#1 Posted by zombiepenguin9 (533 posts) -

I remember reading a news article a while back that said the definition of the American Dream has changed from home ownership and 2.5 kids to being debt-free and saving for retirement. I've been married a year and out of college for almost two years, and recently decided to really focus on getting out of debt so our only mandatory expenses are rent, utilities, insurance, phones, internet and food. Our monthly disposable income would increase substantially once we're there.

With two federal college loans, one private college loan, a vehicle payment, and two credit cards, it's a good-sized amount to pay off. The current plan is to live on one income and use the other entirely for paying off debt, and once it's done, never use cards/loans for anything unless it's an actual emergency (such as a medical issue) or something that exceeds a realistic income stream (such as buying a house, if and when that day comes). We'll keep a credit card for big purchases or vacations, but only use it to the point that we can immediately pay off the balance and no further.

I was curious if any other duders out there are currently doing something similar, and what your thoughts and experiences are on the subject. Is being debt-free and having some long-term savings a new American Dream? Is it just a reaction to excesses of the previous generation? Should we just take the free money and run?

#2 Edited by MideonNViscera (2257 posts) -

My dream is to have a home I'm satisfied with, already have no debt but that'd be one, and to have enough disposable income to indulge in my hobbies. Yeah, having money for retirement is also key. Obviously children don't fit into that dream at all.

#3 Posted by Vinny_Says (5700 posts) -

A lot of these "debt problems" can be solved by one simple trick that has Wall Street and big banks furious! Click to find out more:

Fake your own death

#4 Posted by 34f3ecwdc3 (162 posts) -

What about European dream ? Mine it's the young spirited dream.

I change my mind very fast so I don't plan much in life, plans don't stick with me anyways. My only debt might be when I'm going to buy an apartment somewhere in a nice city near the beach. Until then, I will have enough money to live my life like I want and not working like a slave, to own a house and having that one revolving around my Universe. I have one life so fuck the american dream in my opinion. Maybe the second one will be for a badass car. I don't know about retirement, that's too far, I focus more on the present although I don't see myself reaching 60 years old.

#5 Posted by Hunter5024 (5600 posts) -

My dream is just to have a job I like doing. It would only have to support me enough that as long as I'm responsible, I don't have to struggle to do what I want or need. I'd love to own a house, be debt free, and have a nice retirement, but at the moment those things don't seem reasonably within reach.

#6 Posted by Everyones_A_Critic (6294 posts) -

I just wanna move out and live. No intention of having kids, if I'm still like that by 25 I think I'm gonna get my shit snipped. I'm just not that kinda guy.

#7 Posted by GumbyDAS (8 posts) -

I want to pay off debts, contribute to society, have a wife and kid.

#8 Edited by ArtelinaRose (1850 posts) -

I just want to have SOMETHING. I'm sick of depending on my friends to have a place to live because I can't afford anything on my own. I'm tired of being in poverty. I want to be able to think about having a car like it's a realistic thing. I want to be accepted in society and not have to fear ridicule or physical harm every time I leave my house because I'd rather be girly than masculine.

#9 Edited by Spoonman671 (4588 posts) -

I was able to pay off my college loans in less than a year and the only reason I even have a credit card is so I can build my credit score so somebody will sell me a house. I recently totaled my car and car shopping has made me realize that most people drive vehicles they simply cannot afford. The entire concept of credit blows my mind. I just have a lot of trouble with the idea of spending money you don't actually have.

#10 Posted by gabha (354 posts) -

So no one is going to make fun of the 2.5 kids bit huh...

#11 Posted by zombiepenguin9 (533 posts) -

I was able to pay off my college loans in less than a year and the only reason I even have a credit card is so I can build my credit score so somebody will sell me a house. I recently totaled my car and car shopping has made me realize that most people drive vehicles they simply cannot afford. The entire concept of credit blows my mind. I just have a lot of trouble with the idea of spending money you don't actually have.

Yeah, same here. We got into a bit of credit card debt with some unforeseen expenses of getting married and moving to another state, but we should have that taken care of in a few months. It feels disgusting when I think about it, and there's a certain amount of satisfaction when I buy something that I've worked for and can actually afford. I understand that sometimes there are situations where loans/credit has to be used, but poor planning seems like a lame excuse to me now.

@gabha said:

So no one is going to make fun of the 2.5 kids bit huh...

I was hoping someone would. The concept is hilarious to me.

#12 Edited by I_Stay_Puft (3152 posts) -

Boneless chickens walking around in a farm in eastern Nebraska.

#13 Posted by Broomhitches (173 posts) -

As an American, my American dream is to live happily with no debt, and a decent job... outside of America.

#14 Posted by Canteu (2821 posts) -

@artelinarose: We accept you. We are your society. Fuck the common man, with their bigotry and false ideals.

We here love you, all the same as one another.

At least I hope so...

#15 Posted by 34f3ecwdc3 (162 posts) -

@gabha: I saw that too and I was wondering if he's talking about two kids and half of a kid.

#16 Posted by nevalis (75 posts) -

The problem with the American Dream (family/house/debt free/retirement) is they conflict with each other. To get a house and have a retirement, you need to be relatively debt free. To be debt free, you need a decent job. To have a decent job, you need a good education. To have a good education, you typically need to take out loans.

