Bright spots and areas of optimism exist within traditionally underserved groups in the face of income inequality, retirement insecurity and household debt, new data from Prudential Financial, Inc. reveals. The in-depth exploration of data from Prudential’s Financial Wellness Census™ highlights the dramatic differences in the experiences of diverse populations within the U.S., many of whom were disproportionately impacted by the 2008 financial crisis.
The report, “The Cut – Exploring Financial Wellness Within Diverse Populations,” is based on a survey of more than 3,000 U.S. adults and examines the financial lives of a diverse group of Americans: women, black Americans, Latino Americans, Asian Americans, caregivers, and the LGBTQ community.
“Resilient and diverse communities are the foundation of a stable and strong economy. Their progress enables our progress,” said Judy Dougherty, Prudential’s financial wellness officer. “This new analysis presents a layered portrait of the financial lives of Americans and exposes factors that underlie and sometimes impede our ability to achieve financial security. These insights are critically important to Prudential’s businesses, informing our efforts to develop products and services that help more Americans improve their financial health.”
The data highlights challenges and opportunities
The research details the wide range of outcomes, experiences and attitudes among traditionally underserved communities. For example:
- By significant margins, black Americans at all income levels are more likely than the general population to prioritize helping others financially: taking care of parents or other family members, providing college tuition for their children, helping children with a down payment on a home, leaving an inheritance to their heirs, and giving to charity.
- The average annual income for women in the survey was $52,521, compared with $84,006 for men—women reported earning about 63 cents for every dollar earned by men. Additionally, 54 percent of all women reported being the primary breadwinner in their household, irrespective of its makeup.
- Thirty-eight percent of caregivers in the study do not think they will ever be able to retire versus only 25 percent of non-caregivers. Although caregivers for children with special needs were as likely as other caregivers and non-caregivers to have a defined contribution retirement plan, they were also the most likely to have taken a loan or hardship withdrawal.
“The journey to financial wellness is deeply personal,” said Lata Reddy, Prudential’s senior vice president, Diversity, Inclusion & Impact. “While there are common experiences that tie us all together, there are also distinct factors that are unique to our individual journeys that impact the ultimate destination. These factors need to be clearly understood for true progress to be made. The first step is to actively listen to the voices in our communities, and it is in this spirit that this research was conducted.”
Prudential has also created a three-minute self-assessment to enable individuals to discover where they stand on their own personal path to financial wellness. To take the financial wellness assessment and to explore a visualization of its data, visit prudential.com/stateofus.
Study: Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual Americans Poorer than Straight Peers
A new study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the United States are far more likely to be poor than straight people, with lesbian and bisexual women the worst off.
Lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans were found to be less likely than their heterosexual counterparts to own their own home, with black and Hispanic lesbian and bisexual women the least likely to be homeowners.
The study also found that lesbian and bisexual women were also less likely to graduate from college than straight women and earn less money. While reporting higher rates of school harassment, gay and bisexual men were found to be more likely to have a college education than straight men, but they were also found to earn less and reported having experienced more financial difficulty than their heterosexuals counterparts.
Additionally, the study found that lesbian and bisexual women were more likely to live on the poverty line with many receiving welfare payments or food stamps and reported feeling that they had a lower social status than straight people. The study points towards ongoing issues of wage discrimination in the LGB community.
The report suggested that the symptoms could be explained by the minority stress model, which claims that stressors can be anything from internalised homophobia to negative social attitudes and actual instances of intolerance violence. Authors of the study suggest that the U.S. could reduce the inequality lesbian and bisexual women face by “promoting the achievement of sexual minority girls and young women.”
The study follows a report released in April found that LGB people were more likely to suffer from physical and mental health issues. Socioeconomic status is considered to be fundamentally important to a person’s health, however there has been limited research into how this affects LGB people.
The study followed 14,000 young people — LGB and straight — who were in seventh through 12th grades in 1994 through 2008 and 2009.
10 Tips for Cheap (But Fun!) Travel
Is the only thing holding you back from taking a vacation the balance of your bank account? Check out these 10 tips on how to put together a getaway that’s easy on the checkbook.
This past week, my boyfriend and I wanted to embark on a fun, easy and cheap getaway. Since I live in Rhode Island, we were sold on the idea of a short drive out to Provincetown, MA — right on the tip of Cape Cod.
We gave ourselves a budget of just $150 for the 24-hour adventure—and even with gas at $4.00 per gallon, we made it happen!
Here’s how we did it:
#1 Call motels and inns directly
While booking online is super convenient, it’s always helpful to talk to a real person directly. They will also know of any last-minute cancellations or special discounts—which will increase your chance of finding a room in your budget.
#2 Travel off-peak
Our motel room was just $87 on a Thursday night. Come Friday—during the Memorial Day holiday—that same room goes for $150. We saved $63 by taking our trip on an off-peak travel day.
#3 Travel locally
While the world is full of wonderful destinations, many of them are right in our own backyard. You don’t have to travel far to have a great time. And staying closer to home will help keep costs under control. By taking a 2-hour drive out to Provincetown, we saved ourselves a potential boatload of transportation expenses.
#4 Eat like a local
Provincetown’s downtown core—like many tourist spots—is full of great but pricey restaurants. By taking a short drive off the beaten path, we were able to find a more local restaurant with much more reasonable prices. Dinner was $28 for the two of us.
#5 Use your feet
While Provincetown has some convenient paid parking lots, we were able to find a free parking spot a short walk from downtown for a $10 savings. Some destinations also offer great public transit options—it’s an affordable and fun way to experience a city or town and meet new people.
#6 Take advantage of the free stuff
The best things that Provincetown has to offer are free. Like the sights, sounds and incredible landscape. The beaches and nature trails are free—and absolutely breathtaking. Hanging out in the sand and getting a little sun charges the soul and doesn’t break the bank.
#7 Pack your own beverages
For less than $10, we filled my trunk up with bottled water and beverages. Even better, bring along a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated and help save the environment. Cheers!
#8 Hit up the grocery store
Since we were only staying for one night, stocking up on groceries didn’t make a lot of sense. But for longer trips, I love packing the mini fridge full of fresh food options. It’s a lot cheaper than restaurant dining—and a lot healthier, too. Fruits, veggies and sandwiches bought at a local grocery store make for great dining out alternatives.
#9 Take advantage of free food
Our motel offered a free continental breakfast. It wasn’t super fancy, but it was a free meal. Before booking your room, ask about any included meals—it can be a real money saver.
#10 Ask locals
I always try to befriend locals wherever I go. Friendly locals can be a tremendous resource—they are full of great recommendations and often know of free events (i.e., concerts, festivals, etc). Be friendly and wear your smile.
With $87 for a room, $28 for dinner, $10 for beverages and another $25 worth of gas, our grand total came out to a very doable $150. Turns out, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a wonderful and amazing vacation adventure.
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