Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Survey: Blacks save much less in retirement plans

A story from the AP:
The poll by Ariel Investments LLC and the Charles Schwab Corp. found that 62 percent of the blacks surveyed own stocks or mutual funds, lagging the 82 percent of white respondents who said they do.

Executives at Chicago-based Ariel Investments, an African-American-owned investment management firm and mutual fund company, said black stock ownership remains a weak spot as it has been throughout the 11 years the company has been sponsoring the annual survey.


"We certainly haven't seen the kind of progress that we had hoped for," said Mellody Hobson, Ariel's president.


One marked change: The survey has shown historically that black investors have expressed a preference for real estate investments over the stock market. This year that preference fell to a new low, with just 39 percent of blacks labeling real estate the "best investment overall." Their preference stood at 61 percent at the height of the real estate market in 2004.


Blacks are on equal footing with whites when it comes to accessing and enrolling in their employers' defined contribution plans, according to the survey, which was based on interviews with blacks and whites with household incomes of at least $50,000. About nine in 10 of both blacks and whites who are working have access to a plan such as a 401(k), and of those about 90 percent of each group contributes regularly.


But the median monthly amount that blacks contribute to their 401(k) plan is $169, compared with $249 contributed by whites. As a result, the median total household savings for retirement reported by black respondents was $53,000. White respondents had more than twice as much at $114,000.


The results of the nationwide survey, conducted by Argosy Research, were compiled from telephone interviews with 503 blacks and 506 whites from June 11 to July 13 and carry a margin of error of about 5 percent. The poll would have missed investors in many lower-income areas, since some interviews were conducted in areas with median incomes of $40,000 or more in order to bolster the African-American sample.
Oh man I would have loved to have crunched those numbers!

This article actually started off mentioning the social and cultural factors as to why blacks don't save as much as whites for their retirement. I would like to see an explanation for that. In fact you go directly to the source at Ariel Investments.

Perhaps this might provide one answer to the social aspect again from AP...
The survey found that about two-thirds of blacks, versus about half of whites, said they would increase contributions to their retirement plan if employers provided access to financial advisors, seminars about retirement investing or education about the features of the plans.
If I can understand black folks often times hadn't have anybody to teach them how to either save their money or invest it. I guess it could be added that blacks may not know exactly where they should put their money and then maximize their returns. A house would help that certainly but don't buy a house that you can't afford.

And hold off on your dreams of buying that brand new car. If you buy a used car, hopefully you'll buy a car that don''t require much money in repairs. Simple fact is spend that money wisely.

I think I'll start taking my own advice.

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