Minority Clients Want Culturally Diverse Advisory Firms

LinkedIn

By Diana Britton

While Hispanic and African American adults say it’s in the best interest of financial advisory firms to hire more minority advisors, they are less concerned that their own personal advisor be the same ethnicity or race, according to a new survey by Edward Jones.

The survey of 2,046 U.S. adults, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Edward Jones, found that only 8 percent of Hispanic respondents and 12 percent of African American respondents said it was important for their advisor to be the same race/ethnicity in order to build trust. When asked if it was important that their advisor understand their culture, only about one-third (31 percent of Hispanics and 36 percent of African Americans) said it was.

Jesse Abercrombie, an Edward Jones financial advisor in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, said his practice reflects the survey’s findings.

“I’m an African American FA, and I don’t have any African American clients at all,” Abercrombie said.

But Abercrombie believes that minority clients would like to know that there are people at the firm that come from a similar background.

“So it doesn’t mean that if I have a new client that’s Hispanic that I really need to know the Hispanic heritage, but I think a Hispanic client would be appreciative of knowing that Edward Jones does go out and make inclusive efforts on behalf of Hispanics.”

In the survey, 79 percent of Hispanic and African American respondents said it is in the best interest of the firms to focus on hiring minority advisors to better reflect their overall client base and the population at large. Seventy-three percent of Hispanics and 79 percent of African Americans believe it’s in the best interest of clients to have a more diverse advisor force.

“If you look at China and India, there’s a vast majority of people that are moving from one class to the next class, and that’s happening here in the United States as it relates to minorities as well,” Abercrombie said. “People are investing more; they’re wanting to save more, and they’re wanting to get more involved with financial planning outside of just a general savings account.

“Because of that, there should be more minority representation and diversity in financial services firms.”

Yet minorities make up only 8 percent of the industry, according to a 2007 SIFMA report, compared to 37 percent of the overall U.S. population.

“Every firm out there has growth as one of their number one objectives outside of helping the clients, but within that growth, they do all feel that inclusion—hiring minorities and females—is very important,” Abercrombie said.

“But I think the reason those numbers are still low is that’s where it ends. It ends on the recruiting, and after someone’s an FA with the firm, there may not be as much support and development going on to keep those people around.”

Source: wealthmanagement.com

6 Apps That Save Your Money While You Barely Lift A Finger

LinkedIn

Apps do a lot of things, including help us spend money. To kick off the year right, we’ve rounded up some apps that help us save ― or at least help us spend less. Here are a few that could tune up your budget in 2018, with hardly any effort on your part at all.

1. Earny

What it does: Obtains refunds automatically when prices drop on items you’ve already purchased
What it costs: Free

It’s so frustrating when you see that something you just bought is now on sale for less than you paid. About the only thing worse is not realizing it, especially if you bought the item from a retailer that will price match.

Meet Earny, which automatically monitors when retailers reduce the prices on items you purchased. When that happens, Earny goes one step further: It contacts the company to get the difference back, without your so much as lifting a finger.

2. Raise

What it does: Offers gift cards for less; sells unwanted cards for cash
What it costs: Free

Gift cards have wormed their way into our spending life, despite our tendency to lose them a lot. In 2015, there was about $130 billion in gift cards sold, almost $1 billion of which then went unspent. Yet we keep buying more: Consumers dropped about $150 billion on gift cards last year, according WalletHub.

Sometimes we intend to use them for ourselves, especially if we can find them discounted. The Raise app is one place to look.

Before you shop online or in stores, search the Raise marketplace to find discounted gift cards by brand, category or value. Shipping is always free on the physical cards, and shoppers save an average of 12 percent on purchases, according to a Raise spokesman.

On the other hand, if you have gift cards you don’t want, sell them on Raise for cash.

3. Cardpool

What it does: Operates an exchange for discounted gift cards
What it costs: Free

Similar to Raise, Cardpool works as a platform for users to buy and sell gift cards. Buyers can get up to 92 percent of a gift card’s value. Sellers may have to wait a bit longer for their money because, unlike Raise, Cardpool doesn’t post the funds directly to the seller’s bank account. Instead, the payment comes in the form of an Amazon eGift Card or a bank check sent via snail mail.

