A recent study commissioned by a financial services group reveals that many minority workers — particularly African-Americans — are less likely to be prepared for retirement. But the research also finds an increasing interest among minorities in planning for their retirement security.
Retirement experts agree that educating these groups about saving, and doing so in a culturally-specific manner, can help them plan better.
ING Financial Services recently released a study commissioned by the ING Retirement Research Institute that indicates almost half of Americans of all ethnic groups in households with incomes over $40,000 per year feel challenged in saving for retirement.
Though many in the study reported various reasons for not being prepared, nearly 31 percent of African-Americans revealed that debt hindered them from saving for retirement. This percentage was higher than any other ethnic group. In addition, blacks reported using shorter time horizons for financial planning.
Fred Makonnen, vice president of multicultural sales at ING, told U.S. News & World Report that this type of short-term planning in addition to other mistakes made by ethnic groups could harm retirement planning success.
“We’re seeing less emphasis on planning going forward,” Makonnen said. “That’s a trend we want to help reverse.”
Despite the obstacles blacks and other minority groups face, researchers found that many were also looking to their employers for retirement planning assistance, while persistently seeking additional options. For example, 1 in 4 of blacks in the study had life insurance valued at four to five times their current salary, compared with just 18 percent of total respondents.
Researchers believe the study demonstrates that people of color are eagerly trying to save for retirement. Therefore, Maokonnen emphasized to U.S. News & World Report that retirement planning organizations should try to connect with under-prepared blacks and other minorities by offering them “culturally-relevant” financial literacy programs.
Some analysts believe that attempts by state lawmakers to reform state and local pensions, may have actually reduced the retirement security of public workers, as states seek to reduce their pension liabilities.
As the availability of traditional pensions declines, and national debates about the future of Social Security continue, it becomes even more complicated for African-Americans and other minorities to plan to retirement, analysts say.