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Financial Worries Dampen the ‘American Dream’

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Financial fears have changed the American dream, according to a new survey from PurePoint Financial.

The PurePoint “State of Savings in America” Research is based on an online survey of 6,001 adults (18 and older). The largest two income groups represented in the survey sample were $25,000 and under (22% of those surveyed) and $50,000 to $74,999 in annual income (18%).

The survey finds that 71% of Americans think the American dream is different today than in the past. Women are more likely to feel the American dream is different compared with men (73% vs 69% respectively).

According to the survey, 64% of Americans view financial success as simply not living paycheck to paycheck.

“They’re  worried about  their savings, they’re  struggling  to get ahead, and what once was the dream of a house, a family and a white  picket fence is now the reality of the struggle to simply keep their heads above water,” the report states.

This grim outlook may be the product of economic and political pressures. Americans’ financial worries stem from multiple angles, the top five being rising health care costs (81%), rising cost of living (78%), uncertainty around the political environment (69%), uncertainty around the state of the economy (68%), and taxes (68%).

In fact, the survey finds that 60% of Americans believe we’re on the brink of another financial crisis. This feeling is more prevalent among women and lower-income Americans.

The survey also finds that these concerns are not translating into improved savings habits.

According to the survey, 1 in 3 Americans save 10% or less of each paycheck, and 4 in 10 Americans are not prioritizing saving at all.

“Americans simply aren’t saving enough, and admittedly most aren’t saving regularly or as much as they could/should,” the report states. “They also have trouble acting on their financial concerns, as we see some large disparities between how concerned they  are about  the  rising costs of health care, cost of living, and the uncertainty around the political environment and economy vs. how much these concerns  actually influence their saving habits.”

While Americans openly admit to being concerned about the future, almost half don’t have money saved in a retirement account, the survey finds.

According to the survey, 64% feel the same or worse about their savings compared with five years ago and half don’t expect to feel better about their savings in five years’ time.

The good news is that about 20% of Americans surveyed are “super savers” who are most likely to set aside a large portion of income regularly for savings, and demonstrate consistent habits that help them successfully save.

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