Continue onto Huffington Post to read the complete article.

New Year’s resolutions for career success in 2018

LinkedIn

By Eric Titner

A new year is often looked at as an opportunity for making positive changes, and we’re all familiar with the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions—as we end each year and look forward to the next, we take stock of the things we want to improve upon or change in our lives.

Those among us who are diligent enough to take things one step further set a plan for achieving our resolutions, and some among us actually follow through by putting in the time and effort to achieve our stated goals. And for the most dedicated and focused among us, sometimes a positive change and lasting result is achieved.

Our New Year’s resolutions can vary across an endless array of categories—from finding love, making new friends, and moving to a new city to acquiring a new hobby or skill set. Among the most popular resolutions that people make involve job- and career-related goals. However, while making a New Year’s resolution for career change and success can be the beginning of a wonderful new chapter in our lives, it’s really just the first step.

Positive intent can be a powerful motivating force for change and growth in our lives, but the truth is that it’s often not enough—this is the reason why the majority of us fail to completely commit and follow through on the resolutions we make each year. The truth is, most resolutions flounder in the starting gate without any real forward progress ever being made, and many others are met with a feeble, half-hearted effort that eventually goes nowhere. We need more than a positive attitude and hope—we need a plan.

According to a recent article on The Muse, “Those who took meaningful steps to achieve their resolutions—setting step-by-step goals or telling their friends and family, for example—were far more likely to achieve their desires than those who made no specific commitments… So if you really want to see results this year, it’s critical that you set your goals with sincerity, and set yourself up for success.”

What are your New Year’s resolutions for career success in 2018? More importantly, do you have a plan for achieving them? Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular career-related resolutions, and some advice for taking them past the “good idea” stage and closer to the “goal achieved” category.

I want a promotion.

Who among us doesn’t want a loftier position with a more impressive sounding title and a higher salary, regardless of where we currently work? The truth is, this isn’t always an immediately attainable reality for everyone—maybe you’re just getting started at your current job and it’s too soon to start thinking about a promotion, or maybe the place you work at is small and there’s no clear upward trajectory. Whatever the reason, if you’re seeking a promotion and there’s no obvious path for growth for you in your current job, perhaps this means you should make a more drastic change as part of your New Year’s resolution planning.

However, if there are opportunities for growth on the horizon for you, then take a step back and a deep breath and think carefully before blindly charging into your boss’s office and demanding a promotion.

Take stock of your current situation—have you spent the last year working hard to convince your boss that you are ready, willing, and able to take the next step to a new job with greater responsibility? Has your boss been giving you positive feedback all year about how valuable you are to the company and how everyone is impressed with the job you’ve been doing? If so, then you’ve already been working hard to achieve your goal of getting a promotion—the next step is choosing the right time, place, and method for asking for one. This is highly subjective and based on your individual job situation. Do you have annual review meetings with your boss to discuss such issues? If so, then this would be the ideal time to broach this subject. Or perhaps your boss is open to feedback and discussions whenever they arise. If so, choose a day when your boss seems to be in a good mood and go for it!

Maybe you haven’t been getting great signals that your boss would be terribly receptive to the idea of you asking for a promotion. If this sounds more like your reality, then it may be wise to concoct a more long-term plan. Spend the next several months—maybe even the entire next year—anticipating your boss’s needs, doing your job to the absolute best of your ability, and sowing the seeds for popping the big “promotion question” next year. Like we said earlier, sometimes you need a plan, and there’s nothing quite as defeating or draining as asking for a promotion before you’re ready and meeting rejection.

I want a new job.

Okay so maybe you’ve reached as high and as far as you can possibly go in your current job, faced every challenge, conquered every obstacle, and mastered every skill that you could possible acquire. It’s time–you’re ready for a change. It happens, and it’s a perfectly natural and healthy part of any career path. In fact, job changes are often great opportunities to climb to the next rung on your career ladder. However you should consider some advance planning before you race out of your current job screaming, “I quit!”

Get a feel for the current job market in your field and area. Are there a wealth of opportunities available, or is it slim pickings? Take a subtle poll of the folks in your peer network who work at other companies. Does it sound like you may be able to go after an opportunity through your contacts?

