Thursday June 17, 1999

UNITED STATES

HISPANICS THINK ABOUT RETIREMENT, HAVE NO MONEY FOR SAVINGS

Washington, Jun 16 (EFE).-- While a significant number of Hispanics are planning and saving for retirement, many lack the money, information and confidence to do so, revealed an Employee Benefit Research Institute retirement survey report published last week.

"There is a small, but growing segment of Hispanics who are economically improving. Their dedication to work is bearing results ... and this could translate into confidence to plan and save for their retirement," said National Council of La Raza Chairman Raul Yzaguirre.

According to the report, more than half the Hispanic workers interviewed - 55 percent - showed some or total confidence in having enough money for retirement.

Simultaneously, almost half of surveyed Hispanics - 48 percent - said that they themselves or their spouses were saving for retirement, excluding payment of social security taxes and contributions to private pension funds.

The percentage of retirement savings among Hispanics is much lower than those in other groups, such as African Americans - 54 percent - and Asians - 76 percent.

For these three minorities, personal savings are the main source of funds for retirement, according to the report.

However, Hispanics - with a 34 percent savings percentage - have fewer possibilities than African Americans - with 46 percent - and Asians - with 55 percent, of starting to save and calculate how much money they will need when they retire.

The results of the survey reflect the polarized economic profile of Hispanics, some of whom have substantial income, while others have low wages, few benefits and a high poverty index.

Yzaguirre warned that the situation is a matter of concern, due to the projected growth of the Hispanic population and its impact on the U.S. economy.

Although most Hispanics are confident that they will have enough money for retirement, two out of every five Hispanics - much more than in any other racial or ethnic group and almost double the figure of the white population - do not feel that they are doing a good job in getting ready for retirement.

Some 45 percent of Hispanics do not believe they will have enough money when they retire and more than half of them are worried about medical expenses.