How the American Dream is changing: MassMutual's State of the American Family Study

The American Dream: owning your own home
I participated in an Influencer Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for MassMutual. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating.

My husband and I came to the US from different countries, and together we've built a great life for ourselves and our family. We are financially independent and own our own house, and we do believe that this would have been almost impossible if we lived anywhere else! We strongly believe in the American Dream -- the concept of being financially independent and being able to improve your life, no matter where you started.  We believe in the promise of opportunity for everyone -- but we know it takes hard work and planning. As good as we have it, there is still one thing that we want -- to give our kids a better life than we had. Our kids will be entering college in less than a decade, and those high tuitions are looming in front of us, so we need to keep working and planning.  If we can get our kids into college while keeping a roof over our heads, as far as I'm concerned, we'll be living the American Dream.

What does the American Dream mean to you?  Do you think the American Dream is still achievable MassMutual, a leading mutual life insurance company, conducted its third biennial State of the American Family Study, which offers a broad snapshot of American families’ financial views. The study found that while confidence in the American Dream may be declining, Americans’ financial satisfaction is on the rise. In fact, nearly three in ten (27 percent) American families are satisfied with their current financial situation, up from 18 percent in 2009.

Here are a few key pieces of information from the study that really resonated with me:
American families hold four core values when it comes to their finances:

1. Putting family first;
2. Being actively involved in household financial decisions;
3. Educating children about money; and
4. Making sure that children aren't burdened by parents' care as they age.

These core values emerged regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

See, we really are more alike than we realize!  Red state, blue state, liberal, conservative, white, black, whatever, we all care about our families and want to do what's best for them.

Preparing the next generation for financial success is a key priority: 
Families recognize the importance of teaching their children about money and finances at an early age. Close to three in four (72 percent) respondents feel that it is important to educate children on finances to ensure a strong economy in the future, and half (49 percent) of families are actively involved in educating their children about money management.

We try to teach our children to manage money responsibly through chores and allowances, but also by example.  We never spend more than we can afford and we save for a rainy day.

The definition of the American Dream itself appears to be in flux. 
While older respondents hold close to its traditional definitions—78 percent of older Boomers consider home ownership a key component and 80 percent consider financial independence an equally important element—younger respondents show notably less engagement with these historic benchmarks for financial achievement, instead focusing on developing a monthly budget, suggesting views around financial satisfaction are undergoing fundamental shifts

These and other findings are available on MassMutual's State of the American Family survey.


In my opinion, the best news coming from this study is that American families have become more involved in their finances.  I think it's great that families are identifying their priorities and taking steps to achieve them.  The American Dream may mean different things for each family and each generation, but everyone is still working hard to achieve it -- and that's where MassMutual can help.  They're not just the company that commissioned the study, they're also a company that can help families take control of their future and achieve their American Dream.  They offer a variety of products and services to help you do the following:

Protect Your Family
Save for Retirement
Saving for College
Educate Your Children about Money

Check out MassMutual's Family Finances page for more information.  It's never to early to start planning and preparing for your future!

Disclosure: I participated in an Influencer Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for MassMutual. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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