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Buying Power report: Blacks spend as economy grows
New 16th edition shows $507 bil in spending

The finding comes from the 16th annual edition of "The Buying Power of Black America" report. In 2009, black households spent an estimated $507 billion in 27 product and services categories. ...

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State Farm study reveals different attitudes on financial security by women of color

(March 15, 2013) A newly released study from The State Farm Center for Women and Financial Services at The American College shows how differently women of color gauge their financially security compared to women in the general population.

The pressure to pay off debt amid the challenge of meeting their own and their family's immediate needs are key challenges preventing many women of color from saving and building cash reserves.

These trends are common among the general population of women who, despite using a variety of approaches to meet their financial goals, still don't feel financially secure. The report titled "Survey on the Financial Needs & Attitudes of Women of Color" polled 3,000 Asian, Hispanic and African American women ages 25 to 75, along with a comparison group representative of women in the general public.

"Our research uncovered the key roles a systematic savings plan and cash reserves play in the financial security and stability of women of color," said Professor Mary Quist-Newins, Director of The State Farm Center for Women and Financial Services at The American College. "Women don't need to choose between saving and paying off debt -- they must do both to build a stronger and brighter long-term financial future for themselves and their families."

The lack of cash reserves exists across all income levels, hitting middle-income households the hardest. The survey found the presence of cash reserves are generally correlated with income and women who reported annual household earnings of more than $80,000 are more likely to have these funds.

How secure do you feel in your current financial situation?

Among the noteworthy findings on African American women were these:

While African American women report feeling the least financially secure, they are also the most hopeful about the future. Only 18 percent of African American women with incomes of $45,000 to under $75,000 feel extremely or very secure, significantly less than the average American women in the general population, who are predominantly Caucasian (26 percent) or Asian women (28 percent) with the same income.

Yet, 74 percent of African American women expect a brighter financial future as compared with 56 percent of women in the general population, 48 percent of women in the Asian population, and 62 percent of women in the Hispanic population.

To determine their economic priorities, respondents are asked to rank the importance of a wide range of financial issues:

Debt: The need to reduce debt trumps other financial goals, including saving in general and for retirement. Overall, three--
quarters of women say reducing or eliminating debt is a high priority, and this is most often named the top priority by women of all racial or ethnic backgrounds.

African American women (83 percent) are more likely than Hispanic (78 percent) and Asian women (70 percent) to call dealing with debt a high priority.

The proportion of African American women citing this as a priority is high, even among those with incomes of $75,000 or more (85 percent).

Retirement: Following closely after debt reduction, nearly three in four women say investing for retirement is a high financial priority.

African American women (74 percent) were more likely to place an emphasis on retirement savings than women in the general population (predominantly Caucasian, 73 percent).

Cash Reserves: A majority of women report that they are focused on saving for an emergency and growing their cash reserves.

More so than women overall, African American (79 percent) and Hispanic (75 percent) women say that one of their high priority goals is simply to build up their general cash reserves. These differences are evident regardless of income level.

Protection Planning: Few view adequate insurance coverage as their top priority, but about six in ten women agree that having enough insurance to protect what is important to them and their family is a priority.

African American women (67 percent) are particularly likely to report that having adequate insurance is a high priority for them, driven largely by those with incomes of $45,000 to $75,000 who feel this is important (65 percent) and those ages 55 and older (77 percent).

The survey was conducted by independent market research firm Mathew Greenwald & Associates, Inc. on behalf of The American College’s State Farm Center for Women and Financial Services. Responses were gathered through an online survey with a total of 3,000 women, including 2,250 interviews with Asian, Hispanic and African American women, plus a comparison group representative of 750 women in the general public.

All of the participants selected were ages 25 to 75 with household income of at least $45,000. Interviewing took place September 4 to 19, 2012. The data was weighted by age and education to reflect the total population of women ages 25 to 75 with household income of at least $45,000. General population and minority women were weighted separately. If this study were a random survey of 750 women, it would have a margin of error (at the 95 percent confidence level) of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

To view the results of the entire study, click here.

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