Is the American Dream Leading You Astray?

By David Geller   |   June 2, 2014

When I graduated 30 years ago, my plan was to pursue the “American Dream.” I would work hard and earn enough money to own my home, drive a nice car, send my kids to college, enjoy wonderful vacations, and have enough money to retire comfortably.

I did it. I checked all the boxes: home, car, college, vacation, money for retirement.

And, then in my 50s, I started to wonder, ”Is this all there is? Is life really just about the things money can buy?”

Of course not. Virtually all of us value our closest relationships more than our stuff. We understand the joy of helping someone else often trumps the pleasure of a shiny new purchase. We love engaging in activities that fuel our passions and grab our attention.

Our challenge is that the pursuit of the American Dream often leads us astray. Our pursuit of more money, so we can buy more stuff, takes us away from what really matters to us.

We know this, yet we continue to chase the Dream. Why? Because we get a short-term happiness burst when we buy the new thing. It feels good, but when the pleasure quickly fades,  we are left longing for more, so we look for another hit, the next luxury purchase.

What is the answer? Regularly remind yourself about what provides you lasting satisfaction, and focus your attention on the pursuit of those experiences.

Don’t let the American Dream lead you astray.

David Geller

About the Author

CEO David Geller co-founded the firm in 1991 and led the creation of Behavioral Wealth Management. Recognized on numerous prestigious "top financial advisor" lists, David is an in-demand speaker for professional groups and JOYN workshops. His writings have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Huffington Post.

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