If conditions out in the job market seem great, then plan for your next steps—polish up your resume and cover letter, make sure your interview clothes still fit, and get out there! However, if you’re seeing some warning signs that right now might not be the best time to jump ship, then bide your time and plan accordingly. Don’t forget, you can do some subtle and covert planning for your next job while you’re at your current one so when the iron is hot you’ll be prepared to strike!

I want to make a major job or career change.

Perhaps you’re just not feeling completely happy or fulfilled in your current industry, and something is telling you that perhaps now is the time to make a major change. This could be a good thing—the truth is, job unhappiness is often a major cause of mental and physical distress and could have a wide range of negative effects on our health and well-being.

According to a recent Huffington Post blog post by Alexander Kjerulf, founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Woohoo inc, “Way too many people hate their jobs. Exactly how many is hard to say, but depending on which study you believe, somewhere between 20 percent and 40 percent of employees are miserable at work.” Kjerulf goes on to say that hating your job can weaken your immune system, make you gain weight, rob you of sleep, ruin your personal relationships, and even increase your risk of serious illness. Not a good way to ring in the New Year!

So, if you’re eager to make a major job or career change… you guessed it, make a plan. Consider making a list of pros and cons for taking the plunge. If everything in your life is pointing to making a major change, figure out what new goal makes the most sense for you. Take an inventory of your skills and experience, along with your interests and aspirations, and figure out which careers/industries you best align with. Do you have any friends or family who have jobs that sound potentially intriguing to you? If so, ask them more about it. Do your research—the Internet is a great source of information for researching new companies and careers.

Although making a big career change can be a wonderful moment in your life, acting impulsively could really backfire. There are countless stories of people who made quick decisions to leave their current working worlds for new ones, only to discover that they were ill-informed and really had no idea what they were getting into and wound up being just as unhappy—or even unhappier—as they were before. Don’t become just another unfortunate member of this group. Plan wisely and carefully, and you’ll be setting yourself up for a real shot at positive and lasting change.
I want to build new job skills.

This is a great goal for most of us and can really help put you in a better position to achieve the other resolutions on this list in the future—getting a promotion or a new job, or even changing industries. And even if none of these goals are in your immediate future, acquiring new skills can be a rewarding and fulfilling enterprise on its own and help us feel more empowered and effective in our current positions.

If you’re looking to acquire new job skills in the new year, consider the following. Do you want to acquire skills that will make you more effective at your current job or a new one? Your answer to this question will help you determine which skills you should look at. Also, are you looking to invest money towards acquiring new skills? If so, there are a wealth of career and adult education/skill-development programs available across the country; a great place to start is researching the offerings at colleges and universities in your area. You’ll likely come across a wealth of options, both in class and online—you just need to decide which are right for you.

If money is an issue and you’re looking for a more cost-effective approach, there are some great free and low-cost options online. One great resource is Skillshare, an online learning community created, maintained, and curated by veterans and experts in their respective fields who are dedicated to teaching others the skills they’ve acquired.

Here’s the bottom line—many folks who are unhappy with their work lives or who are just eager for a fresh start or new challenge take the new year as an opportunity to make a change, and it’s a great time to do so! Because so many people are focused on career changes at the beginning of a new year, many companies and industries ramp up their hiring during this time—and those among us who are serious and dedicated can take full advantage of this reality. If this sounds like you, perhaps now is a great time to move forward—but do so wisely and plan accordingly. Good luck and Happy New Year!

Continue on to read more articles like this on The Muse

Budgeting for College Students: Where to Start

LinkedIn

College marks a significant transition period for many young adults — it’s a time of newfound freedom and the financial responsibilities that come with it.

Whether your funds come from family, student loans, scholarships or your own wallet, you’ll need to budget for expenses like textbooks, housing and, yes, a social life. Knowing who’s footing the bill, what costs to expect and which ones you can live without — ideally before school starts — can reduce stress and help you form healthy financial habits for the future.

Have the money talk

Before you build a budget, go over some important details with the people — parents, guardians or a partner — who will be involved in financing your education. Discussing your situation together will ensure everyone is in the loop and understands expectations.

