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2020 is backwards compatible. 11 will open 10 and 9, 10 will open 9. 9 can't open anything newer but you should be able to open 9.1 etc. Generally you should be OK as long as on the same V number - the bits after the decimal just mean fixes and not file structure changes.
12 is a pay per year version and not cheap - over $1,300 a year I think. 12 should be able to open all earlier files.
I'd give the 9.03 a go. What are you using on the Mac to run Windows? Fusion? Parallels? That may be the source of your issue. I've not had a problem even running V9 on Windows 10. I do run multiple Virtual Machines including a Windows 7/V188.8.131.526 combo. Windows XP on the Mac should be fast and should run V9 without any issues.
Good luck with finding a job and freelancing.
Ok, so a client with a newer version will be able to open my older version, but I can't open theirs if it's newer, correct?
I'm running Parallels/Windows 10 64 bit/V9. Previously, without problem I ran Parallels/Windows 7/ V9.xx
I haven't activated my new Windows yet, so I could go back to an earlier version. Do you think that would help?
What would happen if someone bought v12 for a year? Could they continue with that version for a while? Considering I paid 4k for V9 and didn't get 9.1, maybe v12 for $1,300 wouldn't be the end of the world?
Yes that is correct providing they have the same catalogues as you were/are using.
If you have the space available, I'd definitely try Parallels/Win7 or even Parallels/WinXP (don't get rid of Win10 though). You can pick up WinXP easily and no real issues with having a cracked/activated copy. It should run mega fast compared to Parallels/Win10 as well. Parallels/WinXP would have a very small footprint in terms of disk space and memory usage.