USA Today: The ‘American Dream’ Now Costs $130K

USA Today The 'American Dream' Now Costs $130K - picture of family in American colors and sunglasses holding American flags

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According to the experts, you aren’t really living a fulfilling and happy life unless you’re earning at least $130K per year.  This newsflash comes courtesy of a new analysis from USA Today which says some pretty ridiculous things about what it now costs to live the “American Dream.”  I find these articles offensive because, for starters, making blanket statements about what the American Dream means is pointless.  Not only that, but perpetuating these lies can be detrimental to the American psyche as well.  Why?  Because it leads people to believe that will never have enough money to be happy and financially secure.

Why Does the American Dream Cost $130K?

According to the USA Today article, the rising costs of everything from food to insurance are making family budgets tighter and financial independence much harder to attain.  I get that.  I do.  I see it every time I go to the grocery store and balk at the prices, or fill up my gas tank and feel like my head is going to explode.

But, there has got to come a point where you control the things you can control and try not to stress about the rest.  And that’s why this previously mentioned article infuriates me; it assumes so much.  Here’s how they break down the 130K they claim is now required to live a full and happy life:


  • Median Housing Expenses: $17,062 (median house purchase of $275,000 minus a 10 percent down payment)
  • Groceries: $12,659
  • Medical Expenses: $9,144
  • Car Expenses (4WD SUV): $11,039
  • Education (2 children): $4,000
  • Clothing & Apparel: $2,631
  • Utilities: $1,956


  • Family Vacation: $4,580
  • Entertainment $3,667
  • Restaurants: $3,662
  • Cable, Satellite, Internet, Cell: $3,100
  • Miscellaneous: $2,000


  • Taxes (State, Local): $32,357
  • College Savings: $5,000
  • 401K: $17,500

Total Income Needed to Live the American Dream: $130,357

I find the median housing cost troubling because it is inflated by coastal cities and huge metropolitan areas with higher than average real estate prices  Fact: You can get your own starter castle for $275,000 in Central Indiana and in most rural communities across the U.S.  Do you live somewhere expensive and hate it?  Try moving. 

And food.  Don’t get me started on food.  Why does this family need $12,659 for groceries and an additional $3,662 for restaurant dining each year?  For those who are too lazy to do that math, that’s a total of $16,321 per year and $1,360 per month for this family of four to stuff their faces.  I have to ask, what in the hell are these people eating?  Filet mignon every night?  Try meatless Monday, folks.  It works great!  I feed my family of four for $500-$600 per month and no, we are not starving or eating Ramen for every meal.  My suggestion to this family: Stop eating so f%&king much.

And car expenses?  How many people actually need to pay over $11,000 per year for a 4-wheel-drive SUV?  How many people actually need to have an SUV to begin with?  And this mythical family (who I am starting to hate, by the way) is spending almost $1,000 per month on transportation.  Who are these people?!?!?!

Oh, but it doesn’t stop there.  Apparently they also need to spend $4,580 on their annual vacation in order to be happy as well, in addition to another $3,667 on entertainment.  And that amount doesn’t even include their cable, satellite, or internet bill, for heaven’s sake, nor does it include $2,000 in miscellaneous.  Shut the front door.  That is by far one of the dumbest things I have ever read in my life.  Try checking out free movies or books from the library, playing Scrabble, or playing in the dirt like my generation did for a change.  *facepalm

The American Dream is What You Make It

Sorry “experts,” but the American dream doesn’t cost anywhere near $130,000 per year.

If only we could show people how to take control of their lives instead of constantly encouraging them to adopt a victim mentality that helps no one.

The American Dream is what we want it to be.  It’s what we make it, and it’s different for everyone.  Don’t let someone else define what your life should look like based on statistics, charts, and graphs.  And don’t let someone tell you that you are not living the “American Dream,” just because you don’t waste money frivolously, need a new car every year, or have every gadget known to man.

Exercise your freedom to be different instead, and forge your own path.

That’s what the American dream means to me.

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  1. Holly
    I highly doubt that mythical family would even contribute 17500 in savings. Without an SUV how do you make Costco runs. I saw a stat that says people spend more time planning vacations than they do saving money for retirement which is sad.

