survey of the financial attitudes of New York's Black Gen-Xers
4, 2015) A staggering 70% of African American Gen-Xers say they may
leave New York City when they retire, saying high debt, housing expenses
and healthcare are hampering their ability to save, according to a new
survey of African American city voters commissioned by AARP.
As Gen-Xers started turning 50 this year, AARP conducted its first city
survey of the generation, "High Anxiety: NYC Gen-X and Boomers Struggle
with Stress, Savings and Security." AARP then created a supplemental
report, "High Anxiety: NYC African American and Black Gen-X and Boomers
Struggle with Stress, Savings and Security," to take a deeper look at
what is driving the financial stress of African Americans in the city.
African Americans will be a large part of a looming "Gen-Xodus," with
large numbers of other New Yorkers also deeply concerned about being
able to retire comfortably in NYC. In comparison to the African
American numbers, 66 percent of the total population of Gen-Xers, and 56
percent of Boomers say they may flee the city. Hispanics are equally as
concerned as African Americans, with 71% of Gen-Xers saying they may
leave New York.
The poll of 800 city voters, split between Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers,
found that while financial anxiety is high among Gen-Xers and Boomers of
all races and ethnicities, African Americans in those age cohorts are
feeling financial insecurities more widely.
Larger shares of African Americans worry about unexpected emergencies
they cannot afford (66% Gen-X, 64% Boomer) and not being able to pay
their bills (62% Gen-X, 58% Boomer).
The top financial worry for African American and Gen-X (79%) and Boomer
(68%) voters is not saving enough, followed by insufficient retirement
planning (68% Gen-X vs. 59% Boomer).
Compared to the total Gen-X and Boomer voters in New York City, African
American voters are more likely to experience obstacles to saving,
particularly due to paying debt (54% African American vs. 44% total),
family caregiving responsibilities (46% vs. 36% total), health needs
(51% vs. 46%), and the cost of moving or changes in housing (46% vs.
African American voters in these generations also expressed higher
concerns about affordable housing (74% vs. 62% total).
- 68% of African American Gen-Xers and 61% of African American Boomers
worry about not saving enough to live comfortably in retirement.
- 73% of African American Gen-Xers are either current or expected future
borrowers of student debt; 61% of borrowers say these loans make it even
harder to save for retirement.
- 74% of African American voters in both generations worry that they
will not be able to afford their monthly cost of housing in the coming
- 29% of African American Gen-X and 21% of Boomer voters do not expect
to ever retire.
Gen-Xers are the first generation to approach retirement age with a new
playbook, having lived the entirety of their working years during the
rise of 401k plans and a shift away from traditional pension plans.
"These survey results should serve as an alarm that we to need find
solutions that can help ease the financial pressures that African
American New Yorkers are facing, while also helping them access savings
vehicles through their employers that can help them build retirement
savings," said Reggie Nance, Associate State Director for African
American Outreach at AARP New York.
"Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers have more in common than one might have
guessed if they live in New York City," said Beth Finkel, State Director
of AARP in New York State. "Neither generation thinks they can afford to
retire in the city."
The survey, and independent research, show coming retirement savings
troubles among both Gen-Xers and Boomers citywide. The average 401(k)
account balance in New York was only $30,811 as of last year, according
to the National Institute on Retirement Security -- which found that in
2013 the average American household had just $3,000 in total assets in
savings, and just $12,000 for those nearing retirement.
Among private sector African American workers age 18 to 64 in the state
of New York, more than half (52%) are not covered by a workplace
retirement plan -- that's nearly 440,000 people.
Yet the survey found 71% of African American Gen-Xers who are in the
labor force and confident they'll be able to retire say they plan to
stop working by age 65, despite the high levels of worry. This
disconnect between a lack of savings and expecting to retire at 65 or
younger suggests a retirement "reality gap," and points to a need for
more public financial literacy and new solutions.
The survey was released at a panel discussion last week in Harlem, with
speakers including Rose E. Rodriguez, Chief Diversity Officer, Office of
Governor Andrew Cuomo; Rawle Andrews, AARP's Regional Vice President,
Brittne Nelson, Sr. Advisor for State Research at AARP, Beth Finkel,
State Director of AARP in New York, and Derrick Holmes, AARP NY
Executive Council Member. Panelists included Ryan Mack, Mid-Atlantic
President, Operation Hope and Financial Expert & Television Commentator;
Nikoa Evans-Hendricks, Executive Director & Founding Member, Harlem Park
to Park; and Ivo Philbert, Senior Program Advisor, The Jackie Robinson
Foundation. The panel discussion was moderated by Toya Beasley, host of
Inspire U on Radio 103.9.
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