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The Picture of Retirement for Hispanic Americans

Thursday October 9, 2014

Each year, on September 15, we celebrate the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month. During this celebration, which runs through October 15, we recognize the significant impact Hispanic and Latino Americans have had on American history. We celebrate their rich culture and countless achievements. And this year's theme, "Hispanics: A legacy of history, a present of action and a future of success," reminds us of their profound impact on American culture. 

In his proclamation, President Obama said our Nation is strengthened when we lift up the Hispanic community. He also said when we create more ladders of opportunity, we provide hope for all Americans to reach their greatest potential.

But when looking at retirement preparedness, Hispanic Americans are often lower on the ladder than the general population.

Although many Americans face difficulty planning for retirement, Hispanic Americans face unique challenges that other minority groups do not. Hispanic Americans typically have less access to employer-provided benefits and contribute less on their own. The reason? Greater emphasis is usually placed on short-term financial security, such as eliminating debt. Saving for retirement is simply not a short-term priority.

But even with greater focus on eliminating debt, Hispanic Americans would adequately plan for retirement if they had access to information to help make informed financial decisions.

Despite Hispanic Americans' financial experience, they are more financially confident about retirement than the general population. Since retirement often looks different for Hispanic Americans, the amount of assets needed for a comfortable retirement is different. And even with limited contributions and higher focus on short-term financial goals, Hispanic Americans are confident they will reach their retirement financial goals.

But the bottom line is more emphasis should be placed on personal contributions to retirement, especially in the absence of employer contributions.