  2. I agree that the housing costs in particular are really troubling. Where I live you can get a pretty amazing house for $275k! A decent one would only run you maybe $165k. But of course there’s no way that would ever be the case in San Francisco!

    1. True, but it doesn’t mean that you’re not living the “American Dream” if you’re not living in San Francisco, right?

      1. Or northern New Jersey! We paid $260,000 for a 2 bed, 2 bath condo that was only a few years old, but after seeing those TV shows where people paid the same for a 5 bedroom mansion, it made me feel terrible!

  3. So many things wrong with the reference article! For one, my husband and I make over the American dream amount. But because of student loans, we basically don’t spend any of the crap that this crazy family spends. Eating out happens for necessities. We haven’t taken a vacation in years. Now, we do have an AWD SUV because we have feet of snow on the ground six months of the year, but we tried to do without for a year.

    Like you said, the numbers are inflated by the large percentage of our population living in really expensive areas.

    Your dream is what you make it.

  4. Holly, I’m with you 100%. For most of my 15-year career I’ve made between $50k and $65k, and will be finished paying off my mortgage at age 33 this year, the same year my wife and I have our 3rd child!

    The American Dream can be achieved with FAR less than $130k/year. Great post!

    1. Yep, it can. So many people prove it every day!

  5. I agree Holly these types of articles set the wrong example for the avg person. And because the avg person isn’t particularly good with money I’m afraid that they won’t be able to see throught the BS. This year our family vacation will consist of a week camping with our family. Total cost will be under $400 and way more fun than waiting in line at Disney or where ever you go to spend $3-$4k on vacation.

    1. But you’re not living the “Dream” then!!!! j/k

  6. $275,000 is the median house price? yeah, in my area of the country that buys a starter castle as well (love that term). The American Dream is subjective as well…the list given by USA today doesn’t necessarily fit everyone’s view of “The Dream.”

    1. It is certainly subjective! I’m glad that USA today isn’t my spouse. That would be hard to live up to.

  7. At least they are maxing one 401k and saving for college?

    You could probably inflat their budget even more since the cost of “education” is low, so that means their kids aren’t in daycare. You could easily spend $15-20K a year in daycare for two kids.

    Guess I will just keeping living my version of the American Dream that seems to be working out pretty ok for us.

    1. Yeah, these people are saving. I guess there’s that!

  8. $4500 for a vacation every single year! I haven’t had a vacation in 3 years, and I’m fine! Honestly, I don’t know where you would even spend that much money!

    1. We travel a lot and I would be surprised if we spend $4,500 on five trips total.

  9. For where I live that is a $275,000 is a starter house price and I don’t live in Vancouver! Those other amounts do not reflect frugal living, so I guess that’s why they pitch it that way. Good rant, Holly! I like it!

  10. Right on, girlfriend!!!!! The sad part is that these people will eventually be unhappy too, because stuff does not grant happiness! This is just another example of the media working to get us to spend cash, and lots of it. Can you say “Gluttony”?

  11. I don’t think I ever spent $4500 on a vacation even when we weren’t on a budget and deeply in debt. So of USA Today’s numbers are just simply inflated. Funny just a few weeks back CNN posted some poll results that said the American Dream was dead. So which is?

  12. Well said Holly. Control what you can and just let go of the rest. Life is expensive no doubt but there are so many ways to save. Just last night I was on the phone with our cell phone provider and was able to lower our bill $10/month. I’d say my husband and I live very well… and we don’t make 130k.

  13. “My suggestion to this family: Stop eating so f%&king much.” I
    Best thing I have read so far today!!! 🙂
    I am clearly starving my family…ha ha!

  14. Well put Holly. I had seen the article, though chose not to read it because I figured it was a bunch of nonsense. Glad to see I was right. 🙂 As you pointed out, there are so many things wrong with their math it’s not even funny. There are so many ways those numbers can be cut and that’s without even breaking a sweat. I’m sure it’s entirely possible, but I’d love to see someone living this way that is also maxing their 401k and putting away $5k for college.

    1. I agree. It is doubtful that someone who spends 16K on food would be saving much, though I suppose it’s possible.

  15. I could buy a very nice duplex or fourplex where I am for 275k. Granted I know the prices are super low here compared to other areas of the country.

