For generations, the American Dream has been the driving force of many Americans. It has encouraged people to find success in life through individual initiative and hard work. This vision has steered the country through dark times to better times.
It’s what has made the U.S. so attractive to people from different parts of the world and from alternative walks of life. The idea that you, too, can succeed gives people hope.
While the name remains the same, this vision has changed from one generation to the next. What inspired Americans during the great depression is different from what inspired the young and free generation of the ‘80s. Despite various individual aspirations changing from one generation to the next, each is built upon the legacy of previous generations. Though visions change, all generations bare several similarities.
Like their predecessors, Millennials have their own version of the American Dream. They want to be successful, have a good job, get married, raise families and achieve adequate financial security to retire.
Achieving the American Dream
Although many people like to refer to Millennials as a pampered generation, they are a generation facing hard economic times. According to the Economic Policy Institute’s recent study on income, those aged 18-29 have experienced the biggest drop in their income, when compared to other age groups since 1971. What a young college graduate earned in 2013 was much lower than what a college graduate earned in the late-90s.
Wages have stagnated and the economy doesn’t seem to be recovering fast enough. The figures can seem discouraging, but that does not make it hopeless. With some wise planning, you can begin building the foundation for your American Dream today.
- Start working early
Don’t wait for your dream job or to finish college to start working. Start working now. You can deliver pizzas or bus tables at a restaurant. Don’t look down on mundane jobs. If your job helps you pay the bills, then it’s worth the hard work.
Many successful people started out at the bottom of the ladder. They rose to the top or were inspired to start their own enterprises through the experiences they got at work. This could be you too.
- Start saving early
Don’t wait until you’re earning more money to start saving. Begin putting away some money now. Don’t put yourself into debt by saving, but saving a little consistently is better than none at all. You can look for creative ways to cut down on your monthly expenses in order to save money. Cut out that morning latte or extra drink at happy hour; over a period of time those savings add up to huge dollars. Use that extra money to invest for retirement! If someone asks you, what does IRA stand for, and you can’t answer the question…then it’s likely you are behind in retirement savings.
- Begin paying your debts early
A shocking 43 percent of Millennials with federal student loans are not making loan repayments. With the high interest rates on these loans, many Millennials end up with debts mounting to over $35,000. Less than 30 percent of these debtors prioritize the repaying of these loans. If you make repaying your student loans a priority, you can avoid paying a hefty amount in interest. Make paying off your debts a priority.
- Invest in a house
House ownership amongst Millennials is at an all-time low. According to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, less than 37 percent of people aged 35 and below own real estate. Many are convinced that they can’t afford to purchase a home, yet many live in expensive rental homes.
If your rent is high, consider purchasing a home and paying a mortgage instead of paying rent. CoverHound, an online insurance comparison tool lets you quickly find home insurance quotes from a variety of different insurers so you can match up identical policies and get the best deal for your needed coverage.
Following the above advice will help to provide financial security in the future. Begin with smaller financial changes and move on to major decisions, such as buying a house, to create yourself and achieve that American Dream.