By Michael A. Fletcher,
Fewer than half of blacks and Latino workers have retirement plans on the job, leaving the vast majority of them with no savings designated for their golden years, according to a report to be released Tuesday.
Americans of all races face the growing prospect of downward mobility in retirement, the report said, but the problem is particularly acute for blacks and Hispanics.
More often than not, blacks and Latinos benefit little from the tax breaks and other policy initiatives aimed at bolstering retirement security because they typically have no money to save for retirement in IRAs and other vehicles outside the workplace, according to Diane Oakley, executive director of the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS), which conducted the study. In addition, they are much less likely than whites to have defined-benefit pensions, particularly outside of public sector jobs.
“Those are startling findings,” Oakley said. “The typical household of color has nothing saved in a retirement account.”
Meanwhile, a host of state and local governments have been cutting back on pension benefits for public employees, saying they cannot afford their long-term cost.
Such public employee pensions, which typically pay a fixed benefit for life, have been of particular help to African Americans, who make up a disproportionate share of government workers. ...
“One of the big issues here is a gap in access,” Oakley said. “We have what is essentially a voluntary retirement system and what we know is when we look at minority households, their access to retirement plans on the job is much less than that for whites.”