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Racial Disparities in Retirement Savings Negatively Impact Retirees Of Color

While the private pension system has provided retirement security for millions of Americans, African American and Hispanics often get left behind. Tackling this disparity and working to improve retirement security for all must become a greater priority, say AARP officials.

Even during strong economic times, communities of color tend to lag in creating wealth and retirement security. As the economic recovery begins, blacks and Latinos are finding themselves further behind in creating economic security in their older years, said Roberto Rey, Colorado AARP Multicultural Director.

“We must build a retirement system that enables all American workers to retire with dignity,” he said. “We can’t afford to allow large segments of our population to spiral into poverty after years of hard work.”

AARP and the Ariel Education Initiative joined forces this week during a retirement conference in Washington D.C. to explore the role race and ethnicity plays in achieving retirement security. Leading experts and policymakers discussed the various behaviors and barriers that cut into retirement savings along racial lines.

“Retirement insecurity is becoming more problematic among all Americans, but for African and Hispanic Americans, this is especially problematic,” said Jean Setzfand, director of financial security for AARP.

Melody Hobson, spokeswomen for Ariel Education Initiative, said, “We are grateful that AARP, a world-class leader in this area is joining the fight.”

The U.S. Labor Department has developed a variety of resources to enhance retirement security for diverse communities nationwide and is encouraging the discussion. Many members of Congress are working to enhance financial literacy, increase transparency around retirement plans and ensure Americans are given the necessary tools to make the best decision for their futures, according to the Department of Labor’s Deputy Assistant Director Michael Davis.

“Historically, minorities have been at a disadvantage,” said Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, a senior member of the House Education and Labor Committee. “I’m working closely with my colleagues in Congress on proposals to establish financial literacy enters in districts throughout the country.”