Aaron Leichner, 28
I know it's 'old school,' but I still think of the American Dream as that post-WWII version of the suburban family, home ownership, apple pie and baseball.
My dad died of skin cancer when I was only 15, and it did a lot of things to me. It made me angry, but it also made me acutely aware of my mortality and that life is short. For that reason, I wanted to accomplish my dream early and quickly.
Now, the 'dream' is very much alive for me. And quite honestly, it all has to do with making wise financial choices when I was younger.
I knew college debt and student loans were really bogging down our generation, so while I was studying in college, I decided to stay at home and work at least 30 hours a week at a local bank that offered tuition reimbursement.
I am a teacher, and my wife Sage, 26 is a hair stylist. We've been married five years and we have a 3-year-old son and a brand new baby. We live in a beautiful home in a wonderful neighborhood.
I know this life is partly possible because the cost of living in this part of the country is extremely low, but I also think my peers are capable of achieving it too -- I'm just not so sure that's the popular goal anymore. My friends are living their own versions of the dream, and that's fine too.
NEXT: Dreaming of... owning her own business