In her new bookThe Money Class, Suze Orman helps you create your own American dream. In the introduction, she asks you to redefine the financial future you envision, and sign the pledge to be honest and responsible with your money—so it's never taken away from you.
It’s time to create a New American Dream that is based on honesty, authenticity, good intentions, and genuine need.
The New American Dream asks you to fashion a dream that suits you—not one based on false premises and the expectations of others. It asks you to take measure of your own needs and understand what it will take to provide for yourself and those around you—your family, your community, and those less fortunate. The truth is, we are on the threshold of an important moment. We can come together, right here, right now, and each one of us can envision our own New American Dream—a dream that is rooted in reality, not superficiality; in truth and integrity, not illusion and falsehood.
The dream I am asking you to create is a very individualistic pursuit. It calls upon you to take stock of the challenges we face as a nation with an economy that is still struggling to recover from the effects of a crippling recession. And then it calls upon you to take stock of your own life, your own needs, your own security. We must transform ourselves from dreaming society’s dreams and putting our faith in a false and misleading sense of entitlement, to being a society where each of us strives for dreams that are personal and realistic and that are in the best interests—in the truest and most honest sense—of us and our family. I am calling upon each of us to rethink the very way we dream.
What you can do to create your own new American dream
At the core of the change I am asking for is a willingness to stand in the truth. To take a clear-eyed accounting of exactly where you are today, what your circumstances are, and then plot a course that addresses your truth. The pendulum has swung out to an extreme, and we now must ease it back to a more stable and sustainable sense of equilibrium. To do that, I am going to challenge each of you, after years of overextending yourselves, to put into effect a correction. I am going to challenge you not merely to live within your means, but to live below your means. This is not meant to be a punitive strategy; it is a course in self-awareness, a return to values that our grandparents and their parents embraced. It is at the very core of the American dream of old. Yes, there is still a beating heart in that dream. It is our duty now to rescue what was so right about it: the virtues of hard work and sacrifice; of self-knowledge and steadfastness in achieving one’s goals; of aiming for something greater and longer-lasting than the fleeting rewards of instant gratification and indulgence.
It is time to move beyond materialism in order to set our sights on authentic happiness. Authenticity is a word I find myself returning to again and again these days. I would ask you to put your finger on what is authentic in your own life—and what endures. Surely that is our relationships—with those we love, with our community, with the earth. We strive for connection, we gladly sacrifice and find strength in working toward a greater purpose, a sense that there is a reward in being true to yourself and honoring the limitless power that comes from living a life of integrity. More than anything else, isn’t that the legacy each of us would like to leave behind? Wouldn’t we take pride in knowing that future generations will look to us for inspiration, just as we look for inspiration to the greats who came before us? Then let us embrace the ideals that forged the American dream, then and now: honesty, integrity, dedication, commitment, courage and hope. And let us turn toward the future.