Majority Think Financial Security Is Unattainable

Paying down debt is a higher priority for survey respondents than saving.

While 82% of Americans describe the American Dream as financial security for themselves and their family, 54% think it is unattainable, MassMutual learned in a survey. Seventy-one percent describe the American Dream as achieving financial independence.

“Americans believe financial security is at the core of the American Dream, but it is alarming that so many think it is beyond their reach,” says Mike Fanning, head of MassMutual U.S. “It is clear people are taking steps to help secure their financial future and dreams, and more can be done to help keep the American Dream alive. Starting [to save] earlier appears to be part of the solution, as ‘not starting early enough’ was the top financial regret across all consumer groups.”

Those surveyed have an average household income of $122,626. Eighty-two percent are confident about paying bills and budgeting, and 74% are confident in their ability to purchase big-ticket items.

Sixty-four have a mortgage that averages $188,795. Fifty-six percent are carrying credit card debt that averages $10,386, and 26% have student loan debt averaging $39,903.

To help solve their debt problems, 70% are prioritizing paying down debt. Other financial priorities include saving as much as possible (66%) and developing a detailed financial plan (61%).

When it comes to emergency savings, 8% have nothing saved in the event of an emergency. Eighteen percent have less than one month of expenses saved, 26% have between one and three months of expenses saved, and 21% have three to six months of expenses saved in the event of an emergency.

Isobar conducted the online survey for MassMutual among 3,235 people between January 19 and February 7, 2018.