The Real Cost of the American Dream


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The Real Cost of the American Dream

Entitlement in the U.S.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness- ideals that paved the way to the “American Dream.” This freedom to attain prosperity, once gained through just the right amount of sweat and determination, has now evolved to a sense of entitlement which cannot be maintained without plenty of debt.

Why are Americans not achieving the dream?

High expectations lead to high debt

2014 American Consumer Stats:

  • Total Debt: $11.68 trillion
    3.7% increase from 2013
  • Credit Card Debt: $854.2 billion
  • National Student Debt: $1.2 trillion
  • Mortgages: $8.5 trillion

Average American household expenditures in 2012: Total: $51,442

  • Housing: $16,887
  • Transportation: $8,998
  • Food: $6,599
    At home: $3,921 & Away from home: $2,678
  • Other: $3,557
  • Health care: $3,556
  • Entertainment: $2,605
  • Apparel and Services: $1,736

After the 2008 financial crisis, credit card debt peaked in January 2009

2010: U.S. debt fell quickly

Total credit card debt was lowered as delinquent loans were written off, not paid off

    • Food, shelter and clothing are not nearly enough, Americans spend a lot of money:


    • 59% of consumers spend more than $100/month on cellphones
    • 21% say they spend more on their phone than on groceries
    • 13% spend more than $200/month on cellphones


    • 2011: Americans spend more than $61 billion on pets

      Average $500 per household


    • Each week, the average American spends $20 on coffee

      That’s $1,092 per year

      Compared to work commute: $1,476 per year


  • 66% prefer to buy lunch rather than bringing it from home

    Average per week $37

    Average per year $1,924
    Lottery Tickets:

  • Purchase of lottery tickets has gone up every year since 1965

    Up to $66.5 billion in 2011

    Chances of winning with one ticket is 1 in 175 million

  • Gym memberships:
  • 67% of Americans who have gym memberships waste about $468 a year by not using them
  • Gym membership costs on average $39 per month

How to afford your own American Dream:

  • Make good work ethic a priority.
  • Be frugal- even when you don’t have to be.
  • Make saving the rule- not just an option.
  • Don’t fall into the debt trap!

Realistic expectations keep the dream alive and the dreamer happier!