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How Black Investors View Wealth, Advisors: Survey

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What You Need to Know

  • Seventy-seven percent of Black respondents expect the racial wealth gap either to increase by 2030, or remain the same.
  • A similar percentage of Black respondents feel institutional roadblocks impede their ability to accumulate wealth.
  • Black respondents exhibited a deep commitment to passing knowledge on to someone else.

U.S. Bank reported Tuesday that 61% of Black participants in a new study feel better about their current financial situation than they did before the pandemic, compared with 49% for Hispanic, Asian and white participants. 

At the same time, 77% of Black respondents expect the racial wealth gap either to increase by 2030 or, at best, remain the same. 

A similar percentage of Black respondents feel institutional roadblocks still impede their ability to accumulate wealth; this number is even higher for Black female single heads of household. 

“We understand that, as advisors who work every day to help clients achieve better financial outcomes, our industry has an important role to play and much more work to do to reduce the racial wealth gap,” Gunjan Kedia, vice chair of wealth management and investment services at U.S. Bank, said in a statement. 

“This research highlights many steps we can take as an industry to better serve the Black community.” 

C+R Research conducted an online survey on U.S. Bank’s behalf in January among 4,024 people of Black, Hispanic, Asian and white heritage, and senior bank leaders also held in-depth focus groups with Black consumers. 

The research specifically focused on people with $25,000 or more in investable assets — those more likely to engage with a financial advisor or other investing mechanism to build wealth — to better understand how the financial industry can better meet the needs of Black Americans and what changes could deliver the most value. 

U.S. Bank said in the statement that it will use the research to apply its core competencies as a financial institution to help close the racial wealth gap. The bank has committed to a series of initiatives across the business to increase wealth building opportunities, starting with the Black community.

Sense of Duty

Black respondents in the survey exhibited a deep commitment to advancing the Black community through the “each one, teach one” concept — according to U.S. Bank, the idea of passing knowledge or learning on to someone else. 

Sixty-six percent of all Black respondents considered their community at a disadvantage in terms of wealth accumulation, compared with 37% of Hispanics, 17% of Asians and 7% of whites who expressed similar feelings about their respective communities. 

Seven in 10 Black participants said they feel a sense of responsibility to their community, compared with 58% of Hispanic, 35% of Asian and 28% of white participants. 

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And 61% of Black respondents said educating their family or their community on financial matters is important to them, versus 46% of non-Black respondents. 

The Look of Financial Advice

Nearly twice as many Black respondents as Hispanic ones said they have been treated differently by the financial services industry because of their race, and nearly four times as many as white respondents. 

Asked what changes they would like to see in the financial services industry, Black consumers were twice as likely as other survey participants to want to work with financial planners who look more like them in terms of gender, age, race and sexual orientation. 

Black millennials and Gen Xers consider it more important than baby boomers for their financial advisor to be of the same race or ethnicity. 

According to the survey, 57% of Black women work with an advisor, compared with 66% of Black men. This figure rises to 72% among Black female single heads of households.

Twenty-four percent of Black women said they feel anxious when they think about financial planning, whereas only 16% of Black men feel that way.

And Black women in the survey were much likelier than Black men to say the Black community is at a disadvantage versus the general population in terms of wealth accumulation. 

Building a Wealth Legacy 

Twice as many Black respondents as white ones described financial success as leaving a legacy. They were also likelier than white respondents to define success as being able to help the next generation. 

Forty-seven percent of Black consumers surveyed said they view real estate as a tangible asset to pass along to family members; 39% of white respondents agreed. 

Sixteen percent of Black Americans said they had achieved a goal of setting aside money to start a business, compared with just 8% of Asian respondents and 12% of white respondents.