“One of the biggest obstacles we have [with] teaching young people financial literacy and financial skills is not making money and expenses a taboo subject,” says Catie Hogan, founder of Hogan Financial Planning LLC. “Open lines of communication are far and away the most important tool, just so everyone’s on the same page as far as what things are going to cost and how everybody can keep some money in their pocket.”

Here are some topics to start with:

  • Who is paying for college and how. Have a conversation before the start of each school year to decide if your family will pay for costs out-of-pocket or if you’ll need to get a job, rely on financial aid, use funds from a 529 plan or combine these options.
  • What expenses to expect. In addition to tuition, you’ll have to budget for other college costs, like transportation and school supplies. Make a list of likely expenses, estimate the cost and agree who pays for what. (See more on expenses below.)
  • FAFSA and taxes. Whether a parent or guardian claims you as a dependent or you file taxes on your own determines whose information is required to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, and who can claim tax credits and deductions. Discuss your financial status before each school year and address any changes, like a raise or job loss.
  • Credit cards and bank accounts. If you’re considering opening a credit cardaccount for the first time, are younger than 21 and don’t work full time, you’ll need a co-signer: a parent or other adult. You’ll want to talk about ground rules, like only using a credit card for emergencies and defining what constitutes an emergency. Approach new financial products with caution and be careful not to take on debt. If you plan to directly deposit funds from a job or allowance, look for a checking account that offers low (or no) fees.

Anticipate your expenses

To determine what you’ll spend each term, keep these college-related expenses on your radar:

  • Textbooks and school supplies. Course materials could eat up a large chunk of your budget. The average estimated cost of books and supplies for in-state students living on campus at public four-year institutions in 2016-2017 was $1,250, according to the College Board. Also plan for purchases like notebooks, a laptop, a printer and a backpack, and read the do’s and don’ts of back-to-school shopping for money-saving tips.
  • Room and board. When it comes to food and living arrangements, weigh your options. Compare the cost of living on campus and getting a meal plan versus renting an apartment and shopping for groceries.

Continue onto NerdWallet to read the complete article.

Hispanic Women are the Key to Hispanic Buying Power

LinkedIn

As Hispanics continue to thrive—in education, career, resources, representation—their access to capital and buying power will increase accordingly, and their purchases will have a significant impact on the economy, not the least of which will be the purchase of a home. It is crucial to learn the best ways to serve Hispanic homebuyers, not only to help them make the best purchases, but to ensure their growth is encouraged and safeguarded rather than delayed or prevented altogether.

According to the Pew Research Center, as of 2015, there were 57 million Hispanics in the United States, accounting for 18 percent of the entire U.S. population; this is a grand increase from 1980 when this group comprised 6.5 percent of the population. In their 2014 population predictions, the Census Bureau estimates that the Hispanic population will more than double by 2060 to 119 million.

NAHREP’s 2015 State of Hispanic Homeownership report shows that in 2015, Hispanic households grew by 245,000, 69 percent of total U.S. household growth. The study articulates, “For the first time in 10 years, the Hispanic homeownership rate spiked upward while overall homeownership rates in the country continued a downward trend.” The report goes on to reveal that between 2000 and 2015, Hispanics were responsible for 66 percent of American labor force growth; in February 2016, the rate of Hispanic unemployment was 5.4 percent, down 7.7 percentage points since August 2009; in 2014 the poverty rate for Hispanics fell to 23.7 percent; and in the same year, the median Hispanic household income rose 7.3 percent to $42,492.

When coupled with a purchasing power of $1.5 trillion, projected to increase and account for 10.6 percent of total U.S. buying power by 2019, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth, the potential impact of Hispanics on the housing sector is tremendous.

Education
Education has always been a critical tool to successfully navigate the American workforce and amass the means to become a homeowner; it has only grown in importance, as it is often no longer a question of getting an education, but of what level degree to achieve.

The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) reports that the rate of Hispanic high school graduation reached 76.3 percent in 2014, the highest in 31 years. NCES also confirms that the number of Hispanics ages 18 to 24 attending two- or four-year colleges has more than tripled since 1993. Additionally, according to the Pew Research Center, Hispanics who attained less than a ninth grade education decreased from 40.2 to 21 percent between 1980 and 2013.

