A recent study by MetLife has found that South Asian Americans have shown a slight shift in their hypothesis of the American Dream. Less traditional and more flexible ideologies about finances, home ownership, marriage, family, and education are emerging, not unlike most Americans. But South Asian Americans still remain more confident than most Americans about achieving the Dream, says the MetLife study. The study also uncovers a shift in the South Asian American cognizance of an adequate financial safety net, but has shown that regardless of a more disgruntled financial outlook, the Asian American financial security remains well above the Americans overall.
“Times are tough, but people are adapting and pursuing their own version of the Dream,” said Devang Patel, a certified financial planner with Patel Financial Group, an office of MetLife. “We’re here to help South Asian Americans get back on track. “The good news is that, like Americans overall, South Asian Americans can take small steps to rebuild their safety nets and regain their confidence by being proactive. That safety net includes savings to cover living expenses for up to 6 – 12 months in case of illness or loss of jobs or other serious emergencies. We also discuss investments. Some people put money into real estate or the stock market, so we talk about the risks involved. South Asians are very good savers. But with the strong ties to family comes the added responsibility of taking care of elderly parents and educating children, so extra funds are always required,” said Patel, who has worked with MetLife for the past eight years. Based in New York, his primary clientele are South Asian Americans mostly from the medical field or in business.
The 2011 MetLife Study, is the fifth annual report of its kind by the leading global provider of insurance, annuities, and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers in over 50 countries. It revealed that South Asian Americans are having the most success achieving the American Dream. Forty-one percent say they have achieved the Dream, compared with just over a third (34%) of all Americans, and among South Asian Americans who haven’t yet achieved the Dream, 8 in 10 think it is possible. The study reveals that like most Americans, South Asian Americans no longer place importance on many traditional elements of the Dream: 67% and 66% respectively say marriage and children are not essential and 58% say you don’t have to own a home to achieve the Dream. However, while a majority of Americans (65%) say a college education is no longer important, only 47% of South Asian Americans agree. Education is still key in their version of the American Dream.
Material wealth, once symbolic of achievement, has waned significantly among most Americans, but continues to be a priority among South Asian Americans. More than a quarter (28%) of South Asian Americans say that recent economic events have reinforced the importance of material possessions and their career over their family and personal life, compared to just 13% of the overall population. More South Asian Americans also believe they need to exceed their parents’ standard of living to achieve the Dream. South Asian Americans are passionate in their pursuit of the American Dream. To make their Dream a reality, almost three quarters (74%) would consider moving into a less expensive home and 71% are willing to relocate to another part of the country to sustain or achieve the American Dream. This compares to 64% and 57% of Americans overall, respectively. Forty one percent of South Asian Americans are willing to take a job for which they are overqualified and 33% would get additional job training.
For more information visit www.metlife.com.