Land of the financially free? Not according to most Americans

Money is one of the most worried-about things, especially with squeezed household finances, and the dream for most people is to be financially free. But most Americans are not achieving it.

Just 1 in 10 respondents to a new survey said that they are living financially free as they see it. And that doesn’t mean ‘being rich’ with just 12% stating that as their definition of financial freedom.

“We’re seeing far fewer Americans with the goal of becoming ‘rich’ and many families pivoting to just trying to be able to pay their bills on time. With all of the economic pressures facing American families, financial freedom is currently more about making ends meet,” said Brad Stroh, co-founder and co-CEO of Achieve, the firm that carried out the study. “Reaching financial stability is particularly challenging for consumers living with debt.”

Being debt free is the top priority across all age groups (54% overall), but other commonly cited definitions of being financially free among respondents are:

  • Living comfortably, but not necessarily being rich: 50%
  • The ability to regularly meet all of their financial obligations and still have some money left over each month: 49%
  • Never having to worry about money: 46%
  • Having enough money to give up working: 32%

Baby Boomers (14.8%) are the generation most likely to be living their definition of financial freedom, compared to Gex X (8.3%), Millennials (9.3%), and Gen Z 12.3%.

However, 48% of poll participants said they are not even close to achieving their flavor of financial freedom with 40% not even having a basic savings account and 36% of those who do having less than $1000 saved.

Only 33% of respondents reported having an IRA/401(k) retirement account and just 41% said that they are very confident they will be financially secure once they retire including 34% of Boomers and 35% of Gen Xers.

Overall, more people are optimistic that their journey to financial freedom is improving (52%) compared to those who say it’s getting worse (37%)

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