Blacks Lag in Retirement Savings

Nest eggs much smaller than those of whites

of whites) say they would increase contributions to their retirement plan if employers provided access to financial advisers, seminars about retirement investing, and/or education about the features of the plan.

“Employees want and need help with retirement investing, and employers have an opportunity to make a real difference,” said Toppin. “For employers who want to make a real difference in the financial futures of their employees, today’s turbulent market environment is a time to provide the information that many Americans so desperately need in order to finance their retirements.”

In 2007, blacks were investing in the stock market at the same level as they were 10 years ago at the inception of the survey, at a low of 57% (compared with a high of 74% in 2002). Investing by whites was at 76% last year. This year, blacks were participating in the stock market at 62%, compared with 82% for whites.

While overall stock ownership among blacks continues to lag, the historical preference for real estate among blacks is at historic lows. This year, just 39% of blacks said real estate was the “best investment overall” compared with 37% of blacks who picked stocks or mutual funds, according to the survey. Among whites, just 28% chose real estate compared with 55% who chose stocks and mutual funds. In 2004, at the height of the real estate bubble, 61% of blacks and 51% of whites said it was the best investment overall.

To download the 2008 Ariel/Schwab Black Investor Survey and to see highlights from previous surveys, visit or

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  • I certainly kick myself for opening an IRA so late in life, though Im only 37, I wish I had continued my interests with investments and things of that nature like I did in my early 20’s. Even the small amount Ive invested wont grow very much by the age of 60 so I intend to shift it all to my son when he reaches the age of 21.
    I recently checked on the growth of my retirement egg and it didn’t much of anything in 2008. Disappointing and I have no clue where to turn to receive a little more of a return so I can “feed the five-thousand” so-to-speak. (smile). But it was truly informative to read the survey of how blacks and investments compare to our white counter-parts. Thank you. Rhoda.

  • Margaret Barksdale

    I was laid-off from my job after a 29 year run. My job moved to Texas and I was not willing to follow it. I think the main reason we have not kept up with our counterparts is that we as a whole fail to live within our means. We buy our kids expensive toys, including the bling bling and we the adults do the same. It has been more than a year since I have been employed, but I am still doing ok and I have not had to touch any of my 401 or pension. I have almost always lived within my means and I have tried to teach this to my son. I recently opened a 529 account for my first granddaughter. Its important to me that I have set aside some money for her to start her education whether I am here or not when that time comes.
    We have to teach ourselves and our children that being the best dressed is not important any more. We do not have to always look like we belong on the cover of a magazine. What do we have in the bank? Just giving my opinion as to one of the reasons we are so far behind.

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