On March 23, 2011, the New York Times ran this
story: "Out of College, Not on Her Own". The
story starts out like this:
"COURTNEY McNAIR has been out of college for three years. She has a degree in
political science and Spanish. She also has the same address she had in high
school and the same bedroom in her parents’ Los Angeles home. Not to mention
$40,000 in student loan debt, $2,000 in credit card bills and $10,000 left to
pay on her red 2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser."
don't know Courtney, but her story is similar to many college graduates, and the
reason I bring it up is because of the trouble too many people have fallen into
while chasing their image of the American Dream. The old picture of the American
Dream looked like you with things: a house, a car, a college education, and
comfort oriented things. The problem is that the picture didn't include a guide
on paying for these things without debt. Rather we are reminded that Americans
are hard working, and that hard work will lead to such materialistic prosperity.
Suze Orman discusses the new American
Is hard work the answer?
Again, I don't know Courtney, but let's assume she is hard working. She does
have a college degree, and that takes hard work to achieve. While she does have
a nice car and a good education, items found in the old American Dream, her
financial situation is anything but dreamy. Even though she is hard working she
is in trouble. Her $13.00 per hour job with her parents will not make paying off
$52,000.00 of debt very easy. Surely, this wasn't Courtney's dream.
What about a new American Dream?
Talking about her new book, The Money Class, Suze Orman says, "It's a dream
where you live below your means but within your needs. You are not spending
every penny, you are not impressing people. You are living a life where you can
sleep at night and you are actually happy." My favorite definition of the
American Dream comes from Thomas Jefferson. "We hold these truths to be
self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their
Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and
the pursuit of Happiness."