Nationwide Insurance survey reveals African Americans in DC are twice as optimistic about their financial future but most don’t have a game plan
Tavis Smiley and Nationwide Insurance kick off five-city On Your Side®Tour in DC with financial empowerment workshops
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 5, 2009
Gayle Saunders 614-249-3687
Vanesse Lloyd Sgambati 215-888-4673
Washington, DC — African Americans in Washington, DC, are twice as optimistic as the general U.S. population that their financial situation will improve over the next year. However, most say they don’t have a financial game plan and many don’t know where to start, according to a new survey commissioned by The Smiley Group and Nationwide Insurance. To help people plan for a brighter future, the five-city On Your Side® Tour with Tavis Smiley is kicking off in Washington, DC, with free financial and retirement planning workshops that focus on empowering people with information and resources.
“It’s one thing to be positive, but it’s another to be practical, proactive and prepared to weather this difficult economic climate,” said Smiley. “This survey reveals the critical need in DC for an honest assessment of our financial status and these workshops will help ensure that we are taking the steps necessary to safeguard the future for ourselves, our families and the next generation.”
This free event is open to the public and will be held June 6 at the Washington Convention Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tavis Smiley will start the day with a general session, which will be followed by informational breakout sessions on financial planning, career planning and insurance information to help participants protect what matters to them most. Participants will be able to ask questions and receive tools and resources about financial planning. Additional 2009 scheduled stops include:
- August 15 in Philadelphia, PA
- September 19 in Sacramento, CA
- October 10 in Charlotte, NC
- October 24 in Charleston, SC
The need to address financial literacy – especially among African-American households – is highlighted in the survey of 1,600 Americans – including 400 in DC – that shows a disconnect between Americans’ attitudes and actions when it comes to personal financial planning.
While 59 percent of African Americans in Washington, DC, expect their household situation to be better a year from now, compared to only 30 percent of the general U.S. population sharing similar optimism, most African Americans in DC surveyed indicated they are not taking deliberate actions to better their financial circumstances:
- Nearly half of African Americans in DC say they are not proactive about their financial future
- 2 in 3 say they do not have a written financial plan
- 1 in 5 say they don’t know where to start when it comes to personal financial planning
- 4 in 5 do not have a professional financial advisor, because they don’t think they need one or think they can’t afford one.
More than half of African Americans in DC say they are confident in their ability to make savings and investment decisions, but nearly 2 out of 5 also indicate they are struggling with credit card debt.
On saving for college, nearly one in three African Americans in DC with children under 21 said they are extremely worried about being able to afford a college education for their children, while only about one in 20 actually have a college savings plan. Only 12 percent say saving for education is their most important financial goal.
Hungry for Information
While few African Americans in DC have a formal financial advisor or financial plan, they are more likely than African Americans across the country to have a written financial plan and shop around for financial products and services. African Americans in DC also show a greater interest than the general U.S. population in obtaining financial and retirement planning information from seminars, a financial advisor, an insurance agent, family/friends or television.
“This study is encouraging because it says that, despite the economic downturn, there is a strong desire in many Washington, DC households to seek out advice and information to overcome the immediate financial challenges and plan for long-term dreams like college and retirement,” said Mark Berven, regional vice president for Nationwide’s Mid Atlantic Region. “We’re starting this tour in DC to help, because Nationwide shares Tavis Smiley’s passion about empowering people with information and resources that can help them plan for a brighter future and protect what matters most to each household.”
Teachable Moment for a Generation
African-American parents in Washington, DC, are much more likely than other parents in DC to have talked to their child about saving money and have done so within that past month (69 percent vs. 54 percent). However, of those participants with children in school, 4 out of 5 acknowledge they have not researched if their school teaches about saving money.
“Providing our children and young adults with basic information about finances and personal financial planning will have a profound effect on how the next generation spends, saves and invests,” said Berven.“It’s crucial that all Americans seek advice and information from someone they trust. There are many places to find advice for free and there are also professionals to help.”
About the survey
The national, online survey was conducted in January 2009 by the Blackstone Group. A Web panel was used to collect national data for 1,600 respondents split into four sample groups. General Population, ages 18+ (n=600) and African American, ages 18+ (n=600), General Population in Washington, DC, ages 18+ (n=200) and African American in Washington, DC, ages 18+ (n=200). The survey has a margin of error of +/- 7 percent.
About Tavis Smiley and The Smiley Group
Broadcaster Tavis Smiley is an author, philanthropist and host of Tavis Smiley on PBS and TheTavis Smiley Show from PRI (Public Radio International). Smiley has authored 14 books and made publishing history when the book he edited, Covenant with Black America reached No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list. His latest is Accountable: Making America as Good as Its Promise. The Smiley Group, Inc. is a communications corporation established in support of human rights and related empowerment issues. TSG serves as the holding company for various enterprises encompassing broadcast and print media, lectures, symposiums and the Internet. For more information, visit www.tavistalks.com.
Nationwide, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by A.M. Best. The company provides a full range of personalized insurance and financial services, including auto insurance, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, life insurance, farm, commercial insurance, administrative services, annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions, long-term savings plans and health and productivity services. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com.
Nationwide, the Nationwide Framemark and On Your Side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.