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Latinos Need Retirement and Financial Planning Assistance

Fifty-nine percent are unsure about who to go to for financial advice and guidance, a survey finds.

By Javier Simon editors@strategic-i.com | October 03, 2017

More than half (71%) of middle-income Hispanics feel they are behind on preparing for retirement as opposed to 63% of the general population, according to a recent study commissioned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company. However, the survey also found that 63% of Latinos wish their employers would provide a greater degree of education on saving for retirement.

The Mass Mutual Hispanic Middle America Financial Security Study also shed some light on the types of financial services Hispanics are seeking from their employers. About 79% want financial planning services, 70% want Social Security counseling, 68% want budgeting assistance, and 54% want tuition reimbursement. Each of these options was preferred by a larger percentage of Latinos than people among the general population, the study found.

Hispanics may also be more welcoming of professional financial advice. The study revealed that while 49% of the general population said it’s inappropriate for their employers to be involved in their personal finances, this sentiment was shared among only 38% of Hispanics. Moreover, 53% of Hispanics said they felt financial companies wanted to help people like them.

"It is no surprise that our study found that Latinos in the workforce would welcome additional financial help and guidance from their employers," says David Hufnagel, Latino market director, MassMutual. "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."

These services can help this segment of the population address vast concerns that are threatening their financial wellness. The study found 49% of Latinos say they don’t understand how to save and invest appropriately for their situation, and 43% struggle to make ends meet. Moreover, three in 10 say they have less than $500 saved for emergencies. Only 5% had $50,000 or more saved for emergencies and 17% had virtually nothing saved at all. About 37% of Latinos said managing household finances was at least somewhat difficult, and 51% cited high levels of debt. In fact, debt and bills topped the list of financial concerns among Latinos. More than half say they worry about household finances at least once a week.

And these worries are bleeding into other aspects of their lives. The MassMutual study found 64% of Hispanics say financial issues are harming their mental health and raising stress levels, 42% say it’s interfering with their social lives, and 36% say it’s hampering their ability to eat healthy.

Some research suggests financial wellness programs are key to alleviating workers’ stress which could significantly impact productivity and a company’s bottom line.

However, many Latinos have difficulty securing the financial services that can help them address these issues. The survey found 59% are unsure about who to go to for financial advice and guidance, 53% say it’s difficult to find financial services companies that know how to help households like the ones they belong to, and 42% believe they have different financial planning needs than the average American household.

"Securing a good financial future requires saving and planning," says Hufnagel. "We want to empower families with resources and tools to help achieve their financial goals and prepare financially for the long-term."

Based on its research, MassMutual recommends employees develop monthly budgets and reallocate priorities for short and long-term financial planning and saving; start saving for retirement as soon as possible; and use digital tools to determine how much they can expect to save in order to secure a comfortable retirement.

MassMutual’s Hispanic Middle America Financial Security Study was conducted by Greenwald & Associates on behalf of MassMutual from February 28 to March 14, 2017. Respondents were between the ages of 25 and 65, worked full-time, and had a household income between $35,000 and $150,000.