“The nation’s 42 million freelancers are rewriting the definition of success -- and it has nothing to do with gold watches, but everything to do with time. Success in 2014 is less about wealth than it is about value -- the value of time, community, and well-being.”
- Sara Horowitz, Founder of Freelancers Union
A national survey from The Center for the New American Dream revealed that Americans are increasingly turning away from an economy that is no longer in line with their values.
79.8% of Americans believe that it is more difficult to achieve the American Dream than it was 10 years ago. That number was 64% in 2004.
Why is the American Dream unattainable? 67.2% of respondents think that wages for workers are too low and 58% blame our materialistic culture.
As the perceived availability of the American Dream changes, the definition of that dream itself is shifting to be more about value than about wealth.
78% of survey respondents felt that the new American Dream was about having personal freedom and 71% felt it was about having enough personal time. Only 23% felt the American Dream meant achieving affluence.
In other words, the new American Dream is no longer just about creating a materially sustainable life, it’s about creating meaningful independence -- where “you have the ability to pursue your passions and your dreams, secure in the knowledge that you’re connected to people, groups, and institutions that have your back,” as our founder Sara Horowitz says.
The new American Dream is getting to spend time with your family and in your community, not working 50+ hours a week and getting little pay for a job you don’t enjoy.
This must be a significant factor in the strong rise in the number of people entering the independent workforce, choosing flexibility and fewer working hours, even if it means a pay cut. The study found that 2 in 5 Americans have voluntarily taken steps to reduce the number of hours they work and make less money. 86% of Americans who work less and make less are happy with the change.
Freelancers are at the forefront of the American workforce’s changing value system, and are blazing the trail for a more sustainable, entrepreneurial, worker-focused economy. They understand that we can’t wait for the old American Dream -- we have to build a new one, together.
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