Paycheck to Paycheck

Documentary: Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life & Times of Katrina Gilbert (2014). The synopsis from the HBO page notes that this documentary is from Maria Shiver’s groundbreaking multi-platform project “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink.” It tells the moving story of a year in the life of one mother whose daily struggles illuminate the challenges faced by more than 42 million American women and the 28 million children who depend on them. This unvarnished account of a single mom struggling to get ahead, but constantly getting knocked back by a system that almost seems designed to see her fail.

Katrina - Paycheck to PaycheckFilmed over the course of one year in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the film Katrina Gilbert, a 30-year-old mother of three who works as a certified nursing assistant in an extended-care facility while striving to address her own health-care issues. Overworked, underpaid, uninsured and lacking support, she chooses daily between purchasing her own medication and paying for the needs of her three children, which often leaves her struggling to make ends meet. Despite these obstacles, Gilbert works to better her circumstances, applying for college courses that could raise her income. But circumstances often leave her slipping backwards, wondering if she will ever truly be able to get ahead.

Mrs. SavvyJames and I watched this last Sunday afternoon and were really drawn to the plight of not only Katrina Gilbert, but to the many Americans – far too many – that find themselves in similar situations. Watching this documentary really reinforced for me why I wrote my book and run this blog, to help readers, in some small way, gain a better understanding of personal finance and achieve financial freedom. I firmly believe in the idea that knowledge should be shared, particularly knowledge that has the ability to profoundly change lives.

On Sunday we also watched the primetime special “Oprah & Maria Shriver: The ‘Paycheck to Paycheck’ Town Hall” which aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). In the special, Oprah is joined by Maria Shriver for a discussion about the documentary in front of a live studio audience.

The documentary can be viewed on HBO or HBO Go. Hopefully the primetime special on OWN will be rebroadcast at some point in the near future. I encourage you to check out the documentary and the town hall.



Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.


  1. I’m going to find and watch this documentary ASAP. Thanks James!

    • It is only available on HBO or HBO Go right now. Definitely worth a viewing. When you do have a chance to watch it, I will be interested in getting your feedback.

  2. I wonder if people knew that over 60% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. I will look for this documentary as it looks interesting. Thanks for the heads up.

    • The number of Americans that are unable to get beyond living month to month, paycheck to paycheck, is staggering. ultimately it is a phenomenon that impacts all f us.

      Take a minute to stop back by once you have viewed the documentary. I will be interested in getting your take.

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