One-third of Latinos blame debt issues on parents not teaching them how to manage money

NEW YORK — A new study finds many Latino parents are hoping their children make better choices with their money than they did. Only 51 percent of Latinos would want their children to make the same financial decisions (saving, investing, and budgeting) that they did.

A recent survey of 2,000 Americans between 18 and 41, half of whom identify as Latino, found that non-Latino respondents were much more likely to want their children to learn from and model their own money habits (76% vs. 51%).

Regardless of identity, respondents cited not saving money (45%), spending on things they didn’t need (45%), and getting into debt without a plan (41%) as the top financial mistakes they wouldn’t want their kids to repeat. Forty-seven percent wished their high school had prepared them better to manage their money as adults.

Conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by TurboTax in celebration of their #LeadingConEducación program, the survey asked respondents to weigh in on how their high school and college years shaped their current financial acumen.

Latinos reported being less likely to talk to their parents about money than non-Latinos (67% vs. 81%), with 50 percent saying the lack of this conversation made it harder to figure out how to finance their education.

Helping young Latinos save money, build for a better future

In addition, 35 percent of Latinos indicated that because they didn’t talk to their parents at an early age about how to manage their money, this resulted in having debt as an adult. Topics like saving (35% vs. 50%), investing (20% vs. 35%) and budgeting (23% vs. 34%) were found to be less prevalent in Latino households.

Overall, six in 10 U.S. adults say they faced peer pressure around spending money. More than half (52%) feel their parents influenced their spending habits, much more so than friends (41%), classmates (26%), or celebrities (8%).

Another eight in 10 noted that earning their own money helped them learn how to make better spending decisions. However, lacking a financial plan for continued education contributed to debt for nearly two-thirds of respondents.

“Part of our job readiness program is helping students develop personal finance skills and the entrepreneurial mindset needed to succeed in their future jobs,” says Alejandra Molinari, Lead of TurboTax Latino Communications, in a statement. “Providing bilingual educational content via webinars, articles and tax simulations plus offering bilingual expertise can help Latino students to build the foundation they need for a brighter future.”

Financial GAP latinos

Your financial knowledge influences your future

About half the poll says their level of financial literacy had a lot to do with the career and college they chose. Nine in 10 add being financially literate helped them choose a better-paying career than they would have otherwise.

Only 21 percent of Latinos surveyed have completed a bachelor’s degree, compared to 37 percent of non-Latino respondents. More than a quarter (26%) of Latinos say they were the first generation in their family to attend high school.

TurboTax and OnePoll ran an additional survey of 2,000 Americans between 18 and 41 which found that 60 percent of Latinos believe their lack of financial resources did not allow them to save money to complete a college education. Four in 10 don’t plan to finish a bachelor’s degree, with 23 percent saying they’re unable to afford college tuition and supplies.

Based on the first survey, 71 percent of Latinos think financial support — such as scholarships or educational grants — from corporations is beneficial to propel the future of Latino students.

“In addition to schools, financial institutions can do their part in supporting Latino communities in pursuit of their education goals,” Molinari adds. “Providing scholarships and grants can widen career choices for underrepresented communities and alleviate the stress of financing tuition costs.”

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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