Both Black and White Investors Feel "Very Responsible" for Retirement Planning

June 22, 2006 ( - A survey of higher income black and white people found that the two groups equally considered themselves responsible for handling their retirement planning, but more black people than white people felt government and companies are also responsible for helping them prepare for retirement.

Ninety percent of both groups surveyed said they are “very responsible” for planning for their retirement, according to the Ariel Mutual Funds/Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. Black Investor Survey: Saving and Investing Among Higher Income African-American and White Americans.

However, more black than white survey participants said they thought corporations should share responsibility (38% v. 25%), and more black than white participants also thought the government should share responsibility (35% v. 18%) for employee retirement.

Almost twice as many black survey participants (67%) than white participants (37%) agreed that the government should be responsible for paying corporate pensions when employers go bankrupt, the results showed.

Two-thirds of the employed black participants, compared to about half of the employed white participants work for employers with a traditional pension plan, the survey found. The researchers attributed this to the fact that many more black employees (44%) than white employees (25%) work for government entities, which are more likely to offer pension plans.

Twice as many black workers than white workers hope to retire early and three times as many black workers said they want to start a business after they retire. Twice as many black workers (34%, compared to 16%) than white workers said they are saving money to buy real estate, start a business, or both.

However, white respondents lead black respondents in both retirement savings and stock market investments, according to the survey. Black survey participants have invested a median amount of $59,000 in retirement accounts, compared to white participant’s median of $93,000. As for retirement savings outside of retirement accounts, black respondents have saved a median amount of $36,000, while white respondents have saved $75,000.

Participation in the stock market among higher income black investors continued to drop off from earlier studies – from 74% in 2002 to 64% this year, but the survey found that higher income white investors’ participation in the stock market (83%) has not changed since the poll began in 1998.

Family also matters in retirement. Black respondents receive less financial support from their parents and aging parents put a heavier burden on them, as opposed to white respondents. According to the survey, 27% of black respondents have an adult living in their home other than a spouse, while only 18% of white respondents answered yes to this question.

Argosy Research surveyed 500 black people and 500 white people from April 26 to June 4, 2006. All respondents were over 18 and had a household income of at least $50,000, and they all said they were the primary or joint decisionmaker in the household in terms of investment decisions.

The survey’s 2006 results can be viewed here .