TD Ameritrade released a survey last week looking into how Americans define financial success. More than a third of the respondents (39%) said they define it by being debt-free. Another 29% said that financial success is being able to save money and pay for long-term goals like education and retirement.

Now, there are two ways we can view these results. The first way is positively: Maybe, just maybe, we Americans are actually much more fiscally responsible than we thought. Could it be that all this time we weren’t buying homes we couldn’t afford, or taking vacations we shouldn’t take, but really just pinching pennies and spending only on things that are important? To quote Brett Ashley’s famous last line in The Sun Also Rises: “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”

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