Nearly eight-in-ten Affluent households believe that the American Dream is harder to achieve now than in the past.
Achieving the American Dream isn’t easy. It takes hard work, vision and perseverance. But while opportunity is at the heart of this ideal, some see obstacles to attaining “the fullest stature of which they are innately capable,” as James Truslow Adams wrote in 1931. Nearly eight-in-ten believe that it is harder now to obtain than in the past, according to a new Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner survey of Affluent households.
The current partisan political climate and resulting government gridlock is considered by the highest percentage of Affluent households surveyed (71 percent) to be the biggest obstacle to achieving the American Dream.
The political climate and government gridlock and are very real concerns among Affluent investors, according to 2014 Millionaire Corner wealth level studies. Millionaire investors with a net worth up to $4.9 million express more concern about the political climate (84 percent) than they do the prolonged economic downturn (80 percent), the national debt (76 percent) and stock market performance (69 percent). They are equally concerned about government gridlock (85 percent)
high net worth investorswith a net worth between $5 million and $24.9 million (88 percent). But dissatisfaction with government gridlock is not limited to Millionaires. It is of paramount concern to a substantial majority (81 percent) of non-Millionaires with a net worth of at least $100,000, while 79 percent report being concerned about the political environment.
Affluent households rank education second only to hard work as the primary wealth creation factor. A 2013 Millionaire Corner survey found that nine-in-ten affluent respondents credit their college education as a contributor to their success, while 84 percent said they believe a college education is necessary in today’s workplace.
But in Millionaire Corner’s new survey, nearly half (46 percent) of Affluent respondents believe escalating educational costs are an impediment to achieving the American Dream. Student loan debt in America now exceeds $1 trillion and the burden is forcing many Millennials to delay such adult rites of passage as buying a home, marrying and starting a family.
Four-in-ten cite international concerns as among the obstacles to achieving the American Dream. This response is no doubt a response to escalating tensions around the world in Ukraine and the Middle East, especially. Nearly half of respondents to a Millionaire Corner survey last month indicated the international developments were the news stories having the biggest impact on their economic outlook.
Affluent respondents also consider career concerns in their pursuit of the American Dream. Nearly three-in-ten cite their present job security as an obstacle to achieving their goals, followed by 24 percent who referenced career opportunities.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.