Wells Fargo Survey Shows African Americans Are Optimistic About Their Financial Future

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    According to a recent survey by Wells Fargo, African-American investors report high levels of confidence in their financial future. African Americans are also optimistic about the political and economic future of the country.

    Three in five Black investors express confidence in their own financial future while half report they are better off now than they were three years ago.

    “The optimism and confidence articulated by African-American investors is encouraging, particularly as those surveyed are feeling financially better off than they were three years ago,” said Jeff Cosby, Financial Advisor and Vice-President, Investment Officer in the Bloomington, Minn., office of Wells Fargo Advisors. “Where we see the biggest opportunity is helping people really consider how they are approaching saving and planning for retirement. It is important for financial advisors to help investors think through long-term strategies for investment planning, while also providing guidance on common concerns like how to balance paying off debt while continuing to save for retirement.”

    Black investors have made progress in retirement planning and preparation but many still have concerns as far as having enough money to actually retire. African Americans have begun taking the necessary steps to help them better prepare for retirement such as cutting back on their spending to put away money for retirement. Forty-five percent of those surveyed say they have cut back on spending which is a step up compared to 36 percent of the national population. Forty percent of non-retired African Americans say they have a retirement savings plan in place which is roughly the same as the national population.

    Among non-retired African Americans, having a retirement savings plan is most common among those earning over $100,000 annually. Only 35 percent of those earning less than $100,000 have a plan.

    Compared to the national population, African-American investors are less likely to consider themselves financially comfortable. Thirty-six percent of African American investors consider paying their monthly bills their biggest financial concern. Saving for retirement ranked second at 22 percent, followed by healthcare costs at 15 percent.

    According to the survey, three in five Blacks in the U.S. focus on reducing debt as opposed to saving for retirement. Fifty-two percent of those surveyed are worried they won’t have enough saved for retirement, particularly those under the age of 50.

    Thirty-six percent of Black investors are confident in knowing where to invest in today’s market, similar to the national population, 31 percent.

    “All investors — regardless of age or level of savings — should be focused on planning for retirement, and turning plans into actual saving and investing,” said Cosby. “Many African American investors, much like the general population of overall investors, find investing in today’s economy daunting. It’s important to seek advice from a trusted professional to help navigate the ups and downs of the market, with an eye on long-term financial goals. It can be scary, but with all the resources and tools available, it can be done.”

    Living in multi-generational households also has a significant impact on African American investors’ savings. Many of the survey’s respondents were faced with caring for their own children while providing for aging parents and grandparents.

    Twenty percent of African American investors surveyed report living in three-generational households. Seventy-seven percent of those respondents are concerned they will not save enough to support themselves in retirement. Only 46 percent of those outside of multi-generational households had this concern.

    Seventy-three percent of African American investors are optimistic about the political direction of the country, which is significantly higher compared to the general population, 43 percent. Eighty-three percent of African American investors feel the U.S. economy will improve in the next two years. Forty-seven percent of the general population agrees. Seventy-two percent of those surveyed expect their local economy to improve in the next two years.

    Wells Fargo currently offers a resource called My Financial Guide, which is an online resource consisting of articles, videos and tools aimed at helping consumers become more confident and knowledgeable in money management.

    These survey results are based on an online survey conducted November 9 – December 3, 2012 among adults nationwide (N=1,105) and African American adults (N=500). Respondents were non-students, ages 25-75, who are the primary or joint financial decision-maker in the household with household investable assets of at least $10,000. The survey results were weighted to reflect Census data for gender, age, race/ethnicity, region and household income to ensure representativeness. Assuming no sample bias, the maximum margin of error for the National sample is 2.9 percent and 4.4 percent for African American adults.

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