Recently, I’ve read an article that listed 16 signs that ‘you’ve made it in America’. This was definitely an entertaining read but some of these points felt more like failure than success.
Let’s do the test together, would you? Let’s see if we are living the American Dream!
- You own property valued between $1 million and $2 million.
- You have $7,425 in your checking account.
- You go on at least two annual trips abroad.
- You own a car worth at least $38,000.
- You have a household income of at least $185,000.
- You have $35,000 worth of savings.
- You have a holiday home.
- You don’t have to worry if there are enough funds in your account.
- You are able to go on weekend trips.
- You are debt-free.
- You are able to buy the latest gadget.
- You are able to hire a home cleaner.
- You are able to pick up tab after a night out with friends.
- Your children are in private school.
- You have flown first class.
- You shop at Whole Foods.
Damn, what a list! How can people be so rich and so poor at the same time? Anyone looking at this kind of lifestyle would need to make a lot more than 185k$ to be rich…
So how do I stack up against the American Dream?
- You own property valued between $1 million and $2 million: Miserable fail. Not even close.
- You have $7,425 in your checking account. Yuge win. We have over 30k$ on our checking account (a story about a totaled car that got paid by the insurance).
- You go on at least two annual trips abroad. Win. We vacationed in Calgary, Barcelona and Playa del Carmen last year.
- You own a car worth at least $38,000. Super fail. Combined, our cars aren’t even worth that much.
- You have a household income of at least $185,000. Win. We’re fortunate to work for an industry that pays well, but also tends to be very cyclical. So, knocking on wood here.
- You have $35,000 worth of savings. Ultimate win. I mean, Financial Independence with 35k$ would be tough. Like 1,400$ / year of spend. Maybe in Burundi?
- You have a holiday home. Fail and I don’t think we ever plan to have a holiday home. Sounds like a waste of money.
- You don’t have to worry if there are enough funds in your account. Win. My only ‘worry’ is to have 25x my yearly expenses.
- You are able to go on weekend trips. Win. But… really, week-end trips is a rich’s thing?
- You are debt-free. Fail. We have a mortgage and I don’t plan to be debt free.
- You are able to buy the latest gadget. Win. I am able, but I don’t. I guess that’s an important difference.
- You are able to hire a home cleaner. Win. That is probably the best money we spend. The amount of time we save every week is totally worth it.
- You are able to pick up tab after a night out with friends. Win, but we rarely go out to dinner with friends, we much prefer cooking at home.
- Your children are in private school. Skip. I haven’t considered this yet, but I think there are perfectly fine public schools in Houston. We would just have to move out of our current neighborhood.
- You have flown first class. Win. Actually I flew only ‘business’ class and it was underwhelming. Best way to waste your money in my opinion (unless it’s not yours of course)
- You shop at Whole Foods. Fail. What’s so great about this place anyway?
So there you have it, I haven’t reached the American Dream yet but I’ve done pretty OK :
- 5 Fail
- 1 Skip
- 11 Win
According to Wikipedia, we would currently be in the top 10% of Americans by Net Worth and yet, we aren’t living the American Dream according to this study. Is this what the participants of this poll had in mind?
I know people who would pass all these criteria, including a 2M$ vacation home, but their household income is closer to 1M$ / year and their net worth probably around 50M$.
By these standards, the American Dream is within reach of the top 0.01% and at that level, it’s not a dream anymore, it’s an utopia.
Fortunately, Financial Independence is within reach for most people and that is the real dream!
You can check out the details of that survey over here, at SWNS Digital.