POLITICS
01/21/2014 10:56 am ET | Updated Jan 25, 2014

'I Feel Like I'm Just Starting My Life And I'm Already Miles And Miles Behind'

Monica Simon, 24, works full time at an online advertising firm in Philadelphia and earns $23,000 a year after taxes. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Penn State University.

I work in online advertising, so I basically do only ad campaigns for small businesses. But my loans right now are so high that I'm sinking all the time.

I'm from Scranton, Pa. I had to move away from my family and my friends to get this position. Right now there aren't really any jobs. It took a long time to get this one.

I like it, but it doesn't pay as well as I'd like it to. So I've looked around for other jobs. But really, I can't find any. I'm thinking about going back to school because I'm not even sure at this point if this job is going to hold out in the future. Right now I'm just up in the air on what steps to take next.

I probably take in about $1,800 a month. My anxiety is constantly high about bills I have to pay. My student loans make me so nervous because I have my family co-sign on them. It's not just my credit on the line. It's theirs, too. That's a constant anxiety that I have.

Sometimes I get paid and then I have, maybe, $150 left over for the two weeks. I really don't have enough for food and gas, so I rely a lot on my credit cards. I just feel I'm getting way behind where I want to be for my age. I feel I'm just starting my life and I'm already miles and miles behind.

I always planned on buying a home, and at this point I don't think that's something that will ever happen. I'm not sure my credit will ever stay good because right now I'm keeping my head above water. But I don't know how long I can keep it up.

There will be weekends when I'll just have to sit home because if there's a priority between food and going out, it's going to be food. I don't care about the cool apartment downtown. Honestly, I would be happy if I could just not have to worry about overdrawing my bank account.

But if we're talking about big dreams, I would love to be driving a reliable car. But not to the point where it would give me anxiety every day because I have a car payment that's so high. I try not to think about those big dreams because right now it just kind of feels impossible.

As told to Eugene Mulero.

poverty

Monica's story is part of a Huffington Post series profiling Americans who work hard and yet still struggle to make ends meet. Learn more about other individuals' experiences here.

Have a similar story you'd like to share? Email us at workingpoor@huffingtonpost.com or give us a call at (408) 508-4833, and you can record your story in your own words. Please be sure to include your name and phone number.

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