At one time, our Miami consumer rights lawyers know this was the quintessential American dream.
Today, that dream looks much different. A new poll from Credit.com paints a picture that is even more basic than the one upon which we tend to nostalgically reflect.
The new American dream: Being debt-free. That’s how 1 in 4 pollsters between the ages of 18 and 24 defined it, anyway. Believe it or not, that was a higher percentage than those who said they dreamed of owning a home.
There is a stark difference between this dream and the one of generation’s past. While the American dream of old was something that was not only tangible but well within reach of most who held it, the new dream is seemingly an abstraction. To many people, it’s a goal they’ll never be able to attain.
This shift from valuing home ownership to simply wanting to be free of debt is one that is rather poignant, given how deeply ingrained the value of home ownership has been in our culture. It has long been considered a marker of one’s “stake in society.” It was something expected of those who considered themselves proud Americans.
But the impact of the Great Recession can’t be understated. Consider that at the height of the boom, USA Today published a poll in which more than 80 percent of young adults said being rich was their top priority. Another 51 percent said being famous was just as important.
Today, it seems people are far more realistic. Now, people are simply hoping to escape debt, or at the very least, escape virtual slavery to creditors. Today, success is measured in one’s ability to stay afloat while racking up an average of $28,000 per child in student loan debt. It’s being able to keep your head above water when the cost of child care is higher than the cost of rent. It’s being able to escape massive credit card debt while the cost of everything from gas to food rises, even as incomes fall or remain stagnant.
More often today, affluence is not even on the radar. It’s about basic financial stability.
Credit.com’s study revealed that while nearly 28 percent of people see the realization of the American dream as the ability to retire before the age of 65, nearly 25 percent see it as being free from debt. Only 18 percent saw it as home ownership.
Perhaps even more troubling was that 55 percent of respondents said that the American dream wasn’t within the grasp of most Americans.
It’s true that some debt is vital for the American economy to function. However, we have become a nation that is in many ways crippled by it.
What many people have viewed as special about the “American dream” is the fact that it was attainable. If that’s no longer the case, perhaps we need further examination of why that is, and what we might be able to do to change it.
If you’re battling foreclosure or consumer debt in Miami or the surrounding areas contact Jacobs Legal for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991. Also, don’t miss Miami Foreclosure Attorney Bruce Jacobs on 880AM/the Biz, every Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on “Mortgage Wars,” discussing foreclosure topics that matter to YOU.
The New American Dream is Getting Out of Debt, Sept. 8, 2013, By Adam Levin, Credit.com
More Blog Entries:
Know Your Consumer Rights When Debt Collectors Pounce, Aug. 6, 2013, Miami Consumer Rights Lawyer Blog