70% of Americans Think It's Harder To Get Rich Now Than It Used To Be

New Bankrate poll shows that Americans are less confident that they and their peers can find wealth in 2010

Jan 13, 2010, 08:00 ET from Bankrate, Inc.

NEW YORK, Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study released by Bankrate, Inc. shows that the majority of Americans think wealth is beyond their reach and that it won't be easier to get rich any time soon.  The poll, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, is included in the new Bankrate Financial Literacy series on How to Prosper, which can be seen here: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/financial-literacy/how-to-prosper.aspx.

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Among the findings:

  • 70 percent of Americans believe that it is more difficult to get rich today than it was in the past;
  • More than half of those surveyed believe it will be even more difficult to get rich in America in the next ten years while  24 percent think it will be about as difficult as it is now;
  • When asked about the likelihood of getting rich personally, one-third of Americans say it's very or somewhat likely they will attain wealth. But 63 percent say it's not too or not at all likely they'll get rich.
  • Only 21 percent of Americans see traditional investment as a feasible route to wealth, with 12 percent who believe investing well in stocks and bonds will provide them with financial freedom and 9 percent who think that investing in real estate is the best way to get rich;
  • Family is the primary motivator for Americans to strive for prosperity as 41 percent of respondents said their reason for wanting wealth is to provide a better life and future for their children and 18 percent said they'd like to be rich to take care of their parents and other family members;
  • Equal numbers of Americans see "job loss or income reduction" or "too many bills and not enough income" as the main obstacles to achieving wealth, with each choice being selected by 27 percent of respondents.  The Credit CARD Act may be a bit too late as 11 percent blamed credit card debt for wealth seeming out of reach;
  • In spite of the respondents' concerns about accumulating wealth, only 52 percent of those polled say that they save consistently;
  • It's not all bleak news, however: 95 percent of Americans say they are taking one or more steps to secure their financial future, with 75 percent saying they have cut back on purchases to save more and 78 percent saying they are avoiding buying "luxury goods or unnecessary items."  

"Many Americans aren't necessarily buying into the country's long-held belief that anyone with a dream can strike it rich," said Julie Bandy, editor in chief at Bankrate.com.  "However, by recognizing that a windfall isn't around the corner for most of us, consumers can begin taking real, actionable steps towards making a brighter financial future.  If you can do things like save consistently and pay down the principal on a mortgage, financial comfort may not be as far away as it seems."

This national random-digit-dialed phone study of 1,003 adults 18 or older was conducted for Bankrate by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. The sample was weighted by demographic factors including age, gender, race, education and census region to ensure reliable and accurate representation of adults in U.S. households. The overall margin of error for the survey is +/- 4 percentage points based on the total sample.

About Bankrate, Inc.

The Bankrate network of companies includes Bankrate.com, Interest.com, Mortgage-calc.com, Nationwide Card Services, Savingforcollege.com, Fee Disclosure, InsureMe CreditCardGuide.com and Bankaholic.  Each of these businesses helps consumers to make informed decisions about their personal finance matters. The company's flagship brand, Bankrate.com is a destination site of personal finance channels, including banking, investing, taxes, debt management and college finance. Bankrate.com is the leading aggregator of rates and other information on more than 300 financial products, including mortgages, credit cards, new and used auto loans, money market accounts and CDs, checking and ATM fees, home equity loans and online banking fees. Bankrate.com reviews more than 4,800 financial institutions in 575 markets in 50 states. In 2008, Bankrate.com had nearly 72 million unique visitors. Bankrate.com provides financial applications and information to a network of more than 75 partners, including Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO), America Online (NYSE: TWX), The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times (NYSE: NYT). Bankrate.com's information is also distributed through more than 500 newspapers.  Bankrate, Inc. was acquired by Apax Partners, one of the world's leading private equity investment groups, in September 2009.  Apax operates across the United States, Europe and Asia and has more than 30 years of investing experience. For more information on Apax, visit: www.Apax.com.

For more information contact:

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SOURCE Bankrate, Inc.