Over two-thirds of boomers feel that financial security is the American dream, according to a recent study by MetLife, up from 60% in 2006. Just 34%, though, say they have “achieved the dream” this year, down from 2008 and 2009 when 40% of boomers said they had.
Not only are fewer boomers financially stable, but their confidence that they ever will be is slipping, too, down 6 percentage points from 2009 to 53%. Eighty percent of boomers say their families face more risk now they did in the past.
While 67 percent of boomers equated financial security with the American dream, 46 percent said a comfortable retirement was an important part. One-third said they equated the American dream with home ownership, and just 17 percent said to them, the dream meant having a successful career. Family (54%) and marriage (31%) are also a large part of the dream for boomers.
The study asked boomers if they feel the “bar is constantly rising in terms of the basic necessities of life” or if the basic necessities in their lives “will always remain constant.” In April 2010, 58 percent of boomers agreed that the bar is constantly rising, up from the January 2009 study when boomers were evenly split between struggling to keep up and having everything they need.
Over one-third of Americans feel like they don’t have an adequate safety net, but boomers are most likely to say they haven’t saved enough. Silents are by far the most confident (49% feel they’ve saved enough), but nearly three-quarters of boomers say they haven’t saved enough, down just one percentage point from January 2009. Almost all (97%) say they are somewhat or very troubled by this. Even more troubling, 35% of boomers say they don’t think they’ll ever have an adequate safety net.
A good safety net, according to MetLife’s past polls, would include a whole gamut of insurance products including automobile insurance, health insurance, life insurance, and homeowners insurance, as well as retirement savings and a sufficient cash cushion. While 49% of boomers have given another family member money to meet expenses, 29% have taken money from someone else to pay their own bills.
MetLife polled 1,402 Americans for the survey, 472 of whom were boomers. The survey was conducted April 14-21, 2010 by Strategy First Partners and Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates.