I remember visiting my aunt May as kid and staying in her mansion in the US. I was awed and stunned in many ways. Sitting at the pool side, with my feet dangling in the crisp cool water, I said a wish out loud, “I am going to buy a mansion for my parents one day.”
A few decades later, I found myself on my way to becoming the doctor of my dream. But I am very very far from purchasing any mansion soon 🙂
In fact, I just started medical internship, where I make 50 k a year. My net worth is still in the negative, -28k to be exact.
I do have a bright future and I love what I do. I feel very privileged to have the trust of my patients and their families. I often stay awake at night, thinking whether I have done everything I could to help a patient get better. Each death or deterioration of my patients’ condition impacts me deeply.
I still have a little over 5 years of training, during which I anticipate to work around 80+ hours week and to get a raise of 2k each year.
I don’t see myself buying a mansion in this next decade. In fact, my American dream has changed. It’s much humbler now.
It is no longer rooted in grand gestures such as buying a mansion for my parents, or giving my extended family members expensive brand name gifts, or hiring my parents servants and driver…
I purchased my first home a couple days before med school graduation, using doctor’s loan. Our home needed some major repair, including a new roof and new AC. It still has its original 1970’s kitchen and bathrooms. But it IS our home sweet home.
My American dream now consists of steady, realistic financial goals
- pay off my student loan of 7k this month
- fund my 2014 ROTH IRA next month
- own my house, IE pay the mortgage off in 7.5 years
- buy 2 additional houses in my current neighborhood in 8-9 years: one for my mother-in-law and one for my parents
This way, we can all be neighbors. I don’t need a mansion for myself. My daughter doesn’t need to grow up in one. My dream is to have our loved ones close by, yet enjoying their own independence.
Meanwhile, I’m perfectly fine driving my car until its wheels fall off, getting free haircuts from my daughter (she’s really artistic, and has done a progressively better job since she was 2 years old), eating out once a month, and try to exercise so that I can still fit into my current professional wardrobe for the next few decades.
Some may think that I’m living a wretchedly miserly life, but I don’t see any of the above as sacrifices, I don’t see my budget as a set of limitations.
I have a dream, and the ways I go about my life, are proven means to my end.
For each financial goal I have set since I became a mother in 2007, I have excelled much above my own expectation.
For instance, I’d never imagined to have a net worth of -28k, when most of my contemporaries have net worth of -300k to -500k.
I simply set goals and find creative ways to enjoy life AND achieve my goals.
I am the only who can make MY American Dream come true. And I will.
- What is your American Dream?
- What steps are you taking to make it come true?
- Has your American Dream change over the years?
- How does pursuing higher education/training impact your ability to fulfill your dream?
- What would you have done differently in hindsight?