Oh Say can you see?: The American Dream

8 Dec
Courtesy of activerain.com

Courtesy of activerain.com

There is economic stress in my family (I am referring to my fiancé and I) and it relates exactly to the safety and education goals identified by Warren (Family in Transition-16th edition).

“Within the middle class, and even the upper middle class, many families experience an almost threatening pressure to keep up, both for themselves and their children.  They are deeply concerned about the rigors of the global economy, and the need to have their children attend “good” schools.  This means living in a community with relatively high housing costs.” (Warren & Warren Tygai, 2011).

I’ve mentioned this before, but next year I am getting married.  We are both saving money every month in preparation for the milestones that are rapidly approaching—specifically, wedding costs and a down-payment on a house.  I do feel the pressure to “keep up” sometimes.  Do my fiancé and I want to live the American dream?  Of course we do.  We want a big, beautiful home on a lovely block with green grass and friendly neighbors.  We want healthy, happy, well-educated children that are able to walk to the school bus stop without a care in the world.  It’s the simple life, yet difficult to achieve these days.

As mentioned in the quoted text above, we all want our children to attend good schools.  This means living in a community with high housing costs.  If we are using the words “high costs”, then that usually means prices one cannot afford.  If the house was not recognized as a “high cost” then it most likely wouldn’t hurt my bank account.  What I am trying to say is that many Americans will purchase a home in a nice area with great schools—but it’s those same Americans that are spending more than they can afford.  We cannot afford what is known as the ‘American dream’ and yet we will sacrifice our financial stability in order to achieve it.  A bit of a contradiction, no?  This discussion has really made me come to grips with reality.

Hey, I will admit it.  I am constantly insisting that my fiancé and I view homes with the best schools and in the safest neighborhoods.  Can we afford this financial burden?  Absolutely not right now.  It’s funny though, how Americans just like us are willing to take that blow to the bank account, or commit to a 30-year mortgage (30 years, jeez!), rather than settle for what we could afford based on both of our incomes.  We’d rather spend what we can’t afford then afford what we are spending because of safety and education.  I am being honest, but considering all things, it sort of makes me feel foolish.

(I’d like to thank my Professor at ESC for initiating this fantastic discussion board)


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