The Latinx community isn’t just an integral part of the cultural fabric of the United States, it’s a financial force to be reckoned with.
Buying power has increased 212 percent among Latinx Americans since 2000, making it the largest ethnic market in the nation.1 In fact, if the U.S. Latinx community were its own country, it would have the eighth largest economy in the world.2
Despite this tremendous growth, challenges remain. For one, Latinx have a median age of 29.8, almost 14 years younger than non-Hispanic Whites3; since wealth typically accumulates as we age, that means the distribution of wealth within the community is heavily skewed. In addition, significant savings and investment gaps remain between this group and others. In fact, the value of Latinx’ retirement, brokerage, and checking accounts, as well as real estate investments, were found to be five times lower than those of non-Hispanic Whites.3
All these facts and figures show that Latinx Americans should consider focused strategies to help shore up their financial situation. Not only is this beneficial to you as an individual, but it’s knowledge you can pass on to your family and local community.
One of the best ways to position yourself for success is to put your goals at the heart of your financial planning.
Making your goals feel more tangible can go a long way—that is, actually put pen to paper and document what’s most important to you, and what you want your money to achieve. Is it traveling? Starting a business? Maybe you want to give to charity or leave a legacy for your loved ones. And of course, there’s the ultimate financial goal, retiring on your own terms.
Whatever your goals, anchor yourself to a plan for how to reach them—life happens quickly!
With a formal budget, you’ll be able to see exactly where your money is flowing, which can help you better allocate it to your needs, wants, and goals. Start by calculating your total household income and then tracking your current expenses.
While everyone’s budget looks a bit different, many people find the “50/30/20 Rule” to be helpful. That means 50 percent of your budget should cover needs, like bills, food, housing, and utilities; 30 percent goes to wants, like vacations and subscription services; and the remaining 20 percent is earmarked for savings and investments, including retirement accounts.
That 20 percent should also include savings for emergencies and other unexpected expenses or events. You can start small if necessary and build up your emergency fund over time, aiming for three to six months’ worth of essential expenses.
While investing comes with risk, and returns aren’t guaranteed, it can be a significant tool for growing your money. Over the long term, the U.S. stock market has grown, and the power of compounding investment returns means invested money has higher growth potential than cash.
So where can you invest? Start with your workplace retirement plan, contributing at least enough to earn a company match if one is offered. If you have stock in your company through an equity grant, or you have the opportunity to buy it through an employee stock purchase plan (ESPP), that can be another way to build your investing acumen.
When you’re ready to start investing in the markets beyond these workplace programs, there are a few paths you can take:
- Open a self-directed brokerage account, which lets you select individual stocks and funds and make trades on your own.
- Choose a digital investment platform, or “robo-advisor,” which automates investing.
- Opt for a Virtual Advisor if you want more guidance. With this option, a team of remote Financial Advisors can help you create a financial strategy and select investments based on your goals.
- Work with a dedicated Financial Advisor who gets to know you and your family, provides one-on-one guidance, and can help you with more complex financial needs.
Consider which path might be best for your needs and get started: a dollar invested today is better than a dollar invested tomorrow!
Just 28 percent of Latinx Americans have money in the stock market—including in a 401(k) or other retirement account.
Despite the common perception, estate planning isn’t just for the elderly or ultra-wealthy. It’s a strategy designed to help preserve the things you’ve worked hard for, both during and after your lifetime. It can also help you support the people and causes you care about, and reduce unnecessary administrative expenses, taxes, and family conflicts.
Almost 70 percent of Latinx Americans say they don’t have a will or estate plan in place.6 The process may seem daunting, but the more you understand the basics, the easier it can be to get started.
While your estate plan can include several key documents, consider starting with a last will and testament and/or a revocable trust, which can identify the person you want to handle your affairs after you pass away and how you want your assets to be distributed. You also may want a durable power of attorney, which appoints the person you want to make financial decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to make them on your own.
Estate planning can be complex, so consult with professionals who can help you assess your options and achieve your goals, including an attorney, accountant, and Financial Advisor. And just as important, discuss your plans with the people who will be impacted most—your loved ones.
When it comes to money, everyone’s starting at a different place. But you can build a plan for where you are now and tailor it to where you’d like to be.
Begin by establishing goals for your life and your money. Determine your income and expenses to set a budget. Make the most of your workplace benefits and decide which investing platform you’re most comfortable with. Help protect your assets and your loved ones with estate planning. And finally, look to professionals for advice and support along the way.
To learn more, listen to our podcast on Building Latinx Wealth.
Not sure where you stand today? Log in to your Morgan Stanley account to help get a clearer picture.