Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 15

PRACTICE SPECIALTIES

MANAGING YOUR PRACTICE
By Ayo Mseka

The New American Dream
Happiness and security are now valued more considerably than wealth,
opportunity and moving up in one's social class.

T

he American Dream may
be alive and well for many
Americans, but their
perceptions of it may have changed.
According to research released by
Northwestern Mutual, two-thirds
(66%) of U.S. adults believe they
can attain "the American Dream,"
and only 16 percent feel it is out
of reach.
However, the study revealed
some interesting nuances about how
perceptions of the American Dream
have changed - and not just from
one generation to the other. A third
(31%) of the Americans who were
surveyed said their definition of
the American Dream has changed
in just the last five years, and more
than half (57%) said their view is
different from that of their parents.
This is the first set of findings
from the 2016 Northwestern
Mutual Planning & Progress
Study, an annual research project
commissioned by Northwestern
Mutual that explores Americans'
attitudes and behaviors toward
money, financial decision-making
and the broader landscape issues
impacting people's long-term
financial security. The research was
conducted in February of this year
by Harris, polling more than 2,000
U.S. adults aged 18 and older.

Happiness takes center stage
In today's view of the American
Dream, happiness and security
are valued considerably more than
wealth, opportunity and moving
up in one's social class. When
asked about the most defining
characteristics of the American
Dream today, the top two
answers were:
* "Having a happy family life" (59%)
* "Being financially secure" (58%)
This far outweighed some of
the more traditional notions of the

"The white
picket
fence is still
important,
but today,
Americans
seem to care
more about
what's going
on inside
the house."
Rebekah
Barsch,
Northwestern
Mutual
American Dream, such as:
* "Having more opportunities than
my parents' generation" (18%)
* "Having wealth/making a lot of
money" (11%)
* "Moving up in social class" (3%)
Interestingly, three-quarters of the
Americans surveyed (74%) said they
would not exchange the lifestyle and
financial situation they have today
for what their parents had when they
were the same age.
"The goal today seems to be
more about outcomes - happiness,
security and peace of mind
rather than material wealth or
the opportunity to advance," said
Rebekah Barsch, vice president of
planning and sales at Northwestern
Mutual. "The white picket fence is
still important, but today Americans
seem to care more about what's going
on inside the house."
A sense of financial insecurity
While long-term optimism for the
attainability of the American Dream
is positive, there is also considerable
evidence showing that many people

do not feel financially secure in the
present and are not bringing high
levels of discipline to their financial
planning. The study found:
* Nearly a third of U.S. adults (29%)
said they do not feel financially
secure.
* Only one in five (21%) Americans
consider themselves to be "highly
disciplined" financial planners.
* A third (34%) consider themselves
"disciplined" planners.
* Another third (33%) consider
themselves "informal."
* More than one in ten (12%) "do not
plan at all" and "have not set any
financial goals."
"Financial security has emerged
as the very pillar of the American
Dream today, and a distinct catalyst
toward leading a happy life. But
there's a disconnect between how
the relatively small steps of solid
planning and strong discipline can
lead to big strides toward achieving
that American Dream," said Barsch.
"Optimism is great, but it needs to
be backed up with consistent
action."
November/December 2016 | ADVISOR TODAY 15



Advisor Today - November/December 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Advisor Today - November/December 2016

FROM THE EDITOR
VIEWPOINT
NEW PRODUCTS
I Love My Job, But I Don’t Want to Do it Forever!
Building a Practice You Love
The New American Dream
A New View of Retirement
College Education Funding: Helping Clients Evaluate What’s Best
Portfolio Allocations for New Market Conditions
Leveraging the Power of Study Groups
An Interview with MassMutual’s James Ocampo on Critical Illness Insurance
Start with “Why”
Best Practices for Selling Group LTCI
From Yes to Success
Meet NAIFA’s New President
NAIFA’s 2016 Performance + Purpose Conference
NAIFA GOVERNMENT RELATIONS
4 Ways to Build an Effective Email Marketing System
ADVERTISER INDEX
BACK PAGE
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - cover1
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - cover2
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 1
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 2
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 3
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 4
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 5
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 6
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 7
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - FROM THE EDITOR
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 9
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - VIEWPOINT
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - NEW PRODUCTS
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 12
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - I Love My Job, But I Don’t Want to Do it Forever!
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - Building a Practice You Love
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - The New American Dream
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - A New View of Retirement
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - College Education Funding: Helping Clients Evaluate What’s Best
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 18
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - Portfolio Allocations for New Market Conditions
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 20
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - Leveraging the Power of Study Groups
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 22
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 23
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - An Interview with MassMutual’s James Ocampo on Critical Illness Insurance
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 25
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - Start with “Why”
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 27
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - Best Practices for Selling Group LTCI
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 29
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - From Yes to Success
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 31
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - Meet NAIFA’s New President
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 33
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 34
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 35
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 36
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 37
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - NAIFA’s 2016 Performance + Purpose Conference
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 39
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 40
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 41
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 42
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 43
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 44
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - NAIFA GOVERNMENT RELATIONS
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - 4 Ways to Build an Effective Email Marketing System
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - ADVERTISER INDEX
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - BACK PAGE
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - cover3
Advisor Today - November/December 2016 - cover4
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