The End of the American Dream?


A new survey conducted on behalf of the National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®) by Harris Poll finds that 50 percent of American adults say the top financial goal that is most important for them to achieve in their lifetime is having enough money for retirement.

In fact, the percentage of people who cite having enough money for retirement as their top financial goal is on the rise since the recession. In 2011, when NEFE asked American adults the same question, 47 percent said having enough money for retirement was their top financial goal. The American Dream has long been associated with the gratification and security of a comfortable home within the picturesque borders of a white-picket fence. However, today the perceived importance of homeownership appears to be waning. In 2011, 17 percent said homeownership was their most-important financial goal, compared to just 13 percent in the latest findings.

“People are more in tune with the importance of saving for their retirement years,” says Ted Beck, president and CEO of NEFE. “Economic recovery is inching forward yet many individuals and families still are experiencing difficulty getting back on track. Americans seem to be finding reassurance in more long-term financial-security-based values rather than material values.”

The 2014 online survey of 2,025 U.S. adults ages 18 and older asks respondents to consider their financial goals and the challenges of meeting those objectives. In thinking about their own financial situations, three in five (60 percent) feel they are achieving the “American Dream,” compared to 57 percent in 2011. But there are barriers that limit people from reaching their goals, with 63 percent citing the inability to save enough as an obstacle (compared to 70 percent in 2011) and 47 percent stating that managing debt is a hindrance (compared to 54 percent in 2011).

For tips, resources and information on how to achieve your financial goals, visit

Take the LifeValues Quiz
Understanding your financial values is one key to success in managing your money. NEFE’s LifeValues Quiz helps people identify the values that drive their financial decisions. To learn more and to take the quiz, visit

Survey Methodology
The 2014 survey was conducted online by Harris Poll® on behalf of NEFE from April 7-9, 2014, via its QuickQuerySM online omnibus service, interviewing 2,025 U.S. adults aged 18+. The 2011 survey was conducted online from June 28-30, 2011, interviewing 2,257 U.S. adults aged 18+. Data were weighted using propensity score weighting to be representative of the total U.S. adult population on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, race/ethnicity, and propensity to be online. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available. For complete survey methodology, click here.

About the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE)
NEFE is a nonprofit foundation that inspires empowered financial decision making for individuals and families through every stage of life. For more information, visit

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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