Unless you inherit money, get lot of scholarships, or benefit from nepotism to eliminate some of those conflicts, it's very difficult to attain all of that these days. In many cases, it's retirement or family that is sacrificed.

#17 Posted by SilentPredator (129 posts) -

#18 Edited by ShaggE (6401 posts) -

@vinny_says said:

A lot of these "debt problems" can be solved by one simple trick that has Wall Street and big banks furious! Click to find out more:

Fake your own death

Was the trick discovered by a single mother? And how much money can I make from home by faking my own death? Most importantly, can it whiten my teeth?

(I really hope this exchange has given a bot enough keywords to respond... acai berries weight loss mortgage student loan manchester u obamacare twerk)

Online
#19 Posted by zombiepenguin9 (533 posts) -

@gabha: I saw that too and I was wondering if he's talking about two kids and half of a kid.

I thought that was a fairly well-known joke. Statistically, the average amount of children per family is two and a half kids.

In general, though, I was wondering more about people's experiences with getting out of debt and/or if you think there's a shift happening in how people view debt as a means to acquire what we're taught is necessary for "the good life," and if that's even important anymore.

#20 Posted by csl316 (8349 posts) -

I just paid off my undergrad/grad student loans at 27. I almost feel lucky since a lot of people are in far worse shape. Took a lot of work, not being able to do much, not going on any vacations, etc. My 20's have been sort of useless as far as making any financial progress.

Oddly enough, my friends that skipped college are in far better shape, owning houses and starting families.

#21 Posted by Tireyo (6409 posts) -

To me, the "American Dream" is overrated and increasingly becoming more extinct.

#22 Edited by CynicalBuzzard (240 posts) -

My dream is to live my life the best I can, I have no outrageous goals.

#23 Posted by Aetheldod (3542 posts) -

I was happily strolling through life when I made some bad desicions and also third parties made me incurr a huge debt that right now I cant even fuckin pay :( ... so yeah right now all I want is to pay that fuckin debt. If we talk about what are my dreams , well it is to have a castle (yeah a medival type of castle) , have a family (wife and kids , pet and all) , and a decent career in animation making (of my own volition). Im 31 , poor as fuck , live with my mother in an apartment that belongs to my grandma with a job cleaning mugs and packing and unpacking small time products :( , as you can see that Im very far , far , far away from any of those things.

Oh yeah never , ever of everest of evers pay a fucking house through mortage its fucking madeness and part of the reasons why shit went down horribly. Fuck credit history and shit like that , pay for your house in cash , its fuckin madness and idiotic (which makes me a bigger idiot).

#24 Edited by Missacre (566 posts) -

My husband and I have been married 3 years, and our only bills are the water and power, food, insurance, and internet. I'll admit, we got really lucky with getting the jobs we did, because we were able to pay off our house and cars in a little under 2 years. The money we got in Vegas helped too. We've never had credit cards, and don't plan on getting any. Also, no kids, we physically can't have any for reasons, and we don't really want any either. So I guess we're pretty much living the new American dream according to OP.

#25 Posted by 34f3ecwdc3 (162 posts) -

@zombiepenguin9: I don't know if owning a house it's necessary for everyone. For example, I don't have a solid dream about owning a house/apartment. I prefer to live in different countries for some years, on rent then move again. This is my third country, although I didn't managed anything by myself now, but I want to live in other two countries and if I'd try to own a house now, my main dreams would stay in place. I mean, you have two choices in life if you weren't born with rich parents : adventure - you don't have to save too much money, debts are not necessary and live every moment as good as possible, or family - work a lot, save money, cut some nice dreams and expect later to make those dreams come true. The joke made me smile btw.

#26 Posted by GnaTSoL (791 posts) -

The american dream to me is money never being a deterrent or issue. I wish to get to the point where I have to get whatever I want without issue but also make sure I enjoy life more than I work. And by that I mean, do something I love as work and I'll never work a day in my life.

My anti-American dream is living like a Japanese Salary-man. :S I guess I think about it all more like that. Avoiding the worst case scenario.

#27 Posted by PeasantAbuse (5138 posts) -

I wanna be the white Young Jeezy.

#28 Edited by zombiepenguin9 (533 posts) -

@CommanderGarrus:

Sweet. What countries have you lived in? I bet cost of living might be lower overall that way, if you play your cards right.

#29 Edited by 34f3ecwdc3 (162 posts) -

@zombiepenguin9: I lived in my natal country, then in Dubai, now in Germany. Then comes Canada, but I am still not sure if I will live in USA, that's too far to think about right now, although there are many good reasons to live in USA too. I dream to stay more in Canada, if I change my mind, then I will have a home there and just travel around the world. That's why I can't plan a lot, I have many many options, I'm young, don't have responsibilities and I'm not going to have many, because I am not the family type and my dreams are not impossible. It depends on each one, as you said, playing your cards right will keep you on track. Not having a family it's a really big difference in the budged for someone like me and I prefer to have more free time for fun and money.

#30 Posted by RonGalaxy (3060 posts) -

My dream is to have a positive impact on the world/people. When I figure out my way of doing that, I'll be completely satisfied with my existance