Report: Financial Advice Not Reaching Black America

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Only two out of every 10 African-Americans are on a path to achieve their retirement goals, according to a six-month-old survey of Blacks conducted by a major wealth manager.

The study, entitled “The African-American Financial Experience,” produced an alarming snapshot of Black Americans’ financial reality: African-Americans do not save as much money as Whites because they distrust the financial system, and are three times more likely to take money from their retirement plans to meet immediate needs.

The survey was conducted in November by Prudential Insurance of America and interviewed approximately 1,500 Blacks between the ages of 27 and 70 who earn more than $25,000 a year. The study found that while Blacks invest conservatively and have scant relationships with financial planning professionals, their dreams of financial independence are more ambitious than those of Whites.

The survey concluded Blacks are twice as likely as Whites to dream of owning a business. It also found that 60 percent of African-Americans surveyed held less than $50,000 in a company retirement plan and only 23 percent of those interviewed said they have more than $100,000 in their bank account.

As a group, Blacks are likely to put money into retirement plans, but they also expect their company to sponsor it. Sharon C. Taylor, senior vice president of human resources with Prudential, said that employers should do more to foster Black financial literacy.

“African-Americans are looking to their employers for information, advice, and tools to help bolster their savings and better plan for their financial goals,” Taylor said. “Clearly, companies need to do more if they are going to help African-Americans achieve financial security, both as individuals and in the workplace.”

The report also shows that African-Americans are “independent learners” when it comes to making financial decisions. They tend to rely on books, financial Web sites and faith-based organizations. In a Black household, the woman is usually the person who makes financial decisions.