AARP Survey: Economic Recession Negatively Impacting Health and Financial Security of Hispanic Boomers

WASHINGTON, DC–(ENEWSPF)–March 29, 2010.  The current economic recession has forced many Hispanics age 45+ to cope by making increasingly difficult decisions that may impact their long-term health and financial security, according to a new survey by AARP, in collaboration with the National Hispana Leadership Institute and impreMedia. In particular, many Hispanic boomers provide significant support for the health and basic needs of their children and parents – serving as members of the so-called “sandwich generation” – and find themselves stretched thin as they struggle to maintain their own finances and prepare for retirement.

The survey found that over the last 12 months:
* 60% of Hispanics 45+ got less sleep due to stress or worry.
* 43% had problems paying for essential items, such as food and utilities.
* More than a third (35%) have cut back on their medications.
* Twice as many Hispanics 45+ lost a job than the general population (21% vs. 10%).
* Almost one-third (32%) who did not lose their job had hours or pay cut.
* One in five (20%) lost their employer-sponsored health insurance.

At the same time, Hispanic baby boomers (age 45-64) are more likely than older Hispanics (age 65+) to be responsible for caring for a parent (24% versus 4%), a spouse (45% versus 33%), a minor child (37% versus 12%), or an adult child (31% versus 7%). Almost half of Hispanic boomers (46%) have helped a child pay bills or expenses, with nearly three in ten (28%) helping a parent pay for their expenses.

“It is alarming that six in ten Hispanics 45+ are losing sleep because they are worried about making ends meet,” said AARP Vice President Raquel Egusquiza. “This statistic is one of several within the survey that illustrates how coping with this economic recession has been extremely difficult for Hispanics 45+, and has intensified the sacrifices that many have made for the well-being of their family above all others.”

HISPANICS 45+ LIMIT IMPACT OF RECESSION

Hispanics 45+ have taken many positive steps to rebound from the impact of the recession in their work and career. Nineteen percent of Hispanics 45+ have delayed retirement, with 10% taking a second job to increase family income. Almost one in ten (9%) spouses have taken a second job as well.

Hispanics 45+ have also taken trainings to both keep skills up to date (29%) and to gain skills for new jobs 12%). Over a quarter (26%) reported looking for new jobs with Hispanics 45+ twice as likely as the general population to have started their own business (8% versus 4%). Hispanics 45+ also said they plan to take trainings in the future, attend a job fair (31%) and start their own business (22%).

“During these tough economic times, Hispanics have also learned to be resilient, and are doing everything they can to improve their economic situation for themselves and for their families,” said Egusquiza.

DIFFICULT DECISIONS AFFECT ECONOMIC SECURITY

Unfortunately, Hispanics 45+ have been forced to make increasingly difficult decisions to cope with this economic downturn—decisions that could have serious long-term consequences. This survey found that only one-third (33%) have a retirement plan, either a 401(k), 403(b) or an IRA. Of those who reported having a retirement plan, 45% stopped contributing to their retirement savings, and over a quarter (28%) prematurely withdrew funds from their retirement nest eggs. One-third (33%) have carried a higher balance on their credit cards during the past 12 months.

“The recession has driven many Hispanics to make hard choices now that may lead to serious problems down the road,” added Egusquiza. “No one wants to borrow against their financial security. Even worse, skimping on your health care can lead to higher costs as you age.”

MANY TURN TO FAMILIES FOR SUPPORT AND INFORMATION

Faced with the extraordinary impact of the recession, Hispanics boomers as compared to older Hispanics are more likely to turn to and offer help to family members to cope with financial hardships.

One in four Hispanic boomers (25%) consulted family members about finances. Twenty one percent had a child move in for financial reasons, with 38% having to borrow money to pay for everyday living expenses. Hispanic boomers reported being more likely than Hispanics 65+ to seek out financial information from all sources available.

“This survey shows that Hispanics 45+ are managing as best they can in this economy and reaching out for assistance from family members. The good news is that there are many resources available to help people get back on track, and to help families make the best decisions for their health and economic future,” said Egusquiza.

AARP offers free online resources, publications, and information on events to help Americans cope in this economy—available in English and Spanish at www.aarp.org/realrelief. These include AARP Real Relief, which offers a wide range of tools to help people look for work, manage finances and find public benefits; links to AARP Career Fairs in 48 cities in 19 states to explore job opportunities and to learn how to effectively promote one’s abilities and experience; and financial tip sheets that help people save and plan for retirement.

AARP commissioned the survey, titled “Recession Takes Toll on Hispanics 45+: Boomers Particularly Hard Hit.” The telephone survey included a nationally representative general sample of 1002 adults ages 45+ and a targeted sample of 400 Hispanics age 45+. It was conducted January 15-27, 2010 by Woelfel Research, Inc.

For more information or to view the complete survey, visit www.aarp.org/hispaniceconomy.

 

Source: aarp.org