The Pew Research Center also confirms that Asian-Americans are the population with the highest percentage of bachelor degree-educated or higher people with 51.5 percent, a figure that was 34.2 in 1980 and has improved steadily since. This upward trajectory is mirrored in the homeownership rates of Asian-Americans, which rose from 52.3 percent in 1980 to 59 in 2014, according to AREAA’S State of Asia America 2015 study. Receiving an education doesn’t guarantee homeownership, we cannot establish a cause-and-effect relationship, but it is very valuable. As Hispanics achieve higher levels of education they will situate themselves in increasingly favorable positions to accumulate the necessary means and resources to become homeowners, and homeownership in the Hispanic community will increase.

Capitalizing
With the potential they possess, the Hispanic population is of great importance to the real estate industry; Hispanic buying activity means millions of dollars in business, millions of homes being sold and an abundant client base. In order to ensure their growth is reinforced through homeownership, and their business is capitalized on, it is important to learn how to best serve Hispanics.

A recent report, the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate & NAHREP Hispanic Women Survey, sheds light on the secret to unlocking the Hispanics’ purchasing power: women.

The study found:

  • 91 percent of women surveyed believe that buying a home is the soundest investment they can make
  • 66 percent of women surveyed, and 84 percent of non-homeowner millennials surveyed, believe they will be capable of purchasing a home in their lifetime
  • 61 percent think they will make most of the decisions in their next home buying process
  • Half of survey participants expect to remain in their current homes for five years or less before buying their next home
  • On average, the women surveyed stated that they are responsible for 69 percent of household purchases over $100, and one-third of them reported being responsible for all of these purchases
  • 61 percent of respondents don’t think it’s important for their real estate agent to speak Spanish, but, of the participants currently searching for a home, 48 percent prefer a Spanish-speaking agent
  • 73 percent of women surveyed prefer working with a female real estate agent over a male

Providing utmost service to your client is the top priority, and agents must take into account what clients prefer from the start. Great service is crucial, sometimes receiving it from the right person makes a world of difference for consumers. As Hispanics progress in education and in the workforce, they will become equipped to purchase homes, and just as important as being able to buy a home is their desire to do so. The business, buying activity and opportunity is there, and as population estimates predict, it’s here to stay. For professionals hoping to do business with these potential homebuyers, learning the best ways of serving Hispanic women is the key.

Source: www.nawrb.com

3 Things to Know Before You Pick a Health Insurance Plan

LinkedIn

Choosing a health insurance plan can be complicated. Knowing just a few things before you compare plans can make it simpler.

  1. The 4 “metal” categories: There are 4 categories of health insurance plans: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. These categories show how you and your plan share costs. Plan categories have nothing to do with quality of care.

Which metal category is right for you?

Bronze

  • Lowest monthly premium
  • Highest costs when you need care
  • Bronze plan deductibles — the amount of medical costs you pay yourself before your insurance plan starts to pay — can be thousands of dollars a year.
  • Good choice if: You want a low-cost way to protect yourself from worst-case medical scenarios, like serious sickness or injury. Your monthly premium will be low, but you’ll have to pay for most routine care yourself.

Silver

  • Moderate monthly premium
  • Moderate costs when you need care
  • Silver deductibles — the costs you pay yourself before your plan pays anything — are usually lower than those of Bronze plans.

Gold

  • High monthly premium
  • Low costs when you need care
  • Deductibles — the amount of medical costs you pay yourself before your plan pays — are usually low.
  • Good choice if: You’re willing to pay more each month to have more costs covered when you get medical treatment. If you use a lot of care, a Gold plan could be a good value.

Platinum

  • Highest monthly premium
  • Lowest costs when you get care
  • Deductibles are very low, meaning your plan starts paying its share earlier than for other categories of plans.
  1. Your total costs for health care: You pay a monthly bill to your insurance company (a “premium”), even if you don’t use medical services that month. You pay out-of-pocket costs, including a deductible, when you get care. It’s important to think about both kinds of costs when shopping for a plan.

