- A new study by Prudential Financial, Inc. examined differences in the financial needs and attitudes of various underserved groups in the workplace and the income inequality that affects each set. The 3,000 U.S. respondents included women, African Americans, Latino Americans, Asian Americans, caregivers, and members of the LGBTQ community.
- Among key findings in the survey, African Americans across all income levels were more likely than the population at large to prioritize helping others financially, including caring for parents or other family members, paying their children's college tuition, leaving an inheritance to their heirs, and giving to charity. Women in the survey earned an average annual income of $52,521, compared with $84,006 for men. Half of women said they were the primary breadwinner in their household. Almost 40% of caregivers don't think they'll ever be able to retire, compared to just 25% of non-caregivers, and caregivers were more likely to take out a loan or hardship withdrawal.
- In a statement, Lata Reddy, Prudential's senior vice president, Diversity, Inclusion & Impact, said a person's path to financial wellness is deeply personal. "While there are common experiences that tie us all together, there are also distinct factors that are unique to our individual journeys that impact the ultimate destination," she said. "These factors need to be clearly understood for true progress to be made." Reddy recommended that employers listen to the people in each community to understand their needs.
A new study on financial wellness programs from Russell Investments suggested that achieving long-term financial security requires employees to make behavioral changes. Simply providing workers financial literacy will not significantly change the way they think about and handle money. Another study by Bank of America Merrill Lynch reported that respondents said their employers' financial wellness programs weren't meeting their needs.
Prudential Financial's findings may provide a resolution to the tension found here. If employees need more in-depth training on how to achieve financial security and their employers aren't providing it, leaders may need to ask workers what they would like a financial wellness class to address and to what level of detail. For example, caregivers might have short-term, more acute financial needs, while other employees might need help with reducing their student-loan debt.