Pursuing the 'American Dream' Can Be a Real Downer

Tight housing inventories, rising prices, and conservative mortgage lenders are preventing many would-be homeowners from buying their piece of the 'American Dream'. Michelle Higgins explains why this may actually be a good thing.

"A growing body of research suggests that spending money on real estate doesn’t necessarily mean investing in contentment," writes Higgins. "Indeed, the conventional advice to cut back on vacations, restaurant meals and other extras in order to save money for a home may actually be detrimental to felicity. Experts in happiness — an increasingly popular field focused on the scientific understanding of emotional well-being — say that people are happier when they spend money on experiences instead of material goods, whether it be a new car or a bigger apartment."

“People still view housing as a central component of happiness and a critical aspect of the American dream,” said Elizabeth Dunn, an associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia. “But there is little research to support that.”

Full Story: Homeownership, the Key to Happiness?

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
Book cover of Unsprawl

Unsprawl: Remixing Spaces as Places

Explore visionary, controversial and ultimately successful strategies for building people-centered places.
Starting at $12.95
DVD Cover of The Story of Sprawl

The Story of Sprawl

See how America changed shape in this collection of historic films that visually document how sprawl evolved.
$29.99 for 2-DVD SET