American Dream Redefined as Savings Rate Skids

'Financial success' now not living paycheck-to-paycheck

401k, retirement, financial wellness, American dreamIs the Dream looking a bit weathered?

Americans are showing a significant shift in how they define the American Dream as the U.S. savings rate drops to a five-year low.

A new national survey from PurePoint Financial finds that 71 percent of respondents feel the American Dream has changed, and the majority (64 percent) say they define financial success as simply not living paycheck-to-paycheck.

The results further show uncertainty around the state of the economy, rising living and healthcare costs, and the political climate are the primary factors driving Americans’ pessimistic outlook on their financial future.

Only one in four Americans feel it’s easier to get ahead today versus five years ago, and half don’t expect to feel better about their savings five years from today.

Americans feel unprepared, but fears aren’t motivating them to change bad financial habits

The research also shows many Americans are failing to convert their concerns into better habits when it comes to financial decision-making and preparing for the future.

  • One in three Americans saves 10 percent or less of each paycheck.
  • While Americans openly admit to being concerned about the future, almost half don’t have money saved in a retirement account.
  • Although digital and mobile banking is becoming more widespread, Americans aren’t taking advantage of apps that can help them make smarter financial choices—just seven percent of Americans use a savings-specific app.

Americans are more comfortable discussing religion and politics with family than finances

The greatest point of tension across the U.S. appears when discussing finances with their families—even though they expect parents to be the primary teachers of financial education to future generations.

  • While an overwhelming number of people (87 percent) say they think parents are responsible for teaching children about saving, only half (51 percent) of Americans say their own parents taught them financial and savings skills.
  • Many Americans (42 percent) said they ultimately rely on themselves to learn as best they can.

A group of American ‘super savers’ have cracked the code on savings habits

About 20 percent of Americans surveyed are “super savers” who are most likely to set aside a large portion of income regularly for savings and demonstrate consistent habits that help them successfully save.

  • Super savers are more optimistic about the future than other Americans
  • They make saving a routine: 40 percent pre-determine an amount that is automatically deposited into savings from each paycheck they receive.

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