Money Matters: Achieving the new "American dream"

Reported by: Brittany Price
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Updated: 8/06/2014 9:39 am

The American dream.

"It's the belief that no matter where you come from, that you can be better than the generation before. That you have a way of moving up and making your life better than it was for your parents," Financial Professional Dereck Blair said.   

However, according to a new study, 63 percent of Americans believe this dream is dying.

"I don't think it's dying, but I do think it's changing," Blair said.  

Blair said aspriations have evolved.

"Back for our parents, owning a home was the true American dream," Blair said. 

Things are different now for most Americans.

"They just want financial independence," Blair said. 

Blair reccommends focussing on three key areas to achieve that financial security.

Number one: ditch the debt.

"Debt just drags us down. They spend more than they have. They spend everything on plastic and think they can pay it off later. Pay your highest interest debt card off first and go from there," Blair said. 

Number two: save for retirement.

"We are living longer than ever before. We have to be prepared to live 20 to 30 years into retirement," Blair said. 

Blair notes a huge mistake is dipping into your 401k to send kids to college.

"That's a mistake because all you're doing is taking money out of your pocket, where your kids are going to have to make up for you later on when you do retire," Blair said.

Number three: student loans.

Blair's reminder: a college degree isn't the right financial choice for everyone.

"With the way the oil and gas industry is now, it's not always a bad thing to look for a vocation. Diesel mechanics, you can make six figures being a truck driver with a CDL," Blair said. 

One study found the rate of return for a bachelor's degree is about 15 percent. That's easily a sound investment, but only borrow what you absolutely need.

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