    I think there are a lot of things in this piece that should be questioned – the biggest one to me was the food bill. I balked at the $1000/month in groceries and then skipped right over the additional restaurant bill! Uh, what?!

  16. Whose dream is that??? There may very well be people out there that throw their money away like that, but it’s not the “American Dream” by a long shot. And I wholeheartedly agree that it is highly unlikely that anyone who is that careless with their money would contribute the max to a retirement fund.
    I live in a high cost of living area where $275k won’t get you any sort of house and you probably do have to make $130k a year for the American Dream of owning a home. But there’s certainly no room in that dream for $1,000/m cars or $1360/m food budgets. Who wants to be a slave to their car and fancy dinners?

    1. Exactly. You can have the American Dream no matter where you live. You just might have to make sacrifices somewhere.

  17. Haha I’m from NZ and I think this country is screwed. Good luck finding a decent house for anywhere near $275,000 in my hometown. I really do think in New Zealand you need to be earning in the $100,000 mark to live well. I earn over at that and am single (well, I have partner but I’m not married and we have no children) and while I’m doing well, I don’t feel “rich” despite earning 3x the national annual income.

    Also, food here is CRAZY EXPENSIVE. We spend over $1k a month for the two of us and that’s not including any eating out we might do.

    Some parts of that budget seem pretty distorted. Are they buying a new car every three years?

    1. I don’t know but it sure looks like it with their annual 11K price tag!

      1. I assumed 11K included gas for a huge gas guzzling SUV that this “ideal” family uses to shuttle their perfect 2.5 kids everywhere to activities which would be several thousand a year, for insurance and vehicle maintenance in addition to the purchase price.

  18. So in this mythical family only one parent works. There is no student loan debt. There are meals out and an annual vacation. Hmmm, where did I go wrong chasing the American dream?

  19. Ha! You beat us to the punch because we talk about the same article on the podcast tomorrow.

    I took the article a whole different way….if you expect to live comfortably and not care about trimming or controls, it’s going to cost you big time. Otherwise, you’ll need some controls. We also talk about how large some of the numbers are, but those are “I don’t really need to care what it costs” numbers. Isn’t that the American Dream? ….spending freely (although not extravagantly) on what you want when you want it?

    The sad part of the article for me? When you think about what people will cut to get the dream, you and I might cut that car payment, grocery bill or vacation expense. The average person? There’s no way in hell they’re making that 529 contribution or 401k savings happen. Those are the first to go.

    1. But what does that have to do with the American Dream? Is the American Dream really defined as being able to waste money thoughtlessly? That’s what bothered me about it.

      I also agree about the savings component. Anyone who would max out their 401K would probably freak about all of the other waste in this budget.

  20. I had to laugh when you wrote $275k buys a castle in your area- around me it buys a 14ft wide rowhouse without a parking pad! I don’t even consider the city. I live in to be particularly expensive, but it’s all relative 🙂
    Great writing- thanks for the laugh!

      1. I live in Baltimore, Maryland but grew up just outside Washington DC. Even though Baltimore and DC are only 30min apart the housing prices in DC are 3-4x what they are in Baltimore.

  21. I think people who write these articles are primarily journalists who live in the east coast urban areas where it does cost a lot more to live. Here in the Midwest (Illinois) housing is much more affordable as is other consumer staples….groceries, gas, etc. The thing I noticed is this mythical couple spent more on vacation than they did their kids education which might be ok if their kids went to a public school. However, the amount spent on education kinds of infers a private school. Granted we only had one child and it was several years ago when he was still home but we got by for significantly less than $130K, retired at age 55 and put son all the way through graduate school with zero student loan debt. It can be done.

    1. It can be done. We all have to define what the “dream” means to us. Mine doesn’t require a 130K income either.

  22. I also hate such articles. They are just stupid. The first thing I saw was damn, they are spending $1,000 a month on groceries. Is this all from Whole Foods with the cart full of organic meat? While we eat meat, it is only for one meal a week. You can really stretch your dollar that way!

    1. There are a ton of ways to feed a family of four for half that or less!

  23. I think we’ve found the Joneses.
    I live in a high cost area so the housing costs don’t shock me and good for the Joneses for maxing out their 401k, but this would explain why so many people feel the need to keep up.
    Your spending habits make me queazy Jones. Get out of here! (and stop eating so f%&king much!)

