Conservatives are more likely than their liberal cohorts to consider a financially secure retirement to be a touchstone of the American Dream.
Nearly 70 percent of Affluent Americans define the American Dream as “equal opportunity for all people,” according to a new surveyed conducted by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner.
This definition mirrors the concept of the American Dream as envisioned by James Truslow Adams in his 1931 book, “The Epic of America.” The American Dream, he wrote, was “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement… It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”
Even then, more than 80 years ago, Adams acknowledged there that “too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it.” Those concerns have intensified in recent years in the wake of the economic collapse and intensified political partisanship that has shaken the confidence of many Americans that lawmakers could or would work together on their behalf.
But the concept of the American Dream endures among Affluent investors. When asked how they define it, they responded:
- Having sufficient retirement assets (68 percent)
- Educational opportunities (61 percent)
- Future generations will do better than their elders (50 percent)
- Owning a home (49 percent)
- Being able to retire when I want (48 percent)
- Job security (47 percent)
Millionaire respondents were the staunchest advocates of the American Dream as “equal opportunity for all people,” which is consistent with their work ethic. Millionaire Corner high net worth research finds that the wealthiest households put the highest premium on hard work as the primary factor of their financial success.
Affluent respondents who identify themselves as liberal are more likely than their conservative counterparts to define the American Dream as “equal opportunity for all people.” (78 percent vs. 66 percent). They also are more likely to believe that educational opportunity is at the heart of the American Dream (71 percent vs. 60 percent).
Respondents who identify themselves as conservative are more likely than their liberal cohorts to believe that a financially secure retirement is most at the foundation of the American Dream (71 percent vs. 66 percent), as is being able to retire when they want (48 percent vs. 43 percent).
Liberals and conservatives are in rare agreement when it comes to regarding job security as a defining touchstone of the American Dream (49 percent of liberals vs. 48 percent of conservatives).
Across age groups, the highest percentage of those who define the American Dream as being equal opportunity for all people were over the age of 60 (74 percent), while respondents under 40 were slightly more likely than previous generations to define it a being able to do better than their predecessors (53 percent). Seniors, followed by Millennials, believe that educational opportunity defines the American Dream. Not surprisingly, the oldest respondents, too, were most likely to consider a financially secure retirement as a realization of the American Dream (71 percent vs. 58 percent of respondents under 40).
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.