'I've achieved the American Dream'

They may define it differently, but these CNNMoney readers feel they've achieved their American Dream.

Successful career

american dream g don beavers
  • Name: Graten Beavers, 64
  • Hometown: Kearney, Neb.
  • Job: Retired judge

I feel I've achieved the American Dream through hard work, education, family support and a bit of good luck.

I grew up in a small town in Nebraska of about 800 people, attended the University of Nebraska for college and law school and was commissioned in the Army through ROTC.

I was successful in two parallel professions simultaneously -- as a practicing lawyer and as a lawyer in the Army Reserve. I became a trial judge 23 years ago, and shortly after that, became a military judge in the Army Reserve.

I recently retired at age 64 after serving as a senior military judge with the rank of colonel. I have two pensions, one from the state and the other from the Army Reserve, which includes medical insurance through Tricare until I take Medicare and then will provide supplemental health insurance.

I've saved and invested over the years, which I will not have to draw from unless I want to because of the pensions. I've had no debt for almost 10 years, including on my house and a rental house I own with a brother. I do not intend to take Social Security until at least my full retirement age and probably close to 70.

I have two grown kids who are each married with graduate degrees and doing well, along with five grandkids. I'm in good health, having run my best time in six tries at the BolderBoulder 10K race and second best time in a half marathon (recently).

- Last updated August 05 2014 03:00 PM ET