  24. Here, you could get a studio condo for $275,000 or MAYBE a small one bedroom condo. Or get yourself a two hour commute each way and then you can have a 3 bedroom house for $275,000. Housing costs are pretty insane (renting included). You want to rent a 3 bedroom townhouse? That’ll be $3,000/month.

    Essentials: $29,800
    My two bedroom condo cost in the high $300,000 range and my housing expenses this year will be around $19,700, plus $700 for electricity. My boyfriend and I will spend about $4,800 on groceries for the year and likely nothing on medical expenses. I drive a subcompact car that I bought new and paid cash for. I spend under $400 per year on gas, about $50 for an oil change and new windshield wiper blades, and then insurance, so the car should cost me just under $2,000 this year. We have no kids, so no expenses there. I have no idea what he spends on clothes, but let’s assume $2,400 combined per year (probably high though).

    Extras: $19,400
    We’ve been doing a fair amount of travel and my usual budget has been around $4,000/year, so I’m going to say $8,000 for two. I’m going to estimate Entertainment/Restaurants at $10,000 for two. Internet is $600 for the year. We both have cheap cell phone plans. If mine wasn’t being paid for by affiliate links on my blog, then we would spend about $800/year on cell phones. We both have unlocked phones.

    I feel like I have to be missing something here because my numbers don’t quite add up to what my actual spending is. Yes, we do do a fair amount of eating out and traveling, but we have no kids and our joint (gross) income is over $300,000/year, so I’m not really that concerned about it. Whatever keeps the stress levels down and so long as we are saving a good chunk each month and all of our bonuses!

    You would probably have a heart attack if you knew how much income tax I paid last year!

    1. If you make enough, I guess you don’t really have to worry about small amounts of money going unaccounted for. And you’re right- I can’t imagine what your tax bill is!!!

  25. That’s total bullshit. These kind of things infuriate me.

    For one, a $275,000 house would be a freakin’ 7 bedroom, 5 bathroom mansion where I live. Seriously. I’d say the average (nice) house costs around 90k here in rural Ohio.

    Secondly, I’m only making 30k, but have absolutely zero debt, and very low expenses and I’m as happy as I’ve ever been.

    And why would a family need 11k per year for a car. Are you serious?? My car costs are changing the oil every three months ($72/year.) And gas which costs maybe around $1,300/year max.

    Needing 130k to live the “American Dream” is pretty laughable.

    1. Same with my car. It gets around fine and costs me very little. I don’t really even budget anything for it.

  26. The article seems to be describing a stereotypical entitled American family, living out their dreams by blowing money on status symbols (oversized vehicles, McMansions, luxury vacations, etc.) Any of these “this is what it takes to live well” articles always misses the mark, because you can’t make such broad generalizations in a country so vast and with such a wide variation in incomes & cost of living by regions.

    1. I’ve read that before too. Maybe they mean that each spouse needs to earn 70K =/

  27. I live in an expensive place but I also love it and where the work is more prominent, but a lot of other things to minimize the damage like rent out my garage, have VERY low utilities, transportation costs, ect. You make sacrifices to make it work. “The American Dream is what we want it to be.” That’s exactly it!

  28. The title should read the Over Inflated American Dream. The dream is to be able to live happy with what you have, while you have the opportunity to earn more with hard work and knowledge of your craft. This can certainly be done for less than 130K, I understand why you don’t like the blanket statement.

    1. “The dream is to be able to live happy with what you have, while you have the opportunity to earn more with hard work and knowledge of your craft”

      I agree with this 100%!

  29. I knew I wasn’t happy for a reason, I guess this explains it. Ha!

    If I can save close to 50% of my income while I live in one of the most expensive cities in the world on significantly less than $130k then I question why people think spending so much to be happy is necessary.

    I mean, I like that people need to consume so much, it makes it easier for me to get ahead of everyone else by saving more than them but why does that have to be the norm…

  30. These study is completely ridiculous. It conditions people into thinking that they need to work more, so they can keep up with the happy “Joneses.” $130K per year? We will never get there, and that’s OK.

