We're changing how we view "the pursuit of happiness," and that might mean spending less.

A new study of what “the American dream” means in 2015 has concluded…

Americans have moved away from a belief system dominated by financial achievements; and have moved toward a desire for a healthy mental and physical life.

For financial experts like myself, that might seem like dour news. It’s not. I’m ecstatic about the findings in this report, called The American Dream: A State of Mind by an independent market research firm called Lifestory.

For almost three decades, I’ve consulted with all kinds of Americans who have one thing in common; They’re in financial trouble. The major reasons? Usually divorce, medical crisis, and job loss.

While these catastrophes can happen suddenly and unexpectedly, the other big cause of debt is completely avoidable: Simply spending too much money on too much stuff.

I see it all the time. Otherwise intelligent adults believe they can buy the “pursuit of happiness” mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. When they find out they can’t, they often need professional counseling to dig themselves out of credit card debt.


After the Great Recession, I of course was quite busy helping thousands of Americans who faced losing their savings, houses, and retirement nest eggs. However, if there was any silver lining at all, the Lifestory study says its this…

This cataclysmic economic event caused people to question the value and purpose of acquiring goods and services derived from one’s financial well-being. Our research found a greater importance being placed upon mental and physical well-being.

If that means more Americans exercise their bodies than their wallets, that’s an excellent development. I just hope it doesn’t go wrong: Will Americans simply start overspending on health products instead of clothes and cars?

I also hope this new-found emphasis on quality of life — rather than quantity of possessions — doesn’t mean Americans start ignoring the basics of responsible money management. Debt.com has spent a lot of time to create a free, comprehensive Education Center that offers proven advice in plain English. We also offer free credit counseling by calling 1-800-810-0989.

I’d love nothing more than to shut down Debt.com because no one needs advice for getting out of debt — because the problem of debt no longer exists. Until then, I hope The American Dream is still achievable for all Americans.

Howard Dvorkin is a CPA and chairman of Debt.com, an educational resource for those who want to conquer all forms of debt in their lives.

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About the Author

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

I’m a certified public accountant who has authored two books on getting out of debt, Credit Hell and Power Up, and I am one of the personal finance experts for Debt.com. I have focused my professional endeavors in the consumer finance, technology, media and real estate industries creating not only Debt.com, but also Financial Apps and Start Fresh Today, among others. My personal finance advice has been included in countless articles, and has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Forbes and Entrepreneur as well as virtually every national and local newspaper in the country. Everyone should have a reason for living that’s bigger than themselves, and besides my family, mine is this: Teaching Americans how to live happily within their means. To me, money is not the root of all evil. Poor money management is. Money cannot buy happiness, but going into debt always buys misery. That’s why I launched Debt.com. I’m glad you’re here.

Published by Debt.com, LLC