Money Still Takes Back Seat to Family

Most Americans say they would be happier if they had more money, but few are willing to trade family time for bigger bucks.

Even the promise of a 50% pay increase wouldn’t be enough for most Americans (71%) to spend less time with their children and families, according to the “Keep Good Going Report” by New York Life. Only 11% of 2,000 American adults surveyed said they’d trade time with their children for such a pay hike, and only one in five said they’d trade time with their spouse or partner.

A third would make the swap, however, for a “a significant amount of sleep each night, slightly more (35%) for “total vacation time,” 43% for “a favorite recreational activity/hobby,” 45% for time with friends and more than half (54%) would take the pay raise in exchange for evenings off from work.

Not surprisingly, the economy has negatively hit Americans, the survey adds. Large majorities state that living a good life would be easier if they didn’t have to worry about bills (90%), were able to be financially self-sufficient in retirement (89%) and could protect their family financially “against life’s uncertainties” (89%).

The study also gave Americans an opportunity to rate their performance in four areas: family, personal life, work and community. Respondents said they were doing better in terms of having a loving relationship with their children than in other areas of family life.

Other areas of the survey covered areas such as having integrity, being considerate of others, and being polite and kind, where Americans also scored high. Respondents said they were doing in worst in such areas as achieving financial success, being politically active and participating in community events.

“The results show that, for the most part, Americans are acting on their values. More specifically, Americans find family and personal relationships as key to living a good life, and they are doing things in their day to day lives to reinforce this,” said Brian Perlman, a partner at Mathew Greenwald & Associates, which conducted the online survey in August.