Regardless of how much they make a year — whether less than $35,000 or more than $75,000 — Black and Hispanic Americans are more likely than white Americans to prioritize helping family and friends over saving for their own retirement.
The findings are according to the 2021 Retirement Confidence Survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and Greenwald Research.
The 31st annual survey found that 47% of Black and Hispanic Americans earning more than $75,000 either strongly or somewhat agreed that it was more important to help family and friends now than to save for retirement, compared with 33% of whites who felt the same.
The pattern held for other income groups. Among those making less than $35,000, 42% of Black Americans and 47% of Hispanics saw family and friends as greater immediate priorities than their retirement down the road, a view held by only 37% of whites. Blacks and Hispanics in the middle-income group earning $35,000 to $74,999 were also more likely to put family and friends first. Forty-three percent of Black Americans and 47% of Hispanics in the middle-income group said that it was more important to help family and friends, compared with 35% of whites who said likewise.
Black and Hispanic Americans across all income groups were also more likely than white Americans to agree that saving for a child's education or paying off a child's education was reducing how much they can save for retirement. Among the highest earners making more than $75,000 a year, for example, 49% of Blacks and 46% of Hispanics said that a child's education was having a negative impact on their retirement savings. Only 35% of white American high earners, in contrast, reported a negative impact to their retirement savings.
"Many Americans, but perhaps especially Black and Hispanic Americans, would benefit from increased assistance in balancing competing financial priorities," said Lisa Greenwald, CEO of Greenwald Research.
The online survey of 3,017 Americans, conducted Jan. 5-25, oversampled Black and Hispanic Americans to allow for a closer analysis of the challenges they face in saving and preparing for retirement. Of the 3,017 people surveyed, 741 were Black Americans and 731 were Hispanic Americans.