The United States has always been a melting pot. Our diversity is projected to continue changing dramatically as Caucasian Americans become a smaller percentage of the population.
As reported in the most recent U.S. Census (2010), 93% of the U.S. population is made up of four ethnic groups:
- African American (non-Hispanic)
- Caucasian (non-Hispanic)
When it comes to something as universal as planning and saving for retirement, different attitudes, behaviors and expectations across cultural groups can impact the effectiveness of workplace retirement plans in helping employees reach their retirement income goals.
Plan participants who have questions or need help can have a one-on-one consultation
with a Voya Financial Advisor by calling 844-253-8692.
Key differences across major ethnic groups
According to a post-Census study conducted by the Voya Retirement Research Institute®,1 all four of these groups found retirement planning to be challenging. They all preferred face-to-face communication with a financial professional as a way to get information about their employer’s retirement plan. But there were some differences in how each approached retirement planning.
Here are a few key findings from the report:
- Non-Caucasians were more likely to get their investment information and guidance from online and media sources.
- More than half (57 percent) of Hispanics never calculated how much money they will need in retirement.
- 36% of African Americans, 40% of Hispanics, 38% of Asians and 35% of Caucasians report that they don’t know how to achieve their retirement goals.
- All groups expect their employer to do more to help educate them about achieving retirement goals.
Gender differences abound too
Inadequate retirement savings is a problem shared by both men and women. But for women, the risk is more acute. There are several reasons for this. Historically, women earn less. They tend to take more time off from the workplace to care for family, which depresses their lifetime wages even more. As a result of these two factors, women tend to receive lower Social Security benefits. In addition, women save less for retirement, have lower account balances and are less likely to have any sort of pension. Despite these issues, women will need retirement income that lasts years longer than men because they tend to live longer, on average.
According to a 2012 Voya Retirement Research Institute study,2 42% of women are contributing to retirement plans at the lowest level—between 1% and 5% of pay—compared to just 34% of men. And because women’s pay tends to be lower, that difference translates to even fewer dollars going into their retirement accounts. This difference is a big reason why women age 65-69 have saved just 78% of what men in the same age range have saved.
Almost half of all women (48%) expect employers to play a key role in helping them understand their retirement goals and the need to save more. Single women, who are less likely to know how to reach their retirement goals, have the highest retirement educational expectations of their employers.
Good News! The Program will be doing some targeted communications
to each gender in the coming months.
A 2017 study conducted by The American College of Financial Services3 found that successful retirement planning is correlated to high levels of retirement and financial literacy. “…demographic groups that display lower levels of literacy are at higher risk to have improper or inadequate retirement planning in place,” states Jocelyn Wright, State Farm® Chair in Women and Financial Services and Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies at The American College of Financial Services. “Women…showed significantly lower [retirement] literacy rates, which is negatively impacting their retirement planning and financial security.”
It is important for employers to be aware of how cultural and gender differences may impact retirement savings attitudes and behaviors so they can help provide targeted communications and produce better retirement outcomes for all.
1 Culture Complex; Examining the financial habits of today’s diverse workforce; Voya Retirement Research Institute
2 Women and Retirement Study; Understanding the attitudes and behaviors of working women; Voya Retirement Research Institute
3 2017 RICP® Retirement Income Literacy Gender Differences Report from The American College of Financial Services.