The nation’s leading public interest group providing seniors and others with information that empowers them to choose how they live, AARP, regularly publishes a retirement calculator that individuals and families can use to provide a personalized snapshot of what their financial future might look like.
One simply has to answer a few questions about household status, salary and retirement savings (such as an IRA or 401(k)), include information about supplemental retirement income (such as a pension or Social Security), and consider how long they intend to work to generate information that will inform their expected lifestyle as a retiree.
The tool is designed to help potential retirees determine the amount of money they’ll need to retire “when – and how – they want.”
Unfortunately, for most African-Americans, even the most sophisticated planning tools lead to the same result: retirement has fast become a pie-in-the-sky dream.
“As a whole, Americans are bad savers. But, I believe it’s worse for African-American communities because they don’t have access to the right educational opportunities,” said Cory Chapman, managing partner and CEO of EFC Wealth Management. “Being raised by a single mom with three kids, I understand the struggle of just trying to pay the bills and get food on the table. Growing up, saving money was an afterthought and never discussed,” Chapman said.
A report published earlier this month demonstrated how African-Americans, Latinos and other minorities will have a more difficult time calling it quits than white Americans.
The report, published on the financial website The Motley Fool, revealed that the troubling disparity in retirement readiness between White Americans and minorities can be explained largely by income and wealth disparities that persist throughout our lives.
“Caucasians didn’t lose as much wealth during the Great Recession and have recovered more of it, so White households now hold close to six times the wealth of African-American or Hispanic households,” the report’s authors said.
Median earnings for White households recovered from the recession by 2016, but earning levels for both Black and Hispanic households remained below 2007 levels.
Whites now earn close to twice as much as minority households do, according to The Motley Fool.
Chapman suggested teaching children about financial planning can be beneficial.
“We need to be teaching children about planning strategies to generate wealth. Retired African-American clients that come into my office are still just trying to make ends meet,” Chapman said.
“They don’t feel like they can save money when they are trying to put their kids through college and help them buy a home or car. They are forgetting about themselves and their own retirement,” he said.
The most recent MassMutual State of the American Family Study found that there are differences in retirement planning among different cultural groups.
African-Americans fall short on executing life-changing measures such as accumulating wealth, being better prepared for retirement and building up savings.
The study revealed a disconnect between African-Americans’ financial situations and their hope toward the future.
Some key findings from the survey:
Outside of retirement accounts, only 37 percent of African-Americans own wealth-building products such as stocks and mutual funds.
Only 35 percent believe they are doing a good job of preparing for retirement.
33 percent have less than one month of funds saved for a crisis and less than 25 percent have amassed more than six months’ of emergency savings.
58 percent are actively involved in educating their children on finances versus 48 percent of Whites. Forty-percent rely on family members for information
“The study shows African-Americans want to improve their financial situations and are hopeful about the future,” Evan Taylor, African-American market director for MassMutual, told Black Enterprise Magazine.
“At the same time, it sheds light on the financial struggles and inequities that the African-American community continues to battle,” Taylor said.