The New American Dream Is To Avoid Drowning In Debt

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There’s a new version of the American dream these days that doesn’t so much involve the white picket fence and automobile in the driveway. Rather, the new dream shared by a growing number of Americans involves getting off their backs the creditors who helped them finance their initial go at the American dream.

A survey recently produced by GFK Custom Research for Credit.com reveals that 27 percent of Americans described the American dream as a financially secure retirement by the age of 65. In second place, 23 percent said being debt-free is the American dream.

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“The poll underscores something I have long suspected — there’s a great deal of nostalgia for a promise that increasingly and tragically no longer exists,” says Credit.com Co-Founder and Chairman Adam Levin. “Once upon a time, the American dream was owning a home full of thriving, college-bound kids, two cars and little debt. Now it appears that for many Americans, the American dream has changed.”

Unsurprisingly, respondents more likely to be saddled with fresh student loan debt, those in the 18 to 24 age bracket, were most likely to describe zero debt as the American dream.

A few key facts about hurdles to reaching the new debt-free definition of the American dream:

  • Overall debt from student loans is about $1.2 trillion.
  • One in 10 graduates accumulates more than $40,000 in student loan debt, while $31,646 is considered average.
  • As of August, the average American credit card debt was $15,263 and average mortgage debt was $147,591.
  • In total, American consumers owe $11.15 trillion in debt.

With getting out from under student loan debt and credit card debt at the top of a growing number of Americans’ lists, homeownership (a traditional staple of the American dream) is becoming less common. This could result in a drastic restructuring of American society in decades to come.

As William M. Rohe and Harry L. Watson write in the introduction to their book Chasing the American Dream: New Perspectives on Affordable Homeownership: “The value of homeownership is deeply ingrained in American public culture. From early laws requiring landownership for the right to vote, to nineteenth-century homestead legislation, to contemporary real estate brochures, the ownership of a home has long been presented as a crucial part of the ‘stake in society’ expected of full fledged members of American communities.”

Personal Liberty

Sam Rolley

Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After covering community news and politics, Rolley took a position at Personal Liberty Media Group where could better hone his focus on his true passions: national politics and liberty issues. In his daily columns and reports, Rolley works to help readers understand which lies are perpetuated by the mainstream media and to stay on top of issues ignored by more conventional media outlets.

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  • FreedomFighter

    In a perfect world its Best to avoid debt whenever possible, its a trap if not used to leverage purchases in a responsible way, IE make money on the debt, pay the debt off and pocket the gain. Still with the cashing economy and easy credit people tend to use debt to hold them over until they get a job or as an emergency stopgap to eat and pay bills…usually ending in an unplayable debt load, even if working again. If you can prepare ahead of time with 6 months stored food and cash reserves in a sock hidden away. No debt with interest building up crushing your Personal recovery.
    Laus DeoSemper FI

    • Chuck Rogers II

      Laus, you have that right but alas we don’t have a perfect world. We don’t even have an economy that is growing. The best a lot of folks can do is just hang on in hopes things will improve, but. ……………. they don’t seem to be
      Semper Fi

  • Toy Pupanbai

    Money is Debt. Every piece of paper that the private corporation, the Federal Reserve System prints, has an interest debt attached.
    The IRS is a debt collection agency to channel money to the ‘Money Masters': it really isn’t even a government department!

  • Toy Pupanbai

    A good way to wake the people up from that dream, would be to change the name of the “Federal Reserve System”, to make all Americans understand that it is an unconstitutional private corporation!
    Better still demolish it.
    Remember that freeing yourselves from interest bearing ‘money’, was one of the reasons that you went to war against the British!

  • laura merrone

    In NYC, I just read that 70% of the Blacks are on Medicaid, 76% of Hispanics and 30% of Whites. It doesn’t look good for many people being financially independent in the future…We’re struggling financially ourselves, but haven’t hit bottom yet and with faith in God, hope not to, but we make a lot less than our expenses. We are now living off our savings which is rapidly disappearing…so much fun, isn’t it??? Maybe some day we will break even again. (We moved and got jobs which is good, but still don’t make enough to survive…)

    • Karll

      It’s all about politics. The dems wants as many people living off the gubmint teat as possible so they’ll vote for the “hand out” party.

      Keep the faith.

      • laura merrone

        I am thanks!

  • momo

    “Gold and silver are money, everything else is credit.” J.P. Morgan

  • rbrooks

    too many who now work for wages that are not sufficient to provide the american dream for them. now they work to provide an abundantly affluent life style for a few.

    all under the guise of a free market and capitalism.