A majority of Affluent Americans believe that those currently striving to achieve the American Dream have it tougher than previous generations.
A majority of Affluent Americans surveyed by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner define the American Dream has equal opportunity for all, having a financially-secure retirement, educational opportunities and the prospect of becoming better off than previous generations. It’s an ideal first articulated in 1931 by James Truslow Adams, who, in his book, “The Epic of America,” envisioned a “a better and richer and fuller” life for everyone, “with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.”
The Dream is at the foundation of the American experience, but in recent years, it is perceived to be either out of date or out of reach for many. Nearly eight-in-ten Affluent households surveyed by Millionaire Corner either “strongly agree” or “agree” that the American Dream is harder to obtain now than in the past.”
Not that Affluent Americans object to hard. In 2014 Millionaire Corner wealth level studies, Millionaires put the highest premium on hard work as the primary wealth creation factor. To quote Tom Hanks’ other memorable line from “A League of Their Own,”: “It’s supposed to be hard…the hard is what makes it great.”
But in facing obstacles ranging from educational costs and job security to government gridlock, Affluent Americans believe that those currently striving to achieve the American Dream have it tougher than previous generations.
Seventy-eight percent of Affluent respondents overall believe that the American Dream is harder to obtain now than in the past. Among those most likely to share this attitude are business owners (81 percent), those who identify themselves as Democrats (81 percent), and those who identify their risk tolerance as conservative (82 percent).
The degree of difficulty in achieving the American Dream is equally acknowledged by segments normally not in alignment. Surprisingly, an equal percentage of men and women (78 percent) either strongly agree or agree that the American Dream is harder to obtain now. Those who identify themselves as liberal or conservative on social issues as well as fiscal issues, too, share this attitude toward the American Dream. (81 percent and 78 percent, respectively).
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.