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COUNTRY Financial Security Index

How Far Will Americans Go to Take Their Dream Vacation?

April 21, 2015

As Americans gear up for the summer travel season, they are conflicted about how to make vacation dreams come true in the face of financial realities. The latest COUNTRY Financial Security Index finds Americans highly value leisure travel, but they draw the line when it comes to making some sacrifices, such as taking a lower paying job that offers more vacation days.

Making Vacations a Priority

While the majority of Americans report travel is a top priority, most would rather sacrifice time over money to achieve their vacation desires. If given the choice, almost half of Americans would put off retiring for a year if it meant they could take a dream vacation, but they were less willing to take a lower paying job that offered greater travel flexibility.

• Forty-nine percent would delay their retirement by a year in exchange for a trip of their dreams.
• Millennials (ages 18-29) are significantly more willing to make sacrifices for travel, with 68 percent opting to put in an extra year of work.
• Those in or approaching retirement (ages 50-64 and ages 65+) are the least willing to entertain the idea (41 percent and 32 percent, respectively).

While they don’t mind working an extra year, the overwhelming majority of Americans say “no thanks” to taking a pay cut in order to take that dream vacation.

• Only 11 percent of survey respondents would swap their current job for a lower paying one if it meant they could have more time to travel.
• Again, more Millennial respondents are the most willing to swap a big salary for travel time, with 15 percent saying they would take a lower paying job.

“As financial realities set in over time, it becomes harder for Americans to prioritize their dreams of traveling," says Troy Frerichs, director of investment-wealth management. "As retirement approaches, older generations have a harder time justifying financial sacrifices for vacations.”

America’s Vacation Roadblocks

An overwhelming majority of Americans say traveling is a core value (62 percent). Yet, many feel it’s not possible for a middle-class family to take a vacation without going into debt (44 percent). Another 40 percent say lack of funds stopped them from packing their bags.

Vacations are still highly valued even among those who can’t afford them. Of the people who don’t have the funds, 83 percent still feel it’s important to travel. More than half of those cash-strapped households stayed home instead of taking off. Money is just one reason people don’t travel.

• Twelve percent are too busy at work
• Twelve percent have a hard time coordinating family schedules
• Ten percent report family obligations get in the way

Planning Ahead Helps Bridge the Gap

Setting aside funds for travel can be especially important for the many Americans who aspire to globe-trot. However, less than half (44 percent) of the Americans who took an annual trip set aside money in advance to fund their vacations.

“Coupling financial planning with the desire to travel can help make youthful dreams of sightseeing and vacation a reality for your retirement,” says Frerichs. “It’s especially important to start planning early to avoid having to make significant sacrifices or go into debt.”

The COUNTRY Financial Security Index®

Since 2007, the COUNTRY Financial Security Index has measured Americans’ sentiments of their personal financial security. The Index also delves deeper into individual personal finance topics to better inform Americans about the issues impacting their finances. Survey data, videos and analysis are available at www.countryfinancialsecurityblog.com and on Twitter at @FinanceSecure.

The COUNTRY Financial Security Index was created by COUNTRY Financial and is compiled by GfK, an independent research firm. Surveys were conducted using GfK’s KnowledgePanel TM, a national, probability-based panel designed to be representative of the general population and includes responses from approximately 1,000 U.S. adults for national surveys. The margin of sampling error for a survey based on this many interviews is approximately +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

About COUNTRY Financial

The COUNTRY Financial group (www.countryfinancial.com) serves about one million households and businesses throughout the United States. It offers a full range of financial products and services from auto, home, business and life insurance to retirement planning services, investment management and annuities.