FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
As the recession drags on, Americans are growing less confident that they can maintain their current standard of living, especially when it comes to long-term goals.
Your quality of life: Is there anything you fear losing?
A new CNN-Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 39 percent of those surveyed say they're very confident they'll be able to keep up their quality of life over the next year; but that's down from 45 percent who felt that way a year ago.
50 percent of homeowners with a mortgage say they're very confident they can keep making their house payments; again, that's down from 58 percent just a year ago. Also down is the percentage of Americans who are confident they can pay other debts - like credit cards and car loans.
And people are even more pessimistic when it comes to saving for long term goals. Only 24 percent of parents say they're very confident they'll be able to pay to send their children to college. And only 22 percent of those who are still working feel they can save enough for retirement.
These are pretty scary numbers. The U.S. used to be a place where every generation hoped for a standard of living that was better than what their parents had. And for the most part for more than 200 years, that's the way it's been. It was all part of the American dream; but as these poll numbers suggest, that dream may be just that - a dream - for the generations coming up.
Here's my question to you: What do you fear losing most when it comes to your quality of life?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
I work for a large paper mill that has (since the first of the year) laid off 20% of its workforce. We are constantly under the threat of losing our jobs. I'm 51 and 11 years away from retirement. If I lose my job, there’s no one that will hire me with my experience that pays anywhere near what I make now. Got to be afraid to buy anything other than groceries and gas. It's hard to sleep at night.
Jim from Chicago writes:
Jack, What I fear losing most is my self-respect in trying to cope with such a major setback this late in my life.
Michael from Panama city, Florida writes:
I'm a public school teacher and what I fear losing the most is the future awaiting my students. My school is closing due to budget cuts, class sizes are increasing, hundreds of teachers in my district are out of a job. Only a fool believes that students aren't the ultimate loser.
Janet from New Jersey writes:
I am recently divorced after 38 years of marriage. Currently I am employed, but I worry that if I should lose my job at my age (60) I won’t be able to get another one. Also, being alone now, I'm afraid I won't have enough savings to live on for the next (hopefully) 20+ years of my life. The 401(k) plan I have been saving into is now a joke.
Pete from Alexandria, Va. writes:
As painful as this type of adjustment is, I think it will have a positive overall benefit. America has become way too entitled over the last 25 years, and lost the edge that made us a world leader. It's become all about stuff and "me, me, me". What do I fear most? An artificial economy where we're propping up ridiculous institutions that are clearly failed – this is going to kill the entrepreneurial spirit and innovation that comes from taking the credit and the blame for trying something new, and building something great.