When choosing a plan, it’s a good idea to think about your total health care costs, not just the bill (the “premium”) you pay to your insurance company every month.

Other amounts, sometimes called “out-of-pocket” costs, have a big impact on your total spending on health care – sometimes more than the premium itself.

Beyond your monthly premium: Deductible and out-of-pocket costs

  • Deductible: How much you have to spend for covered health services before your insurance company pays anything (except free preventive services)
  • Copayments and coinsurance: Payments you make each time you get a medical service after reaching your deductible
  • Out-of-pocket maximum: The most you have to spend for covered services in a year. After you reach this amount, the insurance company pays 100% for covered services.

So how do you find a category that works for you?

  • If you don’t expect to use regular medical services and don’t take regular prescriptions: You may want a Bronze plan. These plans can have very low monthly premiums, but have high deductibles and pay less of your costs when you need care.
  • If you qualify for extra savings on out-of-pocket costs OR want more of your costs covered: Silver plans probably offer the best value. If you qualify for extra savings (“cost-sharing reductions”) your deductible will be lower and you’ll pay less each time you get care. But you get these extra savings ONLY if you enroll in Silver plan. This can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year if you use a lot of care. Even if you don’t qualify for extra savings, Silver plans offer good value — moderate premiums and deductibles, and better coverage of your out-of-pocket costs than a Bronze or Catastrophic plan provide.

If you expect a lot of doctor visits or need regular prescriptions: You may want a Gold plan or Platinum plan. These plans generally have higher monthly premiums but pay more of your costs when you need care.

  1. Plan and network types — HMO, PPO, POS, and EPO: Some plan types allow you to use almost any doctor or health care facility. Others limit your choices or charge you more if you use providers outside their network.

Types of Marketplace plans

Depending on how many plans are offered in your area, you may find plans of all or any of these types at each metal level – Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

Some examples of plan types you’ll find in the Marketplace:

  • Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO): A managed care plan where services are covered only if you use doctors, specialists, or hospitals in the plan’s network (except in an emergency).
  • Health Maintenance Organization (HMO): A type of health insurance plan that usually limits coverage to care from doctors who work for or contract with the HMO. It generally won’t cover out-of-network care except in an emergency. An HMO may require you to live or work in its service area to be eligible for coverage. HMOs often provide integrated care and focus on prevention and wellness.
  • Point of Service (POS): A type of plan where you pay less if you use doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers that belong to the plan’s network. POS plans require you to get a referral from your primary care doctor in order to see a specialist.
  • Preferred Provider Organization (PPO): A type of health plan where you pay less if you use providers in the plan’s network. You can use doctors, hospitals, and providers outside of the network without a referral for an additional cost.

Source: Healthcare.gov

Money Made Simple

LinkedIn

A personal finance web app by Mi Dinero Mi Futuro targets Latino millennials

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month last year, Mi Dinero Mi Futuro (My Money My Future Inc.)—a mission driven company that helps communities of color build wealth for their families and communities—announced the launch of its online personal finance solution, Money Made Simple™, for underserved millennials to help them manage their money and make better money decisions.

The platform provides personalized budgeting tools, step-by-step guidance on important financial decisions, like paying off debt, investing, and retirement, and publishes tailored digital content on personal finance. Much like MintCreditKarma, and other personal finance apps, MMS allows users to track their budget, gives them personalized financial checklists, and makes its money by providing curated financial offers.

“We are filling a huge gap that exists in the market by targeting Latinos, African Americans, and others who have traditionally been overlooked by financial institutions and mainstream fintech companies. Our approach is to make personal finance culturally relevant and simple so people feel empowered and informed about making financial decisions,” says Ramona Ortega, founder of Mi Dinero.

Ortega, a former human rights advocate and corporate attorney, says that by focusing on millennials, her company hopes to increase financial security for those most impacted by student debt and economic inequality.

According to U.S. Census data released in April 2016, millennials—defined between the ages of 18 and 34—have exceeded Baby Boomers as America’s largest and most diverse generation. Millennial Latinos or Latinx are the largest and fastest growing part of this demographic.

More than half of millennials have less than $1,000 in their savings, and many point to a need for more relevant financial education. According to recent reports, the median net worth of white households is 10 times greater than Latinos and African Americans, directly impacting the financial security of millennials from these communities.

