The American Dream is a dogma rooted in our history from the days of the founding fathers. But does it still apply today? Modern life is nothing like it was 200, 100, or even 50 years ago. The problem with the American Dream is that it hasn’t kept up with the opportunities that are currently available to all. Technology and infinite information have changed the world we live in, and the American Dream has not evolved with those changes. And that is why you should tell it to take a hike.
The SheeksFreaks community exists to inform young people just like you about other options. You are, however, free to choose whichever version of the American Dream you want. Because, when you boil it down, there is nothing wrong with the old school version. It’s a noble life. It involves making good money working hard at a good job and doing that until you’re 65. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. Millions of people have used that same plan to live happy and healthy lives.
But there are other options. Options that involve earning more, spending less, investing intelligently, creating passive income, and being your own boss that can save you decades of your time. My challenge to you is to look at all the options, understand the pros and cons of each, and make a decision that best suits you and your future goals. That’s the Freak thing to do.
So what is the American Dream?
If you asked a bunch of random people on the street this very question, there would, of course, be many different answers. But the most common reply you would get would go something like this:
Go to high school, get good grades and a 3.7 GPA or better, go to college, get good grades, get a job, get married, get a dog, work for a good company, buy a beautiful luxury car, get a promotion, make a good salary, buy a lovely big house with the white picket fence, save a little money, have 2.3 kids, work long and hard hours, see your kids in the late evenings and on weekends, get another promotion, think about saving money to retire, get three weeks of vacation a year, take a trip to Disneyland with the family, work some more, send your kids to college, work till you’re 65, retire and spend your 70s and 80s living the “good” life, golf with your friends, visit your grandkids, travel to places you’ve always wanted to go, wonder how life went by so fast, die a peaceful death.
“The problem with [the American Dream] is that the person following it will be forced to work for wage income for the better part of his day, during the best part of his week, throughout the best years of his life. At best, he will retire with a modest amount of wealth, late in life, and be forced to hope it’s enough to last.”
Set for Life by Scott Trench (2017) pg 1
This exact plan has worked for millions. It’s the definition that most Baby Boomers and Generation Xers would give. And, as I said before, there’s nothing inherently wrong with it. It’s a proven strategy. There is nothing wrong with working for someone else for your entire career. But what nobody talks about are the other options. That’s the problem with the American Dream.
Take this option, for instance:
Go to high school, get grades, graduate from high school with a 1.5 GPA or better, start working and saving, find a side hustle to make even more money, live with your parents for a couple years to save all that money, take the money you saved to buy a house when you are 20, house hack it, save even more money, buy another property at age 21, and another at age 22, turn them into cash flow-producing rental properties, save the money generated from those properties, invest some of the saved money in index funds in the stock market, invest the rest into more real estate properties, house hack another property at age 23, and again at age 24, live a frugal lifestyle (don’t waste money), turn 25 and realize that the passive income from your investments is more than your living expenses, recognize that this means you are financially independent, quit your job for “the man”, focus time on your investments and growing them, realize you are an entrepreneur and didn’t even know it, keep growing your investments because you actually enjoy making money for yourself, get married, have 2.3 kids, buy a modest home and a dependable used car, take your family on vacations wherever and whenever you want, never miss one of your kids’ recitals or games, spend your 30s and 40s and 50s and 60s and 70s and 80s living the good life, spend as much time as you can with your grandkids from the day they’re born, die in a freak skydiving accident, leave your children $5 million of real estate as an inheritance, drop the mic, “peace out” world.
That’s just one of the other options out there. There’s another one that involves zero real estate investing and only index fund investing. It still includes working hard to make good money in your 20s, then saving and investing just about all of that money. It still includes living a frugal lifestyle and finding a side hustle for extra income. And it pops you out at financial independence in your 30s instead of your mid-20s. The tradeoff is that your investments are more straightforward and easier to manage, but you work hard for an extra ten years or so. But even financial independence at age 35 is a lot better than the standard age of 65.
The definition of the American Dream
There are also different ways to define the American Dream. If you approach it from an opportunistic standpoint, then the definition may look like this:
The American Dream is about having the opportunities to make your life better and to live a prosperous life. It’s the ability to obtain success regardless of your background or heritage. It embraces the idea that anything is possible if you work hard. America is a country where people can pursue their passions and dreams. It is a place where someone can go from having nothing to having everything.
There is no one “right” way to define the American Dream just as there is no one “right” way to live your life. And there is no wrong answer to the question, “What do you want to be doing in 15 years?”
If you want to choose the “old school” version of the American Dream from your parents’ generation, that is OK. If you want to follow a path that has a different version of happiness and fulfillment, that is OK, too. There are no mistakes in life because all of our choices teach us and prepare us for future endeavors. So go out and explore all your options and have fun defining your definition of the American Dream.
The purpose of the SheeksFreaks community is to examine lesser-known versions of the American Dream. Options that are also proven to work but just not as well-known because they involve breaking some rules. Maybe they are lesser-known because they are different or because they are not the norm. Yes, maybe because they are indeed a little freaky.
Comment below about your thoughts? In your opinion, does the American Dream still work?