Survey reveals African Americans in Charleston are more optimistic about their financial future than the general population but many don't have a game plan
Tavis Smiley and Nationwide Insurance to hold financial and retirement planning workshops in Charleston
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 19, 2009
Gayle Saunders 614-249-3687
Vanesse Lloyd Sgambati 215-888-4673
Charleston, South Carolina — African Americans in Charleston are more optimistic than the city's general 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 On Your Side®Tour with Tavis Smiley is holding free financial and retirement planning sessions on October 24 at the Charleston Convention Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
"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 Charleston 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 focuses on empowering the people of Charleston with information and resources. Smiley will start the day with a general session, which will be followed by informational breakout sessions where participants will be able to ask questions and receive tools and resources on financial planning, career planning, retirement planning and insurance information. In addition, individuals are encouraged to bring any employer sponsored retirement plan information that can help add to their financial portfolio. The five-city tour kicked off in Washington DC in June.
The need to address financial literacy – especially among African-American households – is highlighted in the survey of 1,600 Americans – including 326 in Charleston – that shows a disconnect between Americans' attitudes and actions when it comes to personal financial planning.
African Americans in Charleston are optimistic
African Americans in Charleston are much more optimistic than the city's general population (68 percent vs. 41 percent) 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:
- Half of African Americans in Charleston say they are proactive about their financial future
- 3 in 10 say they have a written financial plan
- 1 in 5 say they don't know where to start when it comes to personal financial planning
- Approximately 7 in 10 do not have an investment professional, because they don't think they need one or think they can't afford one.
More than half (60 percent) of African Americans in Charleston say they are confident in their ability to make savings and investment decisions, but 1 in 3 also indicate they are struggling with credit card debt.
On saving for college, 42 percent of African Americans in Charleston with children under 21 say they are very or extremely worried about being able to afford a college education for their children, while only 1 in 10 actually have a college savings plan. None of the African Americans surveyed say saving for education is their most important financial goal.
Hungry for Information
While few African Americans in Charleston have a formal investment professional or financial plan, African Americans in Charleston show a greater interest than the city's general population in obtaining financial and retirement planning information from seminars, an insurance agent, the internet, and newspapers.
"This study is encouraging because it says that, despite the economic downturn, there is a strong desire in many Charleston households to seek out advice and information to overcome the immediate financial challenges and plan for long-term dreams like college and retirement," said Terrance Williams, regional vice president for Nationwide. "We're holding this workshop in Charleston 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."
Charlestonians are more optimistic on the economy than the rest of the US
When you look at the entire population, Charlestonians are significantly more likely than the rest of the country to think their financial situation will improve over the next year.
- 41 percent of people in Charleston expect their household situation to be better a year from now vs. 30 percent of US general population
- Half say they are proactive about their financial future
- Only 1 in 4 say they have a written financial plan
- 30 percent say they don't know where to start when it comes to personal financial and retirement planning
- Three out of four Charlestonians do not have an investment professional, because they don't think they need one or think they can't afford one.
- About 1 in 3 are struggling with credit card debt
Teachable moment for a generation
Parents in Charleston are just as likely as other parents in the U.S. to have talked to their child about saving money. However, of those participants with children under 21, approximately three out of four 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 Williams. "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 investment 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 Charleston, ages 18+ (n=203) and African American in Charleston, ages 18+ (n=123). 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 The Tavis 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 federally registered service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.