Hispanics Twice as Likely to Struggle with Savings

A MassMutual study found that Hispanics are twice as likely (22%) as the general population (13%) to say they struggle between saving for their children’s college education and their own retirement.

The research is part of the State of the American Family Study by MassMutual. Additionally, more than half of Hispanic respondents to the survey are expecting to care for aging parents (52%), and about two-thirds (64%) say a college education is key to obtaining the “American Dream”.

“The survey shows that Hispanics, like everyone else, are feeling the stress of supporting themselves financially while also making sure plans for both their parents and the next generation are in order,” said Chris M. Mendoza, Assistant Vice President, Multicultural Market Development. “Professional guidance can help individuals balance these priorities, yet Hispanics are nearly twice as likely as the general population to say they don’t know where to go for sound financial advice. Seeking out information from a qualified financial professional is the first step toward taking control and moving in the direction of your financial dreams.”

According to the survey, Hispanics place great importance on education. They are more likely than the general population (77% versus 72%) to want their children to receive at least a bachelor’s degree, and nearly twice as likely to expect at least a master’s degree (39% versus 27%). Yet, nearly a third of Hispanics (26%) say they know they should be saving for their children’s college education, but they don’t have the money to set aside. This tension may be one reason why Hispanics are 50% more likely than the general population to say that their finances are the leading stressor in their life. 

Another finding indicative of the strain on Hispanic families is that nearly half (49%) of Hispanics are members of the “sandwich generation,” compared to only 29% of the general population. Of Hispanics who say they face the financial burden of needing to simultaneously support their children and their aging parents, 21% don't know how they can care for their parents, even though they know they are being counted on to do so.

Other findings from the research include:

  • Similar to the general population, three in 10 Hispanics feel they should be doing more to save for the future, but are currently struggling to get by (22% and 28%, respectively).
  • Both Hispanics and the general population wish they were more confident and in control of their financial decisions (20% and 26%, wish they had more control and 22% and 27% wish they were more confident, respectively).
  • More than 38% of Hispanics are worried about being able to meet their long-term financial goals, compared to 27% of the general population.
  • Like the general population, only 34% of Hispanics are confident that they are doing a good job of financially preparing for retirement.
  • More Hispanics (42%) than the general population (30%) worry about out-living their retirement savings.
  • Nearly double the amount of Hispanics (42%) compared to the general population (26%) say their parents never talked about money with them and wished they had taught them more about it.
  • Eighty-four percent of Hispanics say it is important to educate children on finances to ensure a strong economy in the future, compared to 78% of the general population.

The research involved a 20-minute online questionnaire administered to a total of 1,143 respondents, of which 212 were Hispanic, in January 2011.

The research also found that for the majority of family financial decision makers, saving for the kids' college education ranks above saving for future medical expenses or retirement (see "College Saving Trumps Retirement Saving").