San Francisco, CA | July 8, 2014
Being out of debt and retiring financially secure represent the American Dream for a majority of Americans, and most are optimistic that they can achieve it, according to the 2014 Credit.com American Dream Survey. Retiring financially secure at age 65 represents the ultimate American dream for 36% of those surveyed, while getting out of debt came in at a close second, with 25% of respondents choosing it as their definition of the “American Dream.”
The majority of survey respondents are optimistic about their ability to achieve their version of the American Dream, with 16% saying they have already achieved it and another 50% indicating it is within their reach. Only 24% say it is it not within their reach.
But when asked if they believe the American Dream is within reach for most Americans, in other words “other people,” the large majority – 68% – say they don’t believe it is. This is the second year this trend – optimism about one’s own future and pessimism about others’ – has been observed. In a similar survey commissioned by Credit.com in 2013, 55% of those surveyed said the American Dream is not within reach for most others.
“The American Dream appears to now be about getting out of debt and getting to retirement age with a sense of financial security,” says Adam Levin, Co-Founder & Chairman of Credit.com. “And the sense is that the next generation will find it even harder to get there.”
Other significant findings from the survey include:
Millennials – those age 18-29 – define the American Dream a little differently than do older Americans. Being debt-free is still a priority for many, with one in five (19%) choosing that option. Just a slightly larger number of millennials (20%) say it is retiring financially secure at age 65. An almost equal number (22%), however, say it is owning a home and 13% have education-related goals in mind, with 7% saying their dream is to graduate from college, and 6% saying the Dream means paying off their student loans.
Of note, those over age 30 are more pessimistic about millennials’ ability to achieve the American Dream than those in that age group are themselves. When asked “Do you think millennials will ever realize the American Dream?” fewer than one third of respondents over the age of 29 (30%) said they believe these consumers will be able to do so, and 40% responded “no.”
But fully 57% of those age 18 – 29 say the “American Dream” as they define it is within their reach and 5% have already achieved it. Only 21% say it is beyond their reach.
More data is available on all segments, including renters, homeowners, the unemployed, millennials and those with student loan debt.
About the Survey
The 2014 Credit.com American Dream Survey was based on a survey of 1,094 U.S. consumers, 18+, using Survey Monkey Audience, June 19 – 23, 2014. Margin of error was +/- 3%.
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