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Family needs compete with retirement among Hispanic Americans, survey finds

Long term financial planning can be daunting for many Americans, however, Prudential’s 2014 Hispanic American Finance Experience survey indicates that the Hispanic community may face distinct challenges. According to a recent survey on how Hispanic Americans manage their finances, the Hispanic American community places a high priority on short-term goals like supporting family and paying down debt which can come at the expense of building savings and investing for retirement. Although laudable, these cultural characteristics may also be a double-edged sword that competes with the Hispanic American community’s ability to save and invest toward retirement.

“Taking care of family is a priority for Hispanic Americans, who view money as a means to support children, aging parents, grandparents and extended family,” says George Castineiras, senior vice president of Total Retirement Solutions at Prudential Retirement, which conducted the Hispanic American Financial Experience survey. “Yet many overlook the fact that by saving for their retirement, they can ensure financial independence and support their family and community for the long run.”

Among the key findings of the survey, were:

* More than a third (36 percent) of Hispanic Americans describes themselves as neither savers nor investors. Near-term financial goals such as paying for children’s education, buying a home and supporting elderly family members compete with saving for retirement and investing for the future.

* Sixty-two percent believe there is no such thing as “good debt;” however, 70 percent feel it’s impossible to live entirely debt free, especially when purchasing big-ticket items such as a home or car, funding a college education or starting a business.

* Compared to the general population, Hispanic Americans have less access to workplace-based retirement plans and are less likely to participate when one is available. Additionally, the survey results uncovered that members of this community are more likely to underestimate the number of income sources they will need to retire, and expect to continue working during retirement.

* Slightly more than half (53 percent) believe saving for retirement is an important financial priority, compared to 62 percent of the general population.

“Hispanic Americans might plan differently for their retirement if they had access to information that could help them gain the knowledge they need to make investment decisions to secure their own and their family’s futures,” Castineiras says.

Hispanic Americans looking to manage their financial planning should consider a few important steps, Castineiras advises:

* If they have access to a workplace retirement plan, they should participate in it, and take advantage of any employer match that may be offered.

* If they do not have a retirement plan through their employer, they should establish their own retirement savings. A qualified financial planner can help.

* Seek information and advice on the types of debt – “good” versus “bad.”

* Learn about how investing can help them better achieve their long-term financial goals. Visit Prudential’s recently launched micro-site, www.prudential.com/hispanicamericans to help provide financial education tailored to the Hispanic community.

* Work with a financial adviser to create an overall financial plan and retirement savings plan that can help them achieve all their goals, both long- and short-term. The Prudential study found that Hispanic Americans are less likely to have a professional financial adviser, or to have been contacted by one, regardless of their income level, but are equally likely to work with one if contacted.

The fastest growing population segment in the country, people of Hispanic origin will number nearly 133 million by the middle of 2050, and will account for 30 percent of the total American Population, the U.S. Census Bureau predicts.

“It’s vital to help this important population develop and implement the financial planning skills they need to preserve their financial well-being well into their golden years,” Castineiras says.

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