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Interesting analysis by USA Today -- a family of 4 needs $130,000/year to live 'American Dream'. Median US family income -- $51,000/yr.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2681136/Can-afford-A...

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intercst
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There are however massive variables depending on where one lives, with cities like Indianapolis and Tulsa being far more affordable than New York or San Francisco when you take taxes and housing costs into account.



I'd say quite massive if you ask me. Sure, there are expensive enclaves in every major city, but no way you have to be in the top 12% to achieve what we typically call the American dream in 99.9% of the places to live in the U.S.

Most people can achieve it. In fact, anyone can with the right attitude. It's about discipline, sacrifice and making decisions that benefit your self-interest. It just takes time.

No, you can't always have everything you want. You forego some things so you can have the things you really treasure.

I think our culture has a problem of wanting everything immediately. Young people don't realize it took a generation for their parents to achieve what they have. They go out and buy expensive latte's, $500 purses, eat out all the time, drive BMW's and Lexus' and then wonder why they can't save for a house or put money in the 401k.

Metal
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Their numbers are a bit...high. An annual grocery bill of $12,659 equates to more than $1000/mth on food. We are a family of three and spend nowhere close to that on groceries each month, including cleaning supplies and paper products.

Then $11,039 for a vehicle; that would have to include a payment of some type, car maintenance, and gas/parking (which can be high in some areas.)

Also I do not think most people making $51k for a family of 4 pay 30% of their income in taxes so that frees up additional income right there. It's probably closer to 15%.

At the bottom of the article is a link to another page indicating where they found their data and a chart showing other things they included such as entertainment, phones, vacations, and miscellaneous. They included 401ks but not Roth IRAs.

Meh...it seems shoddy, sensationalist journalism to take medians across the country and calculate the price tag of the American Dream, and then to say, "Of course, there are regional differences." You have to account for the regional differences BEFORE the price tag is rung up, as that will make the difference as to whether you can have it where you are or need to move.

A better article would be a study on one region of the country, IMNSHO.

Minxie
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It's about discipline, sacrifice and making decisions that benefit your self-interest.

I agree emphatically. Its about making good choices on what matters to you and yours.

So much of the stuff we buy (in our materialistic society) gets used for only a while and then pitched.

Making good choices means avoiding copying what everyone else does just because everyone else has one. Buy the stuff that matters to you and that you will use. Avoid the rest.

This very basic approach can save funds that are otherwise wasted. Better to save and invest those otherwise wasted $$.
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I choose to live my own dream!

(as an example, I still have a flip phone - $300 a year! Yes, I get a lot of laughs. But in the end, I am the one laughing all the way to the bank!)
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jtogren writes,

I still have a flip phone - $300 a year!

You're getting gouged. I pay $108/year (including sales tax) for a Tracfone.

intercst
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<It's about discipline, sacrifice and making decisions that benefit your self-interest.>

Sorry, you can only recommend a post to the Best of once.
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I just wish my flip phone would flip a bit more like a communicator! Opening it one-handed is a pain.

Kathleen
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At the bottom of the article is a link to another page indicating where they found their data and a chart showing other things they included such as entertainment, phones, vacations, and miscellaneous. They included 401ks but not Roth IRAs.

The link shows $4000/year for 'education expenses' for the 2 kids ($2000/kid), plus $5000 ($2500/child) for college savings. While I support saving for college, only saving $500/year more than they are currently spending seems unlikely to buy a similar level of college education as the education they are apparently currently buying over and above public school. So either they are too high on the current level of education spending, or too low on their spending for college savings. Not sure which......

AJ
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The link shows $4000/year for 'education expenses' for the 2 kids ($2000/kid), plus $5000 ($2500/child) for college savings. While I support saving for college, only saving $500/year more than they are currently spending seems unlikely to buy a similar level of college education as the education they are apparently currently buying over and above public school. So either they are too high on the current level of education spending, or too low on their spending for college savings. Not sure which......


Well, it's too high for public school and too low for private school. They could be home-schooling, paying for tutors, or enrichment activities but since the author used a bunch of averages for the other data, he likely did here also. It's just another faulty data point. And yes, that is not nearly enough if they are planning to pay for college for two children.

Minxie
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