Doctor Picture

The American Dream Is Alive And Well:

For The Educated

By Hans Watson D.O., President University Excel

Part 1 of 3


Doctor Picture

Search the internet and you will find countless experts that declare the American dream to be dead. Meanwhile, there is another group of experts that claim the dream to be alive and well.  While both groups give examples that support their opinion, the open minded parent is left asking questions. These questions include “how are the successful doing it?”, “what are the successful doing differently?” or “is it still possible for my family and I to succeed and remain honest?” To answer these questions we must define the American dream.

The American dream is explained by Wikipedia as “the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility achieved through hard work”. The difference in how people define prosperity and success varies greatly. However, most agree that success is being able to do something that makes you happy and comfortable. For some, this means owning a home, for others it is having the perfect job, for others it is an income in the top 1% of earners. In the end, most agree that the American dream is about having opportunities. The availability of opportunity is where the experts disagree. 

In the past, hard work alone could create a bright future full of opportunity. If someone was willing to “put in their time” and stick with a job for “long enough”, they would eventually gain seniority in a company and a higher income.  Moreover, there was often a pension (company retirement) at the end of the career.  The pension was a way of rewarding an employee’s loyalty and provided the opportunity for financial comfort during retirement. This trend changed over the last century and while some didn’t see the elimination of the pension as a retirement tool, others did. Those that learned about the changing trend adjusted their thinking about retirement and started saving money in a 401K, IRA’s and other retirement accounts. This group is often called “the savers”.  The saver’s money grew and in most cases still provides some retirement income and an opportunity to enjoy retired life. We see examples of this in every type of worker from blue collar to white collar and executive to laborer.  Why did the successful group see the change coming and start saving? 

The savers continued work with retirement experts taught them that the traditional way of preparing for retirement was being eliminated with the globalization of markets. When working with the retirement experts, the saver’s thinking about retirement preparations changed. The savers learned that the personal investment accounts were the tool for retirement financial preparation.  Meanwhile, those that never consulted with experts often worked just as hard as the savers but didn’t realize they should be saving in personal accounts.  The result was that the second group often doesn’t have personal retirement accounts that opportunities and comforts in retirement.

The retirement situations described above demonstrate that both opinions about the american dream were right.  For those that didn’t seek retirement advice from experts, a terrible surprise was realized when company pensions began to disappear. For this group the american dream was dead. Conversely, the savers sought expert advice and dedicated time to understand the reasons behind the advice.  For the savers the disappearance of the pension was less intimidating because they had been advised by experts and had time to adjust and prepare.  By becoming educated about future retirement requirements, the successful were able to enjoy more of their life. For the savers, THE AMERICAN DREAM WAS ALIVE AND WELL!

“How are the successful doing it?”, “what are the successful doing differently?” or “is it still possible for my family and I to succeed and remain honest?”  By revisiting those questions, we learn how to keep the American Dream alive for our children. We should research and utilize reliable expert advice.  We need to invest the time to understand what the new environment is like and what will be expected for our children.  Then we can approach those requirements and succeed without having to be dishonest.  For those that follow these steps, the dream is alive!

Will your thoughts and efforts be guided by expert advice? Do you see the changing environment? Will the American Dream be alive for you?

Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter @universityexcel