The elusive American Dream is being redefined by many who no longer feel that owning a home is the symbol of ultimate achievement. So what's the ultimate goal for most Americans? A Credit.com survey revealed that most respondents (27.9%) said the American Dream is retiring financially secure at age 65. In second place, 23% described the American Dream as being debt-free. Other responses included:
- • Owning a home (18.2%)
- • Graduating college/paying off student loans (6.6%)
- • Joining the 1% (4.3%)
The fact that owning a home is not priority number one is pretty telling. Plus, home ownership among American has dropped to 65% according to an Interest.com study. It's not a huge surprise, as increased home prices make it difficult for many to afford the cost of owning.
Gen Y Choose Leasing
According to a February study by Pew Research, younger adults are focusing on eliminating debt rather than purchasing homes and cars. In fact, in 2011 53 out of every 1,000 eligible young adult renters became a home owner, compared to 85 out of 1,000 10 years earlier. This has led many young professionals to move to the city to be closer to public transportation and jobs. Young people are also hopping between jobs, meaning that leasing is the best option for a changing job market. The fact is, younger adults are faced with rising student debt, which makes home ownership an unrealistic option.
Seniors Can't Afford Homes
Older Americans are at risk of economic hardship, making it difficult to own a home later in life, especially when retiring on time is a goal. According to a recent Property Management Insider article, 30% of senior home owners spent approximately 30% of their income on housing, while over 17% pay at least half their income. Plus, they have to deal with rising energy and tax costs.
The survey also revealed the following:
- • Respondents between the ages of 18 and 24 were most likely to define
the American Dream as being debt-free and least likely to define it as
joining the 1% or retiring financially secure at 65.
- • Americans 65 and older were mostly likely to name retirement as the
- •The survey also asked people to identify their top short-term financial goal,
meaning they hoped to address it in the next two years. A quarter of
Americans aimed to be debt-free it was the most popular choice among all
age groups and all income levels.
- • Among all age groups surveyed, 18- to 24-year-olds were most likely to
name buying a car or paying off an auto loan as a top priority, and they
were least likely to prioritize paying off credit card debt.
So while some Americans would still love to own a home, many are more satisfied with a comfortable lease and no debt.