Hispanics In Houston Not So Smart About Money, Financial-Planning Firm Says

Consumer advocates will warn you "be careful when a deodorant company tells you that you stink."  Hispanic business owners might want to keep that in mind as they consider the results of a new survey by the MassMutual Financial Group.

Measuring the fiscal fitness of local Hispanic business owners, the survey says that things are dire for the local Latino business community; it says that Houston's Hispanic business owners lack not only the resources but the understanding to adequately prepare for financial needs of their company and family.

But isn't that true for every ethnic group?  Not according to Mariana Ruiz Posada, Director of Multicultural Marketing for Stragic Financial Group, a Mass Mutual Company who spoke to Hair Balls by phone. "If you're dealing with an Anglo-Saxon client vs. a Hispanic individual, the Anglo will always have in the back of his mind, even if they don't act on it, 'I really should have some life insurance,' or 'I really should be taking care of my retirement.' It's in the back of their mind because they've grown with it in their culture."

According to Posada, that's not true with Hispanics. "It has to do with the lack of knowledge that has been passed on from generation to generation, that's not present here. Hispanics think, 'If I'm managing to save a little, I'm doing good' or 'if I'm making my house payments on time every month then I'm doing good.' Those are the things they are usually concerned with, not the more sophisticated planning that nowadays is actually required. That's where we're trying to go into the community and show them, 'Listen, you're a business owner, a Hispanic professional -- a doctor, an attorney, and whatnot -- your assets have grown significantly and there's a lot of planning that should be happening here.'"

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So Hispanic doctors and lawyers fare no better than the taco truck owner or the paleta man? "Regardless, it's the same," Posada said. "The only difference is that with the more educated individual it's easier to explain things to them but it's still a learning curve. It's still a lot of teaching, a lot of explaining and that's fine, that's what we're here for."

Going back to the idea of deodorant companies that tell you that you stink, it's likely that you do stink. And it's likely that a large segment of Houston's Hispanic business owners are lacking in financial readiness and planning.

Here's the thing: chances are you don't stink any more or less than anyone else, and while you do need deodorant, a deodorant company probably isn't going to be very unbiased if you ask it for an assessment of your smelliness factor. Chances also are that local Hispanic business owners need financial planners, but not any more or any less than any other segment of the community and ... well, you get the picture.

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