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Latin America Business News

Hispanics Still Believe in American Dream, but Say Competing Financial Priorities Stand in Way

New MassMutual State of the American Family Survey Explores the Financial Stresses on and Outlook for Hispanic Families

Hispanics continue to believe in education as the route to the American Dream; almost two-thirds (64 percent) say that a college education is key to making it happen. Yet, Hispanics are nearly twice as likely (22 percent) as the general population (13 percent) to say they struggle between saving for their children’s college education and their own retirement, and more than half are expected to care for aging parents (52 percent), as well.  Those are among the key findings of the second nationwide survey in Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company’s (MassMutual) State of the American Family series.

“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, MassMutual. “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 percent vs. 72 percent) to desire that their children receive at least a bachelor’s degree, and nearly twice as likely to expect them to receive at least a master’s degree (39 percent vs. 27 percent).  Yet, nearly a third of Hispanics (26 percent) say they know they should be saving for their children’s college education, but they don’t have the money to set aside, right now. This tension may be one reason why Hispanics are 50 percent 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 percent) of Hispanics are members of the “sandwich generation,” compared to only 29 percent 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 percent 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:

Seeking More Control During Tough Times

  * Similar to the general population, three in ten Hispanics feel they should be doing more to save for the future, but are currently struggling to get by (22 percent and 28 percent, respectively).
  * Both Hispanics and the general population wish they were more confident and in control of their financial decisions (20 percent and 26 percent, wish they had more control and 22 percent and 27 percent wish they were more confident, respectively).


Concerned About Meeting Long-Term Financial Goals

  * More than 38 percent of Hispanics are worried about being able to meet their long-term financial goals, compared to 27 percent of the general population.
  * Like the general population, only 34 percent of Hispanics are confident that they are doing a good job of financially preparing for retirement.
  * More Hispanics (42 percent) than the general population (30 percent) worry about out-living their retirement savings.


Strongly Value Financial Literacy

  * Nearly double the amount of Hispanics (42 percent) compared to the general population (26 percent) say their parents never talked about money with them and wished they had taught them more about it.
  * An astounding 84 percent of Hispanics say it is important to educate children on finances to ensure a strong economy in the future, compared to 78 percent of the general population.


To learn more about MassMutual’s State of the American Family Study, logon to massmutual.com/familyfinances. To find help with planning for your families’ financial future, logon to MassMutual’s Spanish-language web page at massmutual.com/multicultural/Spanish. To find a bi-lingual MassMutual financial services professional to help with the planning process, logon to massmutual.com/secure/locateanoffice and select Spanish as a language preference.

Methodology

This research was conducted by Forbes Consulting group for MassMutual and involved a 20-minute online questionnaire administered to a total of 1,143 respondents of which 212 were Hispanic from January 4 - January 20, 2011. The sample included parents, ages 30-64, with household incomes of $100,000 or more, with slightly different requirements for ethnic minorities(1).  All respondents contributed to financial decision making in their household and were financially responsible for at least one child.  Data was weighted to age, gender, ethnicity, region and same-sex married/partner couples. The margin of error is plus or minus 3%.