SAN FRANCISCO (7/14/14)--A financially secure retirement and freedom from debt are more representative of the American dream than the house with a white picket fence, according to the 2014 Credit.com American Dream Survey.
Thirty-six percent of respondents said retiring at 65--and being financially secure when they do so--is the ultimate American dream. A quarter said getting out of debt was their goal.
Though the majority of respondents were optimistic about their ability to reach their vision of the American dream--16% said they've hit their goal and another 50% say it's within their reach--nearly 70% say they don't believe "other people" will be able to achieve their own version of the American dream.
Credit.com reported that this is the second year that people are more optimistic about their own future than that of others. The survey polled 1,094 U.S. consumers age 18 and older.
"The American dream appears to now be about getting out of debt and getting to retirement age with a sense of financial security," said Adam Levin, credit.com co-founder/chairman. "And the sense is that the next generation will find it even harder to get there."
Other definitions of the American dream are owning a home (17%), joining the "1 percent," (5%), graduating from college (3%) and paying off student loans (2%).
The definition shifts with age, however. For those 18 to 29 years old, owning a home was the most popular definition at 22%, followed closely by retirement under financially secure circumstances (20%) and living debt free (19%).
The debt-free goal is a challenge for those with student loan debt. Nearly one-third of those who carry outstanding student loans were most likely to say it was not very or not at all likely that they would be debt-free in their lifetimes.