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Heather D.: Five years ago: Had a job and an income. Today: No job, no income.

Christina S.: Well, 5 years ago we were still working on paying down debt. We had school loans, car payments, and a nasty credit card bill (or two, or three). But we had a plan. Today, we're debt free but the house. And we had a kid in there!

Kimberly K.: ‎5 years ago we were living like things would continue to get better. Today, we are taking care of the debt and living like things will stay the same or get worse. Feels better this way.

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Bridgette G.: My husband bought a house just before the crash of the housing market and before we met. Now we can't sell because we are upside down and my husband has lost 2 jobs in the last 5 years due to downsizing. He is now in school to hopefully get a more stable job.

Mary Lynn D.: ‎5 yrs ago, had savings and working on paying things off- now, lucky I have a job, but savings all gone trying to keep up and hoping I can keep paying mortgage, 2nd job- costs me more than I earn from it ... sinking with no real hope of things getting better.

Jason B.: ‎5yrs ago: large debts, no savings, just started a new job after being unemployed 6 months. Now: no debts, 1 yr of emergency savings, have funded my 401k & IRA heavily and hoping to take a real vacation in 2012.

Ann M.: I keep getting my hours cut each month. Last month I worked only 24 hours for the whole month of October this month Nov. I got 36. I am hanging on by a thread. I've been working almost 6 years at this place for almost 6 years. Recession has hit me hard. I am still living recession every day. Living pay check to pay check. Taking from Paul to feed Peter is a hell of a life to live I don't wish anyone to live like I do. I see no hope I the near future. Not w/ this recession going strong. God help us all.

Kurt W.: Five years ago, my wife had a company car; got a bonus that amounted to 30% of her salary (because the Portland Cement industry was booming); and had two people working under her; while I was making $56k. Today, company car was revoked (so she took an effective pay cut to buy a new one); her two people were laid off (one RIGHT after he'd been promoted to semi-independent status); her company is switching to "Consumer-Based Healthcare" this winter (so another effective pay cut of about $6k) and I make $28k (if I'm lucky). The one thing that IS better is that our mortgage rate is lower as we refinanced two years ago and may, again, real soon...

Lisa D.: i make twice the money after going to college and being in the army, but ihe prices on everything from food to housing to gas have all gone up so i am still in the same position as 5 years ago. still can't afford an apartment, still can't afford health insurance, still can't afford a new car. still living with relatives.

Nancy W.: Ive always been a stay at home mom. Husband retired from police department at 48 because we always lived within our means. We lived modestly and put all the kids thru private school. We are now quite comfortable at 55/56 yrs. old. slow and steady, knowing who we are and not feeling a need to keep up with nor impress anyone. just purchased an island home at the beach. Good things come to those who work hard, save and have some patience.

Glenda M.: ‎5 years ago I had 20k in debt, couldnt save a much but still spent on travel, dining, etc. now I have paid off all my debt, 2yrs of emergency funds available, quit my 7 yr old job and got a new job, get paid 35% more than I did 5 yrs ago. So financially I am better off, only real change is my spending..I spend with the " I don't know if I will be the next one laid off tomorrow and have no job" mentality. A mentality I didn't have 5 yrs ago and didn't need to consider when booking a flight, going out to dinner, or purchasing an item.

Tino O.: Spending way less, saving way more. And keeping better track of where it's all going.

Annette W.: Currently in transition, relocated for husband's job change after job loss. We are one income right now - chose to downsize house and sold new car. Love the decreased stress.

Cole B.: Funnily enough. I actually have more now than I did 5 years ago. I, like many, lost my job, repo'd a car, defaulted on loans 5 yrs ago. It was a wake up call for me. I was living beyond my means, and I wasn't saving a dime. I became very reactive. Over the years, I have rebuilt. Am buying my first home. Have worked my way up thru a new company. Funded my 401k. And have money in the bank. Only recently have I returned to making the income I had 5 yrs ago. It took a downturn for me to realize that nothing feels better than security and financial safty. I drive a Honda instead of a Cadillac. But I'm happy.

Sharon B.: Got a masters degree, had to move for my husbands job, renting the house we owned in Vegas at a $600 a month loss, I had to close my small business of managing non profits because of the move, and I am making $25k less. Expenses are up so we are just surviving. Can't find a job utilizing my MBA.

Carlo T.: I live even more within my means..... and fear losing my job more!!