Where you live can determine how much you have to spend to get by, but location also has a large influence on how much money you make. The conjunction of all these factors can leave a lot of people short, with too much month left at the end of the money.

In fact, according to CareerBuilder, nearly 80 percent of workers in the U.S. live paycheck to paycheck—even folks you might expect to be doing better on a six-figure salary. Some 10 percent of them are stuck for a spare buck by the end of the pay period, too, with 12 percent of Americans actually living in poverty (less than $26,200 for a family of four, in most states).

That's not to say there aren't a bunch more barely eking out an existence; almost 18 percent of Americans don't even make 125 percent of the poverty threshold for their households (less than $32,750).

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Marlene Satter

Marlene Y. Satter has worked in and written about the financial industry for decades.