Say Goodbye to the Picket Fence; “Peace of Mind” is the New American Dream

Fifth Third Bank Survey Reveals Americans’ Top Financial Goals

CINCINNATI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Gone are the days of defining the American Dream as a two-story home
surrounded by a white picket fence. Today, more Americans value peace of
mind than homeownership.

In fact, in a recent YouGov
study commissioned by Fifth
Third Bank
(NASDAQ: FITB), only 15 percent of Americans identified
buying a home as one of their top three financial goals. Instead, the
survey found top financial priorities include paying off debt (43%),
saving for an emergency (41%) and having a retirement plan (28%). Even
among non-homeowners, establishing peace of mind through saving for an
emergency (41%) and paying off debt (38%) is a more significant
financial target than homeownership (21%).

But despite redefining financial security as the New American Dream,
Americans aren’t making progress. Approximately 25 percent report they
aren’t contributing to their savings. And among low-income Americans1,
rates are even worse: 39 percent aren’t saving at all.

What’s Standing in the Way

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income rose in
2016 to $56,516, while the poverty rate decreased by 3.5 million people
to 13.5 percent, the lowest it has been since 1999. But this economic
upswing didn’t translate to peace of mind for most Americans; 73 percent
cited at least one roadblock to financial security. The three most
common include:

  1. Not making enough money to be able to save for emergencies (39%)
  2. Not making enough money to be able to save for themselves (38%)
  3. Having too much debt (24%)

“The results of this survey give new insight into the opportunities and
obstacles Americans face when it comes to their finances,” said Brian
Lamb, executive vice president and chief corporate social responsibility
and reputation officer for Fifth Third Bank, who analyzed the results of
the survey. “With nearly three in four Americans hindered from financial
security, it is important we commit ourselves to improving the financial
quality of life for consumers in the communities we serve.”

In addition to fear of debt – which Lamb attributes to vestiges of the
2008 financial crisis – the YouGov survey indicated financial knowledge
may stand in the way of the American Dream… or may at least have a hand
in redefining it. Approximately 44 percent of all Americans did not take
any kind of financial
courses in high school or college, even though nearly
three in five (54%) of those who did found the information helpful in
managing their finances today.

“These survey results underscore something Fifth Third has known for a
while: consumers are struggling to reach their financial objectives,”
said Byna Elliott, senior vice president and director of Community &
Economic Development. “That’s something we really need to change. We can
do better.”

What Can Be Done – Today

In November 2016, Fifth Third Bank committed $30 billion over four years
to lending, investments and community development in low- and
moderate-income communities within the Bank’s 10-state geographic
footprint – including a significant investment in financial education
for individuals at all ages and stages of life. The Bank’s L.I.F.E. (Lives
Improved Through Financial Empowerment®
) platform offers financial
education programs for everyone from fifth graders to adults, at no cost.

“There are three things an individual can do today to start to achieve
the New American Dream of financial security: plan ahead, seek out
savings and automate the process,” said Lamb.

  1. Plan ahead: Owning a home doesn’t have to be your dream, but
    decide what it is, and create a budget to support your goals. If
    creating a budget sounds like a daunting task, try using a financial
  2. Seek out savings: Consider expenses you could adjust to save
    some extra money. Can you refinance your mortgage? Ask for a premium
    review from your insurance provider? Dine out less frequently?
  3. Automate the process: Automatically deduct savings from your
    income, and you likely won’t even know it’s gone.

For more information about Fifth Third Bank’s financial empowerment and
education modules, visit

About Fifth Third Bank

Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company
headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. As of December 31, 2016, the Company
had $142 billion in assets and operates 1,191 full-service Banking
Centers, including 94 Bank Mart® locations, most open seven days a week,
inside select grocery stores and 2,495 ATMs in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana,
Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia and North
Carolina. Fifth Third operates four main businesses: Commercial Banking,
Branch Banking, Consumer Lending, and Wealth & Asset Management. As of
December 31, 2016, Fifth Third had a 17.9% interest in Vantiv Holding,
LLC. Fifth Third is among the largest money managers in the Midwest and,
as of December 31, 2016, had $315 billion in assets under care, of which
it managed $31 billion for individuals, corporations and not-for-profit
organizations. Investor information and press
can be viewed at
Fifth Third’s common stock is traded on the NASDAQ® Global Select Market
under the symbol “FITB.” Fifth Third Bank was established in 1858.
Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender.

Study Methodology

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample
size was 3,380 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 7th – 10th March
2017. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted
and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+).

1 For the purposes of this survey, low-income is defined as
Americans whose total household income is less than $40,000 per year and
$10,000 in assets.


Fifth Third Bank
Stacie Haas, 513-534-5113
Molony, 513-271-7222 ext. 27