It is perfectly possible to be working full time in America these days and still be poor, simply because life is lived from one pay check to another, with no chance of improving ones financial situation. There are different levels of poverty today and being poor does not necessarily mean that one is living on the streets, but could well only be a couple of pay checks away from that situation.
There are many people in that situation; they hold down jobs, support their families, and are not even necessarily in debt. What they lack is any form of savings and most likely the ability to obtain credit. So if an emergency situation arises which requires an immediate influx of cash they often have no way of raising that cash. Most certainly their relatives and friends are also living the same kind of lifestyle. They could be deemed to be the respectable poor.
Many live from pay check to pay check, wishing for more, but accepting what they have. They have no wish to be caught up in the world of credit as so many are. There are thousands of people living an apparently better life style on credit,which they could never afford to repay in a crisis without selling off major assets. Probably the only difference between them is the difference in opportunity, as the credit rich are much more likely to have more education and better earning potential. Invariably this means that the only loans available to the poorest working group are the payday loans advanced these days, the replacement to using the old fashioned pawn shop.
These loans are stigmatised due to the problems they bring, plus the excessive lending rates associated with them. However they can fill the gap in a financial crisis in a way which suits the borrower far more than waiting around for bank approval on an overdraft or bank loan, which they could perceive as a more permanent debt commitment than a quick advance loan. They would certainly be better off simply by approaching their boss for an advance on wages due, but in some cases pride rules the day and they are reluctant to ask, or it may not be a convenient moment. Instead, when used wisely, a one off pay day loan is their loan answer, with the money being made available almost immediately with no need for credit checks.
This is the reality for many these days, which is why the pay day loan industry is thriving so much. If these same people could just cut back enough to start saving a little each month they would in time build enough security to make relying on loans a thing of the past.