I recently came across this article on Yahoo! Finance called, “The New American Dream: It’s Not What You Think,” and I found it to be really interesting. A recent poll from Credit.com showed that Generation Y considers the “American Dream” as being debt free. The old idea of the American Dream is that anyone who works hard enough can climb the ladder and achieve success: The house with the white picket fence, the luxury cars, a family, and most of all, a life of personal happiness and wealth.
But is this true today?
According to Credit.com, “The survey found that most respondents (27.9%) said the American Dream is retiring financially secure at 65, though coming in at second place, 23% defined it as being debt-free. The other options were owning a home (18.2%), graduating from college or paying off your student loans (6.6%) and joining the 1% (4.3%).”
Unfortunately, Generation Y has been dealt a bad hand of cards. We were expected to go to college with tuition costs on the rise, enter the real world with a lack of employment and live with more student loan debt than we can handle. Why might this be the case? Well, our generation is racking up, on average, $27,000 in student loan debt, which leaves little, if any, money to be sorted into our retirement savings once we get a job. Not to mention credit card and other loan debt are at an all-time high. With that being said, how are we supposed to conquer the American Dream?
The author of the Yahoo! article states, it’s become a problem in that “debt is now woven into the fabric of our society.” Thus, causing the American Dream to become one very financially-focused nightmare. But, debt is not always a bad thing. In fact, a certain amount of debt can actually work to your advantage. Using credit responsibly and establishing and maintaining a strong credit history demonstrates that you are financially responsible and trustworthy.
To become debt free, you just need to be smart. You need to focus less on having all of these luxuries now, and focus more on how to become financially healthy. If you work hard, budget and live within your means, someday you can live up to your idea of the American Dream. You can pay off your debt faster, and start saving for a home or a new car. As the saying goes, “If you work hard you can play harder!”
Just remember, there are many tools and resources that will help you manage your finances, pay off debt, and live within your means right here at C1styourvoice.com and at Community 1st Credit Union. Becoming financially savvy is just a click away!
What does the American Dream mean to you? Do you think you will be able to achieve it? Share with us in a comment below or tweet at me at @c1styourvoice
Until Next Time,