  31. I totally agree with you holly, the American dream doesn’t cost $130k. I mean who needs to spend $1,000/month on groceries to be happy? Each family has different priorities and we have been able to achieve our American dream for a lot less.

    1. Exactly. I know people who are literally “poor” who, in their eyes, are living the dream. It’s not a number. It’s a state of mind.

  32. What kind of meals are these people eating?! LOL. Also, that seems like a lot of money for entertainment when they’re already spending so much on restaurants. Seems like an active mythical family haha

    1. That’s exactly what I thought! Must be caviar every night!

  33. We are family of 3. We make $130K. We would not be able to afford $275,000 house on our income. I am still paying student loans and we have a kid in daycare (which btw cost about 11K a year).
    I agree with a lot of what you are saying except for food. Good, unprocessed food is very expensive in this country. We spend a lot of money on food because we do not eat crap.
    We do not go to restaurants on regular basis either.

  34. It would be interesting to read some of the detail and calculations behind the 130k. But yeah, the number, and the article, is basically pointless because the cost of things and salaries vary by city and state. But hey, with all the content on the internet we’re bound to see quite a few of these worthless posts out there.

    1. That’s true too. Another day, another crappy article!

  35. $32K in taxes? WTF?!?!

    I don’t know where this dreamer lives, but they are being screwed on taxes. We make a good chunk more than the theoretical family here, don’t have deductions- I mean kids- and still pay less in taxes than this. Insane.

    1. I didn’t do that math on that, but you’re right. It does seem high.

  36. I say the American Dream is whatever your income is at the moment. With that being said, everthing you said in the post is true. Adjust your life to your income and make it work. In the end you are responsible for your actions, and that involves spending patterns.

  37. Ben @ The Wealth Gospel says:

    Who the hell do these people think they are? I’m pretty sure we all need to be multi-millionaire celebrities to be happy. These low-ballers need to go. I demand we burn the peasant village!

  38. As someone who lives in New York, I actually thought that median home price was too LOW. But this is the problem with these generalities around the American Dream because America is a diverse country with diverse cost of living expectations. So I don’t know what the numbers should work out to be, but I do know that if you want to achieve the American Dream (whatever it means to you), you have to make difficult and smart financial choices which include cutting costs where you can, working hard when you can and planning in advance for what you want.

  39. As an East coast dweller I still balk at the amount they claim that you need to spend in order to be “happy”. Over $12K for groceries…that one really made me laugh out loud. The article is definitely out of touch with the financial reality of many Americans who don’t come close to a $130K household income.

    1. I agree. It’s actually kind’ve insulting considering the median income is 51K.

  40. I am living proof that spending lots of money on unnecessary things does not make you happy. Too much debt is the American nightmare. We live in a rural area so we can keep our expenses low, but even if we lived somewhere expensive, that food and transportation bill is too much. I don’t think there is a magic number. I know people who are happy on $30k a year and people who are not happy with $250k.

    1. Me too. I agree that too much debt is a nightmare! I would also be really stressed out if I wasted that much of our income, although I wouldn’t necessarily have been worried about it 5 or 6 years ago.

  41. I think the problem is that we keep trying to tie the American Dream to things. Shouldn’t the American Dream be having a lot more time to spend with your family or having the ability to pursue a career that you won’t hate?

  42. Wow, where did they come up with all that. $12,659 on groceries plus even more on eating out? Even if you shopped at whole foods for everything, I can’t imagine someones grocery bill being that much (maybe if someone was REALLY out of control with their spendings). It’s just me, but I could never see myself spending more than $150-200 a month (if I wasn’t budgeting myself). Of course families cost more, but most of the families of 4-5 I know only spend $400-500 a month on groceries, a far cry from their projected amount. Looks through a lot of those other ‘statistics’ I can’t see myself ever spending that much on some things. I’m a simple person though.

