When kids are just 14 years old, our high schools allow credit card companies to come in and promote the importance of establishing credit worthiness by taking out a credit card in our names.
Wait a second, can a 14-year-old get a job and start earning money? No. Why would a jobless 14-year-old need to think about getting a credit card?
We all have dreams, even some small dreams that are easily attainable that lead to larger dreams. Small dreams serve as building blocks that allow us to feel confident that we can achieve even larger, more complicated dreams. Yes. We need dreams, all sizes of dreams in this university of life.
Most of us started dreaming larger dreams in middle school and high school. What started out as the the good old American dream seems innocent at first but is it? Go to school. Get an education. Get a good job. Get married. Buy a house and start a family. Please get out your calculator and start adding all the costs associated with getting a college education, buying a house, getting married, having children, vacations and more toys – usually on just one rather humble salary?
We all know too many people that fit this description. We all know homeowners that have over-extended themselves and lost their homes in the recent years. Is there any wonder that we are broke as a nation? Not really. It is all because we don’t save money. The premise of the American Dream sounds wonderful as long as we can achieve it on borrowed money.
So, we keep on borrowing so we can get more and more things. Your parents may have this lifestyle and their parents may have this lifestyle of going into debt. Stop! This is not what you should want anymore! You should want to learn to invest. You should want to learn to save money for your future and your children’s future. We can actually dare to dream the NEW American Dream.
That good old American dream is designed to get us into the habit of owning more and more. Therefore we will acquire more and more debt This credit worthiness will eventually snowball and eat us alive. Eventually, all of your creditors will own you and you will have to take another job just so you can pay your bills.
The next time you turn on the television, pay attention to all the advertising of cars, houses; you will only find that both industries have one thing in common — they promote big cars. They promote big houses. The bigger the better is our American motto.
Is the good old American dream really good for us? Is anyone making the great big Hummer anymore? Do you really need a six-room, three-story mansion with eight-bathrooms?
Please name a television commercial that promotes saving money. Can you name a television jingle that makes you want to stop spending and start saving?
Do you dare to occupy a new American dream? It is a dream that will not get you out of the poor house every month. Do you dare to dream a smaller, more affordable version of an American dream, one where you can still pursue a college education, still buy a smaller starter home several years after college.
This new American Dream will not scream, “I owe I owe, so off to work I go” at every street corner. The new American dream screams, ‘I work smart, I live within my means.’ I will not borrow beyond what I make. I want to have financial freedom so I can travel, financial freedom so I can help out others in need. Financial freedom also means we can retire at 65 years of age and retire comfortably!
How can we achieve the new American dream? First, we need to believe that we are strong and smart enough to start saving. We can make the crossover together from the old American dream to the new American Dream. We dare to save money for our future, dare to plan for emergencies. We dare to help those in need. Together, we can achieve the new American dream. Believe, act and start saving money. It is the right thing to do.
Annie Christian is a real estate broker and owner of The Annie Christian Real Estate Group. She helps with everything from buying and selling to foreclosure and short sale. To submit a question, call 351-5117. Her website is www.anniechristian.com.