Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The New American Dream

Recently I learned that someone I know is going to be looking at houses in the next few weeks. I won't go into all the details of this person, but I will say that, in my opinion, it is SUCH a bad idea! I know there's NO way they can have their finances in order to do such a thing, and so my mind wonders why they're even doing this!

But, buying a house IS "The American Dream" isn't it?

Over the last few years, I've watched/listened to enough Dave Ramsay and Suze Orman to know the best path to being financially fit.

Suze has even touted a revolution to bring about the NEW American Dream. Which is actually quite simple. It's basically, to stand in your financial truth—THAT should be the new American dream. It means to live in a home which you can afford (be it apartment, or rental home, or purchasing a home). To live a LIFE that you can afford, and not to be caught up with having everything. She says to get as much pleasure from saving, as from spending. Dave Ramsay is more about saving, saving, saving now, but I think it's about the same thing.

They both suggest having large emergency funds. They both suggest putting large sums of money down on a house you can actually afford (Dave suggests cash, but if you can't, then only going for a 15-year mortgage, and if you can't pay for that, then you need to get a less expensive house). They also say to avoid credit card debt. Is this so hard to understand? Yet people all over our country (and out) have problems with this.

I will admit, that when I heard the news about this person I knew, part of me was jealous at first. I would love to own a home, and we were so close at one point. But, then I look around me, and I smile. I like where we live. We have some nice things. It's comfortable. It's home. But more importantly, we're working toward a financial security, so that we don't have to worry, as many people do, when something goes awry (car repairs, or unexpected medical expenses). We don't live paycheck to paycheck, and we are blessed to say that.

It's their life to live as they want, it just breaks my heart to see people I know and care about making ginormous, potentially bad decisions that could impact them for years to come, when just some simple words of advice, taken and heeded, could make them happier and more secure.

It took our parents YEARS to build up the lives and families that we were born into. We cannot expect us to have it all right away. And yet, many young people do. However, I look at my parents now. Aged. Infirm. And with very little savings. That is not where I want to be at that age. Lesson learned. I hope.

I'm working toward my new American dream. How about you?


Manda November 30, 2011 at 8:16 PM  

My parents also have little in savings, and I do worry about that for them as they near retirement age. I don't think they'll be able to retire when they'd like to! And they've never lived extravagantly, either; we didn't own a house until I was 11 or 12.

Financial security is key for us, too, with three kids and all. We're very careful and very lucky to be able to afford as much as we do, though we're always looking for ways to save.

Christine Rains December 1, 2011 at 12:09 PM  

I agree with the new American Dream. We were lucky to find a cozy little house we could afford. It's cheaper to pay mortgage than it is to pay rent in a university town! I worry about reaching retirement age, though. Likely the situation will be we'll never be able to retire... unless I become a famous writer! ;)

Gabby December 1, 2011 at 12:11 PM  

Even Suze is telling people to wait until at least 67 to retire. Who knows what it will be when it's our turn! All I know is that it's something that unfortunately we have to take into account as we age -- we have to take ahold of our own financial retirement. Sad, but true.

Sarah Sunshine December 27, 2011 at 12:01 AM  

wow gabby! i LOVE this post! it's so easy for me to be jealous sometimes of people my age in huge homes but i agree with you and dave and suze! it's hard sometimes but readying this gives me even more motivation to stick to this mindset! way to say it all perfectly gabby! love ya ;)

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