    1. I don’t think I could even spend 13K at Whole Foods! It would certainly be a challenge.

  43. I think articles like the one mentioned about the American dream are just meant to generate discussion and gain attention. I don’t take blanket statements too seriously. Its like saying house prices across the country will rise next year. Some will rise, some will fall, it all depends on the specific area. Any generic stat about cost of living (nationwide) is useless because it doesn’t give enough detail for anyone to really get a good idea of how the cost of living is in their specific area

    1. Sadly, I agree. Blanket statements and averages don’t mean much to most people.

  44. I dunno, when we’ve made less than 130K, we still had to think about purchases or where to direct savings after the basics were taken care of. When we’ve made more than 130K we haven’t so much– the answer is always yes, we can afford it. It is really really nice living an upper-middle-class lifestyle. Even when you’re generally frugal (and our package looks very different from their hypothetical). That’s not to say we haven’t had a great life on far less than that in the past (as a couple on 36K, it wasn’t so very bad, knowing it was temporary and not having kids), but it is very nice to not have to think or care about money.

    Of course, we still don’t live the lifestyles of people who make over 300K… that’s a whole ‘nother level of live-in help.

    1. I agree that life gets easier when you make more money, but I don’t think that life being easy necessarily translates into the American dream. I also don’t think that anywhere near 130K is required to “live the dream.” I certainly felt as if I was living the American dream when we made a lot less.

      1. Oh, I felt that way too (living the dream) on a lot less, but there’s a definite level up at various income points. Having switched from 2 (STEM-PhD) incomes to 1 to back again, there’s a huge difference in quality of life and stress and so on.

        And my (lower middle class) American dream was to be upper middle class (like my aunt and uncle the lawyers). To never have to worry about money. To be able to have air conditioning and a dishwasher and go on school trips and so on without sacrificing paying in full for our kids’ education. Being able to throw money at problems without worrying about where that money was going to come from.

        1. Yeah, come to think of it, I guess I feel as if I’ve “leveled up” too. I’m not necessarily happier now, but I have fewer things to worry about.

        2. Oh, and I forgot one more thing. To buy ANYTHING AT THE GROCERY STORE I WANTED. That is living the dream.

          1. Ha! Well, there you go. You’re living your American dream and I think that’s awesome! My version of the dream is fairly simple too. I feel like I am living the “dream,” because I have a happy home and healthy family. Now I want to extend that dream to my children, help pay for their college, and watch them (hopefully) find the kind of happiness and fulfillment I have found. That would be the ultimate dream to me.

  45. Holly, I love this post. Articles like the one that you refer to make me tired. If I didn’t have debt and made the same amount of money (not $130,000) I would be perfectly happy. In fact, I’m pretty happy even though I’m cleaning up this mess. Contentment and feeling grateful is a wonderful thing to practice.

  46. Wow! That is a lot of money – one heck of an American Dream! lol. I agree with you that it’s personal. I know that if I had zero student loans, then I would be balling out of control on my salary of $81k. But since over half goes to student loans a year, while it seems like a lot, it’s not! So, depending on your own personal debt obligations, I think the cost of the American Dream varies. Great post!

  47. I’m not American, but many Canadians subscribe to a version similar to this of a Canadian dream.. lol. It’s nuts. Seeing numbers like this really, really make me want to switch direction. We have the income to lead the “American dream”, but not the dream. You’d have to work your entire life for that!

  48. Holly,

    There is such a disparity in the cost of living between different areas in the US that this number seems pretty useless to me. I also agree that everyone has their own definition of the “american dream.” Mine is certainly not owning or operating a 4WD SUV or spending $3,000 a year on cable and cellphones!!!!

  49. I’m with you Holly. My biggest issue with those articles is how they use those terrible click-bait headlines. Like you said, it damages the psyche because most people won’t even bother to read the article, they will just sit there, sad because they can’t afford that overpriced dream. A right on about the starter castle.

  50. Wow! I guess by their standards, I am screwed! 🙂 I make no where near that amount so I must not be living the “American Dream”. How do they know what the “dream” is anyhow? Eveyone’s dream is different…

  51. This is crap. I need WAYYY more than $130k a year to be happy. I can’t believe someone would write such a low-ball figure.

    Without $250k a year income, I’m barely floating above water. I mean, how can I pay for moorage on my yacht?!

    Ridiculous article all around.

  52. Jason @ Phroogal says:

    Ha love it. The American Dream is what you make of it and not what some analyst decided should be for everyone. I do have to admit I used to spend $1000 on food a month just for little old me. Yea, I was living the American dream of overstuffing myself, eating out all the time and buying groceries I end up tossing since I was eating out all the time.