As one of the few Latina entrepreneurs in FinTech, Ortega is committed to helping underserved millennials become more financially-savvy by leveraging technology to make sure they get the information and tools they need when they need it.

“I created this company because communities of color have different needs and nuanced values around money so I wanted to make sure we had a fintech product that reflected those particular experiences.”

Mi Dinero is reaching their users through unique partnerships with universities, national organizations and community based financial institutions. It plans to expand its offerings through financial wellness programs for companies.

Source: Hispanicizewire.com

Hispanic-Owned Businesses on the Rise

LinkedIn

With the recent conclusion of another annual celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, here are business data that show gains in America’s Hispanic-owned businesses. The following data is based on statistics as of December 2016.

Survey of Business Owners
The number of U.S. businesses owned by Hispanics grew by more than 1 million firms, or 46.3 percent, from 2.3 million to 3.3 million from 2007 to 2012. In contrast, the total number of all U.S. firms increased 2.0 percent during the same period, from 27.1 million to 27.6 million.

Hispanic business ownership is defined as having people of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban or other Hispanic origin (such as Dominican or Salvadoran) owning more than 50.0 percent of the stock or equity in a nonfarm business operating in the United States. Hispanics owned 12.0 percent of all businesses in 2012, up from 8.3 percent five years earlier.

The rate of increase in receipts for Hispanic-owned firms also outpaced that of all firms. Hispanic-owned firms totaled $473.6 billion in receipts in 2012, an increase of 35.1 percent from $350.7 billion in 2007. In contrast, receipts for all firms grew 11.7 percent during the same period, from $30.0 trillion in 2007 to $33.5 trillion in 2012.

These statistics come from the 2012 Survey of Business Owners, which provides a broad socio-economic picture of business owners across the nation and is part of the U.S. Census Bureau’s five-year economic census.

The Survey of Business Owners not only identifies whether business owners are of Hispanic origin in general, but also their nationality, or specific Hispanic group. Each Hispanic group saw the rate of increase between 2007 and 2012 in the number of firms they owned outpace the national average: Cuban (up 12.4 percent to 281,982), Mexican (up 56.8 percent to 1.6 million), other Hispanic or Latino (up 44.1 percent to 1.1 million) and Puerto Rican (up 65.0 percent to 258,221).

Additionally, slightly under half of Hispanic-owned firms (approximately 1.5 million, or 44.5 percent) in 2012 were owned by women.

Source: US Census Bureau

One in ten Latino families cite winning the lottery as a method to pay for a child’s education

LinkedIn
Latino Education News

We’ve all dreamed of what we would do if we won the lottery. Take care of our family.  Send our kids to college.  Buy our dream house.  Travel.  The list goes on and on.

MassMutual Sudy: With many young families concerned about paying for a college education, the dream of winning the lottery is on the minds of parents who want their children to avoid student loan debt. In fact, nearly one in ten Latinos (9 percent) listed winning the lottery as a method to help pay for their child to go to college, according to a recent MassMutual College Planning and Savings study. But with one in 175 million odds of winning and raising college costs, parents should look at variety of sources to pay for their child’s higher education.

Other than winning the lottery, there are ways to help pay for college.  Here are three ‘must do’ considerations that MassMutual recommends:

  1. Apply for scholarships.  Look for scholarships available through local community organizations, foundations, corporations and nonprofit groups.   Online tools to help you:  FederalStudentAidand TuitionFundingSources.com.
  1. Fill out the FAFSA form. Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form is the first step toward getting financial aid for college, including aid that doesn’t need to be paid back, such as federal grant money. It only takes 30 minutes to complete online and provides access to grants, loans and work study programs. More information can be found on fafsa.ed.gov.
  1. Encourage monetary gifts (including 529 plan gift cards) from family members and friends for college savings plans for gift-giving events. 

To learn more about ways to help pay for college, contact a MassMutual bilingual financial advisor or visit MassMutual.com.   Or to help determine how much you need to save using free online tools such as MassMutual’s college savings calculator.

