African Americans in D.C. Fall Short on Financial Planning

June 5, 2009 ( - African Americans in Washington, D.C., are twice as optimistic as the general U.S. population that their financial situation will improve over the next year; however, most say they don't have a financial game plan and many don't know where to start, according to a new survey commissioned by The Smiley Group and Nationwide Insurance.

More than half (59%) of African Americans in Washington, D.C., expect their household situation to be better a year from now, compared to less than a third (30%) of the general U.S. population, a press release said.

Despite their optimism, most African Americans in D.C. surveyed indicated they are not taking deliberate actions to better their financial circumstances. Nearly half say they are not proactive about their financial future, and two in three say they do not have a written financial plan.

One in five say they don’t know where to start when it comes to personal financial planning, and four in five do not have a professional financial adviser, because they don’t think they need one or think they can’t afford one.

More than half of African Americans in DC say they are confident in their ability to make savings and investment decisions, but nearly two out of five also indicate they are struggling with credit card debt. Nearly one in three African Americans in DC with children under 21 said they are extremely worried about being able to afford a college education for their children, while only about one in 20 actually have a college savings plan. Only 12% say saving for education is their most important financial goal.

The national, online survey was conducted in January 2009 by the Blackstone Group.

Tavis Smiley and Nationwide Insurance are kicking off a five-city tour offering financial empowerment workshops. More information is at .