest loans that hold so many people down. Well aware of the way things work, he’s determined to rise above it.

“When you’re poor, you’ve got to pay to pay.”


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