Latino Millennials’ Home Ownership Is Key for Housing Market Growth

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For Michael Alfaro, 29, who was recently married, home is a rent-controlled Los Angeles apartment while he and his wife save for a home. For Pamela Cervera, 30, and her boyfriend, it’s a condo they purchased together in Washington. The two millennials may not know it, but both are on the front edge of an important anticipated boost in home ownership.

How Latino millennials like Alfaro and Cervera navigate the expensive and tight housing and rental markets throughout the country is of increasing importance, because the future of home ownership in America will be shaped heavily by Latino millennials like them.

According to “The State of the Nation’s Housing” study by the Joint Center for Housing at Harvard University, minorities will drive three-quarters of the gains in U.S. households, which are projected to reach 13.6 million in the decade of 2015-2025 and Hispanics will account for one third of those gains.

“The fact is the majority of Latinos want to be home owners and will make up half of all new home buyers in the next 20 years. They have a central place in the housing market and finance system,” said Scott Astrada, director of federal advocacy at the Center for Responsible Lending.

But affordable housing and the dream of home ownership is not a reality for many Latino millennials, making this a priority for one of the nation’s oldest Latino civil rights organizations.

Continue onto NBC News to read the complete article.

MassMutual study finds Latinos feel less secure and worry more about money than other Americans

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MassMutual Finance News

Springfield, Mass.—Middle-income Latinos in the workforce say they feel less financially secure and worry more about money than other Americans, posing higher hurdles to planning for retirement and building wealth, according to new research commissioned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual).

Amongst the key findings:

• Emergency preparedness. Three in 10 Hispanics reported having less than $500 saved for emergencies, leaving workers unprepared and more likely to struggle if they were out of work for one month or experienced unexpected events. Furthermore, Latinos in the workforce are less likely than others to have at least $5,000 set aside for emergencies (28% vs. 42% of the general population).

• Debt. In addition, unlike other consumer segments, the study revealed that debt and bills/cost of living tie as the top issues that face Latinos in their households. Latinos in the workforce find it more difficult than others to manage their monthly finances and nine in ten attribute this difficulty to high levels of debt and not having enough money.

• Retirement preparedness. When it comes to preparing for retirement, Hispanics feel they are falling behind, and, more so than others, wish their employer did more to educate them about saving for retirement. Just over half say that having benefits through their employer makes them feel more secure.

• Well-being. Among the concerns and obstacles to middle class workers’ financial security, a key concern for Latinos is the well-being of their parents and their own personal health. While, like others, Latinos are most worried about politics and the direction of the country, they are also more likely than others to express concern about their household’s financial situation and housing situation. More than half worry about household finances at least once a week.

“Securing a good financial future requires saving and planning,” says David Hufnagel, Latino market director, MassMutual. “We want to empower families with resources and tools to help achieve their financial goals and prepare financially for the long-term.”

Based on the research findings, MassMutual offers the following tips:

1. Develop a monthly budget and set up/reallocate priorities for short and long-term financial planning and saving.

2. Start saving for retirement as soon as possible and find out if your employer offers retirement saving plans. (Contributing a portion of your pay on a pre-tax basis to your employer’s retirement plan may help make saving more affordable. Calculate how much you need to save for retirement using online tools like the MassMutual Retirement Planning Calculator.)

3. If you have hopes to help fund a college education for children or loved ones, calculate how much it will cast with MassMutual’s college savings calculator.

4. Take advantage of financial educational opportunities offered by your employer and trusted financial advisors.

“It is no surprise that our study found that Latinos in the workforce would welcome additional financial help and guidance from their employers,” said Hufnagel. “In fact, our research revealed that Latinos show much more interest in employer-offered financial planning/counseling services, especially budgeting assistance and debt counseling, than other consumer segments.”

Methodology

The internet-based study conducted on behalf of MassMutual by Greenwald & Associates from February 28 to March 14, 2017 polled 513 Americans who identified themselves as Hispanic with annual household incomes of between $35,000 and $150,000.

About MassMutual

MassMutual is a leading mutual life insurance company that that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policyowners. MassMutual offers a wide range of financial products and services, including life insurance, disability income insurance, long term care insurance, annuities, retirement plans and other employee benefits. For more information, visit massmutual.com.

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