Is the American Dream Dead?

A new study suggests the definition of success is changing.

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These days, the American Dream is looking a little less dreamy.

With people feeling less financial secure, visions of large houses and other outwards signs of success are dwindling, according to the 2009 MetLife Study of the American Dream. Some of the developments are welcome, such as a renewed emphasis on family life, while others, such as worrying about paying the next mortgage bill, are not. Here are some of the report's key findings:

  • 44 percent of Americans say they're focusing more on personal relationships, including family, children, and marriage.
    • Four in ten Americans say they feel regret, or buyers' remorse, about past purchases.
      • 55 percent say they know a friend, relative or neighbor who has lost their job because of the recession.
        • Over half of affluent Americans say they're worried about losing their job in the next year, and about the same amount say they night have to file for bankruptcy if that were to happen.
          •  One-third say they have achieved the American Dream.
            •  More Americans report less pressure to keep up with the Joneses. Just 26 percent said they feel more pressure than ever to buy material possessions.
            • What do you think -- do you still believe in the American Dream? I do, but my own plans to have a house, one of my big goals, have been put-off indefinitely because of the financial crisis. How have you been affected?