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Woman Calls Her 120K Income 'Average' & Complains About Living 'Paycheck To Paycheck'

Photo: TikTok
Woman complains about her paycheck.

The struggle is real — but, are some people exaggerating? Is a $120,000 salary truly too much money to complain about, especially on TikTok? 

Who should we blame — the reason we have to complain or the complainer? If people say they’re struggling, is there any room for pushback? 

Clearly, there’s some room and people are furious over a now-deleted TikTok, where a woman posted about living ‘paycheck to paycheck’ on her six-figure combined salary with her partner. 

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After complaining about ‘struggling’ with a 120k salary, this woman received some serious backlash. 

“Why am I still,” the woman emphasizes, “living paycheck to paycheck? WHY?” In a TikTok from January 9th, she took to her audience to describe the audacity of the economy in making her and her partner’s life difficult — with their shared $120,000 salary. 

“My job pays a decent amount of money. Like, very median. Very average. But, I should be able to live on it — it’s a good salary.” 

Viewers seem to be blinded by a mention of 6 figures as they destroy this woman for her ignorance in the comments — but, she clearly mentions that 120k is her ‘combined’ salary.

“People are missing the point entirely.” one comment criticizes. “She’s complaining about the fact that six figures isn't even enough to live off of which is valid because that’s insane.” 

“We should be okay. We should be set,” she continues in her video, talking about the insanity of discomfort while making her salary. But, many TikTok and Reddit comments alike seem to be disgusted at this woman’s perspective on ‘struggle.’ 

“Why are we both living paycheck to paycheck?” she asks over and over again — aggravating viewers with every mention. 

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‘This is not sustainable,’ she mentions about her ‘paycheck to paycheck’ lifestyle. 

“I’ve started to dread going to the grocery store to buy tinfoil,” she yells, referencing insane inflation hits to grocery store prices. “How are people supposed to find a place to live?” she asks shortly after talking about the inability to build savings, make investments, or buy a home with her paychecks. 

“How are we supposed to continue to eat?” she yells at the camera after talking about her last $70 ‘essentials’ grocery run. 

With a sense of impending doom, she continues to speak on how difficult it is for her to grocery shop, or drive around, but comments are enraged. “The delivery of this video,” one comment writes, “could absolutely be better.” 

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Even though she complained about her struggles, she also referenced the vulnerabilities of others. 

While many of the comments seem hyper-focused on the first half of the woman’s TikTok, a few others back her up — defending her by bringing up the last half. 

“Forget about me,” the still upset woman brings up, “because we’re still living…it’s not as horrible as it could be.” 

“What about these young kids trying to start a life — trying to get out of their parent's house and be independent adults? They CAN’T.” the video echoes. 

Many comments suggest that it’s just this narrative that should be taken seriously from the woman’s video — even if it came across in a strange way. 

‘If you need more than the most basic money management skills to live off of $120k, it's absolutely, 100%, totally, and completely not your fault,” one comment points out. 

“It's frustrating and obviously unsustainable. I'm really sorry about the people that actually make minimum wage in this country and about all the future adults that will have to deal with this,” another comment assures. 

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Some comments seem misdirected in their rage against this woman and her paycheck. 

With a deflated and unattainable American Dream, her concerns are surely not invalid — but, for many, trigger words like ‘paycheck to paycheck’ can be misleading. “Well, that's called living above your means, sweetheart,” one comment writes, “I make roughly 38k a year. My girlfriend makes about 20k doing part-time, and we're happy as happy can be and living very comfortably in these trying times.” 

Many comments make very similar assumptions — another comment reads, “Anybody making $120k a year who is only responsible for providing for themselves should have no trouble saving a significant portion of their salary. My suspicion is she’s buying luxuries she can’t actually afford.”

Another important perspective from a few comments suggests the diversity in spending — whether from location, family status, dietary restrictions, disabilities, etc. Upset at her situation and upset at the situations of those around her, the woman ends her video simply saying, “This country is going to burn to the ground.” 

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In a follow-up video, she asked ‘what’s wrong?’ with people amidst the backlash directed at her deleted video. 

“I just wanted to rant for a second,” the upset woman said, starting her new video, “What the h— is wrong with y’all?” 

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In an effort to clear any misconceptions and defend herself against claims of ignorance, she begins to clarify what she meant when she posted her original TikTok. “I cannot imagine how badly everybody else around me is struggling,” she admits openly. 

“My video was not me saying, ‘Oh, my life is so hard with the money that I make’, it was saying ‘I cannot imagine how my peers are struggling’ trying to raise children on a single person’s salary.” 

‘Obscene’ is what she characterizes the hate directed at her as — upset not only at people’s misguided opinion about her but also upset that people would comment such ‘disgusting’ assumptions about her. While it’s always important to support when someone struggles, it’s also important to understand the severity, and as always – check your privilege. 

Even as wealth inequality and job insecurity rise, the problems of the middle class are not exactly following the same trends as the cohorts below. As comments point out under this woman’s video, don’t let your privilege completely blind you — while you might be missing out on an emergency savings fund or an investment profile, others are missing a meal. 

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Zayda Slabbekoorn is a news and entertainment writer who focuses on pop culture analysis and human interest stories.