Seven Out Of Every 10 Latinos Lack Retirement Savings Plans In The U.S., Study Says

A majority of Latinos have no retirement savings, according to a study by the National Institute on Retirement Security, a nonprofit research group based in Washington.

Nearly 70 percent of Latino working-age households have no assets in a retirement account, and 62 percent of Latinos between the ages of 25 and 64 do not have employer-sponsored retirement plans. 

That is higher than the percentage of people in other major ethnic/racial groups – black, Asian and white – appearing to be woefully unprepared financially for retirement.

The percentage for whites was 37 percent.

About 38 percent of Latino employees ages 25-74 had a retirement plan through work, compared with 54 percent of blacks and Asian-Americans, and 62 percent of whites, the report said.

The study found that 62 percent of black working age households and 69 percent of Latino ones had no assets in any type of account for retirement. 

The findings bode ill for a nation in which Latinos are the largest minority group – numbering more than 50 million, including 23 million in the labor force, according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor. They make up 15 percent of the U.S. labor force, expected to rise to nearly 20 percent by 2020.

The dearth of retirement savings is rooted in myriad factors.

“Labor market and socioeconomic characteristics like education, skill, wage level, occupation, and industry clearly contribute to the overall racial gap in workplace retirement plan coverage,” the report said.

“That is, blacks, Asians, and in particular Latinos are less likely than whites to be employed in industries and occupations that provide high wages and workplace benefits, including retirement benefits.”

The mean savings rate of minorities who do have assets for retirement is far below that of whites, the report said.

For Latino heads of household ages 25-64, the mean was $17,600. For blacks it was $20,132. For whites it was $111,749.

“Ultimately, the fact that the labor market is segmented by race, combined with the fact that some employers and jobs offer access to this critical benefit and others do not, puts workers of color at a significant disadvantage in accumulate resources for retirement.”

But even while whites fare better than minorities, their savings for retirement still are inadequate for what they are expected to need in their golden years, the report said.

“The median account balance of $29,000 for [white] near-retirees represents a tiny fraction of the 8-11 times annual income that some financial experts recommend in order to maintain their standard of living,” it said.

People who work in the private sector are less likely to have a retirement plan than those in the public sector, the report said.

This may be another factor in why Latinos lag behind other groups in terms of having retirement assets.

The U.S. Dept. of Labor says that more than 8 in 10 employed Latinos work in the private sector, not including the unincorporated self-employed.

They are far less likely to work for government than are either whites or African Americans.

“With little to else to depend on besides Social Security when they eventually retire, people of color are especially vulnerable to economic hardship and reliance on public assistance in old age," the study found. "Addressing the lack of readiness among people of color is critical to solving the national retirement crisis.”

Elizabeth Llorente is Senior Reporter for, and can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Llorente.