Financial strategies for the Hispanic and Latino communities, in the workplace and beyond
Morgan Stanley at Work08/30/23
The Hispanic and Latino communities aren’t just an integral part of the cultural fabric of the United States, they’re a financial force to be reckoned with.
Buying power has been on the rise, with Hispanic and Latino household consumption reaching $1 trillion in 2021.1 In fact, if the U.S. Hispanic and Latino communities were their own country, it would have the eighth largest economy in the world, with the third highest growth rate over the past decade.2
Despite this tremendous growth, challenges remain. For one, Latinos are a young population, representing one out of every four Americans under the age of 18.3 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 exist between this group and others. In fact, the value of Latinos’ retirement and brokerage accounts were found to be five times lower than those of non-Hispanic whites.2
All these facts and figures show that Hispanic and Latino 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.
Establish your goals
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!
Create a foundation with budgeting
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 track 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.
Invest in a way that's right for you
Just 28 percent of Hispanic and Latino Americans have money in the stock market—including in a 401(k) or other retirement account.4
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!
See why estate planning is for everyone
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.
Approximately 77 percent of Hispanic and Latino Americans say they don’t have a will or estate plan in place.5 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.
Take the next step towards a better financial future
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.
1. McKinsey. The economic state of Latinos in the US: Determined to thrive. 2022.
2. Latino Donor Collaborative. 2022 LDC U.S. Latino GDP Report. 2022
3. United States Census Bureau. 2020 Census Data.
4. Bankrate. Investing strategies for the Latino community. 2022
5. Caring.com. 2023 Wills and Estate Planning Study. 2023