As the economy rebounds, millions of families have been engaged in the long, challenging process of restoring their household’s financial health. For many, however, the persistence of unemployment, underemployment, and shrinking wages have caused the delay and derailment of such efforts. African American families represent the group hit hardest in this environment but most remain optimistic about their financial future.
That was among the findings of a recent national SOAAF survey of American families conducted by Massachusetts Mutual Life Company (MassMutual) which took an in-depth look at the finances of African American households to determine their unique challenges. The objective of the study was to understand the changing landscape of financial security of American families, including that of African American families.
The following are survey highlights:
African Americans remain positive about their financial future and desire to put their family’s needs in the foreground:
- African Americans still believe in the American Dream. About 28% of respondents say they believe the American Dream is disappearing compared with 40% of the general population who believe the American dream is harder to achieve–a reversal of 2011 survey results.
- Family comes first. Three-quarters of African American households base financial decisions on their family’s best interest, compared to two-thirds of the general population. In addition, nearly 7 in 10 do not want to burden their children with having to take care of them during their golden years.
Debt remains an obstacle:
- Close to one-half of African Americans have less than three months of emergency expenses.
- Three-quarters have a mortgage that is underwater, with nearly 30% owing more on their home than it is worth.
The study concludes that even though many African American families face enormous financial challenges, they’re making efforts to overcome them by assuming an increased role in planning and decision-making. Moreover, parents ensure their children gain access to financial education.
By answering the following survey questions, you will share your views on key topics covered in the research. Black Enterprise and MassMutual would like to hear from you.
MassMutual Financial Group refers to Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), its affiliated companies and sales representatives.
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