Middle-income Latinos in the workforce say they feel less financially secure and worry more about money than other Americans, posing higher hurdles to planning for retirement and building wealth, according to new research commissioned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual).
Amongst the key findings:
• Emergency preparedness. Three in 10 Hispanics reported having less than $500 saved for emergencies, leaving workers unprepared and more likely to struggle if they were out of work for one month or experienced unexpected events. Furthermore, Latinos in the workforce are less likely than others to have at least $5,000 set aside for emergencies (28% vs. 42% of the general population).
• Debt. In addition, unlike other consumer segments, the study revealed that debt and bills/cost of living tie as the top issues that face Latinos in their households. Latinos in the workforce find it more difficult than others to manage their monthly finances and nine in ten attribute this difficulty to high levels of debt and not having enough money.
• Retirement preparedness. When it comes to preparing for retirement, Hispanics feel they are falling behind, and, more so than others, wish their employer did more to educate them about saving for retirement. Just over half say that having benefits through their employer makes them feel more secure.
• Well-being. Among the concerns and obstacles to middle class workers' financial security, a key concern for Latinos is the well-being of their parents and their own personal health. While, like others, Latinos are most worried about politics and the direction of the country, they are also more likely than others to express concern about their household's financial situation and housing situation. More than half worry about household finances at least once a week.
"Securing a good financial future requires saving and planning," says David Hufnagel, Latino market director, MassMutual. "We want to empower families with resources and tools to help achieve their financial goals and prepare financially for the long-term."
Based on the research findings, MassMutual offers the following tips:
1. Develop a monthly budget and set up/reallocate priorities for short and long-term financial planning and saving.
2. Start saving for retirement as soon as possible and find out if your employer offers retirement saving plans. (Contributing a portion of your pay on a pre-tax basis to your employer's retirement plan may help make saving more affordable. Calculate how much you need to save for retirement using online tools like the MassMutual Retirement Planning Calculator.)
3. If you have hopes to help fund a college education for children or loved ones, calculate how much it will cast with MassMutual's college savings calculator.
4. Take advantage of financial educational opportunities offered by your employer and trusted financial advisors.
"It is no surprise that our study found that Latinos in the workforce would welcome additional financial help and guidance from their employers," said Hufnagel. "In fact, our research revealed that Latinos show much more interest in employer-offered financial planning/counseling services, especially budgeting assistance and debt counseling, than other consumer segments."
The internet-based study conducted on behalf of MassMutual by Greenwald & Associates from February 28 to March 14, 2017 polled 513 Americans who identified themselves as Hispanic with annual household incomes of between $35,000 and $150,000.