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In an article on YahooFinance.com, economist Karl Case, co-founder of the S&P/Case-Shiller index, boldly stated that the "American dream is just gone." What justifies his statement? Even though home prices are becoming more affordable and 30-year fixed mortgage rates are under 4 percent, Case says that more people are renting rather than buying, resulting in an  owner occupancy rate at an all time low.  According to Case, "we've added seven million households in the last seven years and six million of those are rentals." Long gone are the days of white picket fences and golden retrievers on the front lawn. Right? Not quite so, according to a recent poll of 1,000 to 2,000 surveyors conducted by  FTI Strategic Communications. Many still believe that owning a home is part of the American dream. According to the poll cited on Realtormag.com, 62 percent of surveyors believe that the market will improve within the next year. Since the housing bubble burst, many Americans remain optimistic even though recent trends show otherwise. And where does this optimism derive from? This survey reports that 60 percent believe that they still hold a firm grip over their financial fate. In other words, the road to achieving the American dream remains the same as ever before-work hard and be financially savvy with your investments. But is it that simple? Does this formula still hold true?

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Jim DeRentis
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