May 17, 2022

Is Achieving “The American Dream Life” Still Possible?

The wealth and living standards of the average American remains the envy of much of the world.   Most of us own a home, 91% of Americans have at least one car, our work force is highly educated, household median income is $50,000 per year and only 15% of Americans live below the poverty line.

Despite the financial crisis of 2008, the massive destruction of wealth brought on by the housing crash, a slow job market and stagnating incomes, Americans remain remarkable optimistic about their future.  According to a Pew Trust research poll, 31% of Americans say they have achieved the American Dream and 37% are convinced that they will achieve the American Dream in the future.

How realistic such optimism is remains to be seen, with many indicators suggesting that the middle class of America is being gutted by higher prices, fewer job opportunities, lower incomes, higher taxes and an oppressive level of governmental oversight and regulation.  Those who prudently worked and saved for retirement are being rewarded with zero interest rates on their savings and periodic stock market crashes that decimate the value of retirement portfolios.

The optimistic viewpoint of most Americans may be unrealistic after considering the massive amounts of debt incurred by both consumers and government.  Was the post World War II economic miracle of American wealth creation a mere illusion built upon the shaky foundation of unlimited credit expansion?  Dismissing such a question is no longer possible as we watch much of Europe sliding into depression as a result of insolvency by both banks and sovereign governments.

How does your financial standing measure up to the American Dream?  The infographic below from visual.ly provides a summary of the average American’s view of the future, the status of home and car ownership and educational and income levels.

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