Millennials and the American Dream

Our company benefits from the fact that Millennials make up the majority of our staff. This brings to our attention the very real obstacle our generation faces in achieving the American Dream, owning a home, and having a stable future. What is the American dream? Is it a way of life or a status? Is it what we own physically or is it more of a mental wealth? Things to consider as this year begins to wind down. How will you become closer to achieving your America Dream in the coming year?

In doing research for this post we have found the majority of Americans consider having personal freedom and having their basic needs met, such as owning a home, as the top two most important factors in the American Dream. What does that mean for us?

For the majority of this article we will discuss the number one obstacle to homeownership. Where do you get the money to buy / build a home? 

Traditionally our parent’s generation would purchase a home by means of financing through a bank. That means “Ya you can live in the house, but it isn’t your’s ti’ll the loan is repaid.” you also end up preforming all the maintenance yourself in this situation even though it isn’t technically your’s yet. Our parent’s bought into the lie of “Ownership”. Many of them finding out the hard way that if you can’t make your payments the bank can toss you out, repossess your home, and resell it to the highest bidder. In reality home loans only help the bank, and you become their “cash cow” so to speak. The economic collapse of 2008 was based largely on bad home loans that defaulted. If we are to make a good future for ourselves we should learn from their mistakes. Unless you have no other option to borrow is a bad idea. We are talking about personal freedom here and the American Dream, a 30 year loan may be a step in the wrong direction.

How then is it possible to acquire a house? 

There are a number of methods that will provide results if you are willing to make small sacrifices now for the payoff later. Every situation is different and there are countless solutions to this problem, all it takes is a little effort and thought. Here are some potential solutions: 

  1. Move in with family for a little while, save on rent, and build a practical home when your savings will allow it. 
  2. Buy / Build a tiny house to start, these small homes are relatively inexpensive to build and are a great stepping stone into home ownership. Consider living in one for a number of years, acquiring a savings, and building a new home when you have the need of more space. 
  3. Build your home on family land where you already have access to space and lodging for the duration of your project.
  4. Purchase some inexpensive land and live in a refurbished Airstream or other trailer as you build your house bit by bit as the money is available. There are many places where you can find affordable land in the continental United States, we recommend looking near your favorite National Park if your work situation will allow it.     

Another major obstacle to our success is actually ourselves, or rather our mental disposition. We need to become more practical and break away from the consumer economy if we ever want to become financially free. Otherwise we are just cogs in the machine of industry, propitiating a lifestyle of waste. Cheap low quality goods are everywhere to be seen in our day and age, to our own detriment. We recommend a sort of traditional frugality, that is, to buy quality products that will last despite the higher initial price. There is no substitute for quality. 

Quality however, is not a factor of size. Therefor there is no need to have a house that is twice as big as you need in order for it to be “good”. A 2,500 sf house for the current 2.5 persons average US family is a lot more than we actually need. The “Greatest Generation” that was alive in the 40s had homes that averaged 1,200 sf and an average family size of 3.6 meaning the homes were much more functional without wasted space. 

In conclusion of this Millennial-American-Dream-Rant (sorry for the length) I will point out a few major thoughts: 

  1. The American Dream is on it’s deathbed and we are the doctors. We shouldn't do what the previous generation haves done and get large mortgages or else we risk the same fate. (The economic collapse of 2008 or worse!) 
  2. Success in your efforts will be promoted by frugality and practicality  
  3. With patience and planning we will all attain the American Dream

Never give up, stay the course, for your sake and that of your family you must persevere. There is more to life than owing on a loan, our happiness and freedom demands it. Let’s all seek the answer to our current situation and help each other along the way. 

Never give up on the American Dream.