The Hispanic population in the United States has been one of the fastest-growing demographics over the past two decades. 

Still, there are a number of financial disparities between Hispanic and Latino Americans and their white peers, especially Latina women. Hispanic women earn a median annual salary of $39,511, compared with a median of $55,330 among white women and $61,740 for white men, according to Labor Department data

Additionally, while Latino and Hispanic families have seen their wealth grow by an average of 7% each year over roughly the same time period, according to the Fed’s latest Survey of Consumer Finances, they still have far less than white households.

Hispanic households of any race have a median net worth of around $31,700, compared with $187,300 among white, non-Hispanic households, the most recent Census Bureau data reveals.

The gap between Hispanic and non-Hispanic wealth won’t close overnight. But Latina women are moving in the right direction: 52% of Hispanic and Latina investors say they feel more knowledgeable about their investments and retirement planning than they did five years ago according to J.P. Morgan Wealth Management’s 2023 Diverse Investor Study.

Strides in Latina investing

Women broadly feel more confident in their investing decisions than they did five years ago. And what’s more, they’re staying consistent even through some market turbulence — overall, 83% of women are investing the same amount or more in their brokerage accounts compared with last year. That number is around 81% for Hispanic and Latina investors, the survey found.

The financial fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic may have inspired some women to take more steps to protect their families from financial turmoil in the future, Jennifer Navarro, head of communications at J.P. Morgan Wealth Advisors, tells CNBC Make It.

Plus, a rise in resources like social media educators and educational initiatives from banks and firms like J.P. Morgan have helped increase financial literacy in historically underserved communities, she says.

“We’re doing better, but not good enough, not where we need to be,” she says.

The idea of generational wealth is about more than just passing down assets, but knowledge too. Navarro, who is Hispanic herself, says in her experience, investing in the stock market was always seen as a huge risk. Her mother, like many others, understood the importance of saving money, but not the power of investing to help grow your money and support your long-term goals.

Getting more Latinas investing can help improve financial literacy in the community because not only are the individual investors learning and seeing the impact of having money invested, but they take those lessons home to their kids or older relatives to help them learn as well. Navarro highlights the fact that families — especially white ones — with long lines of generational wealth grow up talking about investing “around the dinner table.”

Since that’s not the case for many Hispanic and Latino folks, financial institutions and advisors need to “know how to approach this community, how to talk to this community, what type of products you need to serve this community because they are different — not all investors are the same,” Navarro says.

What sets Latina investors apart

Compared with men, women investors are more likely to report investing to help support their families. This is even more true for Latina and Black women investors, the survey found. 

Building wealth to pass down to future generations was cited as a motivation for why 68% of Latina and 61% of all women investors got started. Further, 70% of Latina investors say they do so to help support their family and friends, compared with just 56% of all women who say the same.

“Why do we invest? We did see that Latinos do because we want to support the family,” Navarro says.

Hispanic households are less likely than white ones to have a variety of different assets including homes, stocks and retirement accounts, according to Census Bureau data. It’s encouraging to see a growing number of Latino investors beginning to build their own portfolios, but there’s still room for improvement.

Fearing that they don’t have enough money to get started is one of the primary reasons people aren’t investing, Navarro says. But she wants to dispel that myth and encourage everyone, especially Latina women, to invest what they can, even if it’s not a lot of money.

“Investing is not [just] for the rich,” Navarro says.

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