The New American Dream
|June 30, 2008||Posted by Roshawn Watson under Uncategorized|
The American Dream has gone from having a good job and owning a home to driving an Ashton Martin, living in a McMansion, frequenting our favorite vacation spots, and jet-setting. In short, we want to become millionaires.
Our popular culture and personal finance literature is filled with an emphasis on millionaires.
There are abundant examples of shows with million dollar prizes including: NBC’s Deal or No Deal, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, and America’s Got Talent. Then, there are the staple personal finance bestselling books: The Millionaire Next Door, The Automatic Millionaire, and Secrets of the Millionaire Mind.
Personal Finance Guru’s
People flock around Suze Orman as if she was a rock star. Dave Ramsey’s radio program reportedly gets over 3 million listeners a day. Star-struck fans fill convention halls and sports arenas to hear success secrets from business, religious, and motivational speakers. If you happen to throw in a popular speaker such as Zig Ziggler, Donald Trump, Anthony Robbins, or Robert Kiyosaki, then it is pure hysteria. Trump reportedly receives $1,000,000 per speech, which truthfully is chump-change to the billionaire. Even religious organizations hold Millionaire conferences.
Casinos and lotteries
Casinos, online gambling, and the lottery also aggressively entice people to spend their money for the chance that they will become millionaires. Despite the unfavorable odds against striking it rich, many millionaire wannabes remain deluded by the lottery fantasy, believing that wealth will fall their way if their luck stays golden.
Delusion or Possibility
Given recent economic woes, some have asked if the American Dream is obtainable anymore. Although many people make great points, several millions of people are proving otherwise. According to the recent 12th Annual World Wealth Report, the number of millionaires increased last year by 6% to 10.1 million (net worth increased about 9.4% to $40.7 trillion). For comparison, during the time of Carnigie and Rockefeller, there were about 4,000 millionaires.
Millionaire Club: What it Means
The kicker is that since the millionaire club is no longer as exclusive anymore, it is becoming insignificant for some. Consider what frequent MSN money columnist Liz Pulliam Weston wrote…
“The day my husband and I became millionaires was a lot like any other day… There was no popping of champagne corks, no trips to the Continent, no quitting of jobs. The fact that the experience was so mundane speaks volumes, both about how millionaires are really created and what it means to be one.”
To others, a million dollars is almost pocket change. For example, Beyonce and Jay-Z each took in an estimated $80 million dollars last year. Merill Lynch is giving its CEO a hefty $83 million compensation plan for this year.
With such media-driven glamorization of wealth, including our celebrity culture and millionaire-producing game shows, and our obsession with lottery, it is unlikely to that our millionaire obsession will die off anytime soon. After all, it is the American Dream.
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Copyright 2012, Roshawn Watson, Pharm.D., Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.