Americans’ love/hate relationship with money

When it comes to money, the attitudes American consumers have towards it are a complex collection of contradictions. On one hand, everyone says they want to be rich, but they deride the rich as "greedy." They say they struggle to pay the rent and make ends meet, but many also claim they'll retire by the age of 45. Here's what financial marketers need to understand about Americans' views about money.

Mocking those with money is a popular pastime. The rich are an easy target. There are relatively few of them — the much vilified 1% — often stereotyped as greedy, corrupt, amoral — people who unblinkingly pay bribes to ensure their children can punch their own ticket to wealth by getting into the best schools.

In the “Conflicted States of America,” many resent the rich, but would also like to join them. And then you have Warren Buffet and Bill Gates and hundreds if not thousands of others among America’s wealthy who fund scholarships that send other people’s kids to college, and endow programs, entire schools, hospitals and much more.

Add into this complicated mix the wealth gap — which is widening and has become a huge political issue. Financial marketers live and breathe money, and help sell what it can do. But do you really understand how other Americans, even yourself, really feel about it?


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