  53. I agree because I earned more and spent much more. Life is what you make it whether you earn minimum wage or millions.

  54. Hi Holly, I agree with you eating out now-days is not financially feasible. Why in the world would people want to eat out daily everyday especially when it isn’t good for your mid section :). I love the fact that you started your own garden this summer to cut down on some of your expenses, we have done the same. Keep up the great work, love checking your blog for new posts now and then!

  55. Love it, Holly! You read my mind. I eye rolled the whole way through the article, interspersed with a lot of WTFs?!?

  56. My wife and I are in the process of relocating. I used to own a home, and lost it after the housing bubble. I’ve been a successful business owner for 8 years. I made over 200k/yr for a couple of years, but now I only make 95k/yr and my wife is a school teacher who makes 60k/yr. I work 7 days a week, and almost 365 days a year. Even when we are lucky to take a vacation, I work. We have 2 kids and we barely get by. We don’t save anything. We do take a vacation every year.

    I’m not even thinking about buying anymore for several reasons. To put 20% down on an old run down 3/4 bedroom basic home where I live, you’d need at least 140k down. Rent is a total joke, and looking at what you can get for your money made me go, “how the F are most people doing this?”. I make more than most of my friends. It didn’t use to be like this.

    I hope people wake up soon and realize how badly they are being squeezed. This is ALL a result of republican politics. ALL of it. I can show you in detail why it is, but you can start by looking at the tax system and how it’s changed since Ronald Regan “the god”. I hope people realize at some point they are PURPOSELY being polarized by news agencies so we can’t get together and make policy that will benefit us all. I have a lot of hope, but I’m not sure how much others still have if I’m struggling this bad.

    1. seriously? omg! i just blew beer out my nose not the left-wing, politically correct crap wine. you actually whined when you’ve “made” over $200K for a couple of years. what complete and total BULLSHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  57. Very interesting facts. I think this family is called the Joneses and people should try to stop keeping up with them! At least they’re maxing out their 401k.

  58. we make over 130k and have no kids, but we also live in an expensive area. i’m sure that most people would love to live in the middle of the country where you can get a mansion for what it costs for a monthly parking spot out here, but everyone has their reasons for living where they do. SOmetimes it just doesn’t make sense to leave behind your whole family to live in a less expensive area.

    1. I used to think my parents cursed us by raising us in Central Indiana, but now I think it’s great. I can buy a nice home and save for everything that matters. The cost of living is so low.

      I agree it would be hard to move away from family. On the other hand, you have to live with your decisions. People who live in an expensive area will just have to work harder for less, which is unfortunate.

  59. Reading these types of articles from USA today, WSJ, etc. are annoying. It’s all about prioritization. Could I purchase a house for $275k where I live? Heck no! But I also don’t spend tens of thousands of dollars on transportation and entertainment! Even in an expensive COL location you can live “the dream” on much less than this….

  60. Talk about flawed assumptions! How can any dream include having a mortgage and a car payment in perpetuity? Being debt free is all we cared about. Doing what we want without having to answer to a creditor or a banker is our version of the Canadian Dream.

    Thanks for the article Holly. The rant was highly entertaining.

  61. Wow! That is ridiculous to say one has to make a certain amount to live “The American Dream” . My husband and I live off about 50k a year (when living in the states a little more while outside because of the cost of living here) with a couple of kids, no debt, and almost 140k in mostly liquid assets! We are in our 20’s! So for them to say we can’t live “The American Dream” is completely incorrect!

  62. I don’t earn anywhere near $130k a year, and I spend far less than that. With my frugal lifestyle I have been able to pay off my student loans, paid cash for my car, and have just paid off my home mortgage (yeah, that happened today). I have much more than anyone could ask for and my expenses per year will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $15,000 per year. You’re right. The American Dream is what you make it. Thanks for the great post.

  63. I personally think that we have it backwards here and that we shouldn’t be soley focusing on work. That’s not what life is about. I love stuff, don’t get me wrong but it is not the most important thing. As an avid traveller, I can say that a lot of people in other countries think Americans are crazy and that all we care about is work. So this commercial probably wouldn’t bother them it would just make them roll their eyes and just points out how we have it wrong.

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