For many Americans, owning more than $200,000 in investment assets is a dream they'll likely never achieve, but for those who have achieved it, they still don't believe their American Dream is attainable.
Dan Primack writes in this op-ed for Fortune that this is why the American Dream is dead - if the rich reject the notion that they've achieved it, how can anyone else ever achieve it?
These realizations come from a Legg Mason survey of investors owning more than $200,000 in investment assets. When asked if they believe the American Dream is attainable, 55% responded that it is no longer within reach, and only 23% strongly agreed that they are living proof of its existence.
Remember, these people are prosperous, by almost any relative measure of global or American life in 2016. Their $200,000 isn’t an annual salary. It’s the amount of cash sitting in bank accounts or investments that are designed to appreciate in value. It doesn’t even include the value of their home, or even their second or third. (Legg Mason excluded vacation properties.) It’s income after tax, mortgage payments, and literally every other past expense. There should be little worry about where the next meal, or next lifetime of meals, is coming from. If the car dies, these survey respondents can afford to immediately buy another one without the help of a financing plan (save for the event of an unexpected medical disaster or macro economic meltdown).
But they don’t feel rich. And before you tell me that $200,000 doesn’t go as far as it used to, particularly in certain cities, please realize that only 36% of those with at least $1 million in investible assets “strongly agreed” that they had attained the American Dream.