"Resuscitate the American Dream with hope, change and personal responsibility," says Suze Orman in her newest book, The Money Class. The American Dream our parents embraced was one of living BELOW their means so their children's dreams were possible. This is a lesson we lost track of in the obsession for MORE that advertisers promoted and we indebted ourselves to (in oh so many Visa and MasterCard ways).
We need to not only rescue the American Dream as Suze says, but breathe new life into it with the old virtues of hard work and sacrifice. Boring, and so unexciting compared to the lifetstyles of the Kardashian's or Jersey Shores, but much more realistic.
Suze says, and I agree, that we must move beyond materialism – an empty value if there ever was one – to authentic happiness. But we Americans are programmed to believe that more money equals happiness. This is an illusion that lottery winners, for example, often realize too late. (Most are bankrupt or broke within 5 years)
I have a two-part question I ask at Money Workshops and trainings that comes from David Krueger’s book The Secret Language of Money.
1) My current annual income is $__________________.
2) In order to insure happiness and contentment financially, with no more money problems and worries, my annual income would need to be ______________________.
Most people answer #2 as being about twice the amount of #1. For example if #1 = $50,000, then to insure happiness I’d need to make $100,000. But once a financial goal is reached, what do we do? Set another goal and it’s often about twice the size of the first. When do we get to be happy and have financial peace? Perhaps right now by educating ourselves about money and really thinking about what is most important and what we value. And, by the way, a 2010 survey Suze cites by Charles Schwab & Co. says 75% of respondents understand that to create a new American dream, it takes hope, change and personal responsibility!!