A new survey of 1,200 participants commissioned by The Smiley Group and Nationwide Insurance shows 58 percent of African Americans expect their household situation to be better a year from now, compared to only 30 percent of the general population sharing similar optimism.
While African Americans say they think their financial situation will improve in the next year, most of those surveyed indicated they are not taking deliberate actions to better their financial circumstances:
- Less than half say they are proactive about their financial future
- 3 in 4 say they do not have a written financial plan
- 1 in 3 say they don't know where to start when it comes to personal financial planning
African Americans are more confident than their general population peers in their ability to make savings and investment decisions (52 percent vs. 43 percent), but are also more likely to indicate they are struggling with credit card debt (38 percent vs. 32 percent).
On saving for college, nearly half of all survey participants with children under 21 said they are very or extremely worried about being able to afford a college education for their children, while only about one in 20 of all survey participants say they actually have a college savings plan. Only 3 percent say saving for education is the most important goal.
African Americans aren't alone in their tendency to avoid the topic of finances. Like the general population, we rank sex and not having enough money as the top two topics they are least comfortable discussing with family members, far outranking religion or politics.
African American respondents admitted more frequently to taking some type of action to avoid conversations about finances (45 percent vs. 39 percent of the general population). Generally, of those who are willing to make this admission, actions taken to avoid the conversation included screening calls and cutting off a relationship.
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I know that I need to do better. How about you? Am I the only villager who sometimes tries to avoid creditors? Is it time for us get serious about the Declaration of Financial Empowerment?