It’s been said many times that Hispanics are the fastest growing demographic in the United States and the financial planning industry is certainly aware of that reality.
Yet the results of Prudential Financial’s 2014 Hispanic American Financial Experience survey reveal that the industry as a whole needs to do much more groundwork in order to understand the Latino community, the way in which its wired and its specific financial planning goals.
What’s lacking, according to a panel of participants who discussed the survey’s key findings in Miami Wednesday, is a more nuanced approach to the Hispanic-American community by the financial planning industry – one that takes into account exactly where Hispanic families are on the “acculturation” spectrum and helps them bridge the gap between their cultural peculiarities with respect to financial planning and the mindset and plethora of financial planning options that exist in the U.S.
The key to that approach, said Anna Escobedo Cabral, Unit Chief for Strategic Communications in the External Relations Division of the Inter-American Development Bank, who also served as the 42nd Treasurer of the United States, is information. Being able to give the right information to Hispanic families, whether they’re at a lifestage where putting food on the table is their greatest concern, or whether they’re working in a professional capacity, should be a key consideration for financial planners.
“People have the power and the tools here — they just need to access the information and that is how their quality of life will improve and bolster their aspirations for themselves and their families,” Cabral said.
According to the survey, Hispanics are more than willing to engage with financial advisors. But they feel advisors aren’t reaching out to them enough. Whether that’s because of a perceived language and cultural barrier on the part of advisors isn’t clear, said George Castineiras, senior VP of total retirement solutions at Prudential, but advisors need to know that most Hispanics are not looking for an advisor to speak to them in Spanish: They just want to be able to engage with someone they can trust, he said, and cultivating that relationship of trust is extremely important.