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Job seekers wait in line for a job fair June 4, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois.
The comparisons are stark in a survey conducted by the Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation: only one in four African Americans and one in six Hispanics reported owning stocks, bonds or mutual funds; half of whites say they invested in those financial products. Just 46 percent of blacks and 32 percent of Hispanics said they had an individual retirement account or any similar retirement arrangement; two in three whites said they had IRA’s 401(k)s or similar holdings. It doesn’t get any better for these two minority populations when you compare home ownership: blacks and Hispanics are not only far less likely to own homes than whites, but when they do own homes they tend to have less equity in them. This has been a trend of the past several decades, exacerbated by the recent recession that seemed to discourage minorities from investing in the stock market. What can be done to encourage financial education and participation among minority Americans that need the help to gain ground?
Leticia Miranda, associate director, Economic & Employment Policy Project at the National Council of La Raza
Bert Hash, chair of the African American Credit Union Coalition & CEO of the Municipal Employees Credit Union of Baltimore