Asian-American Women More Confident About Retirement

NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Jean Setzfand is instilling a sense of saving in her 11-year-old daughter by matching whatever she saves in birthday money and holiday gifts dollar for dollar at the end of the year.

"It's about teaching kids to enjoy life today while preparing for the future," said Setzfand, who is Asian-American.

New research by Prudential Financial released yesterday found that Asian-American women are more likely to be on track for retirement and tend to have a higher level of understanding of investment products.

"There's a sense of saving that's instilled in Asian children early on," Setzfand told MainStreet. "That's a lesson to be learned by other cultures."

The Financial Experience and Behaviors Among Women study found that while women overall are less concerned about their financial security than right after the 2008 financial crisis, some 73% of Asian American women feel they are ahead of schedule with retirement compared to 78% of African-American women who are more focused on reducing personal debt.

"Among Asian-Americans, many are graduate level or higher from an educational standpoint," said Jackie Chan, vice-president of global market research with Prudential. "Culturally at least two-thirds are born outside of the U.S., and the countries they were raised in tend to be accumulation oriented."

More than any other ethnic group, 48% of Hispanic women have assumed a bigger role in financial decisions for their households to ensure money is being managed to meet long term goals.

"It's clear the financial services industry needs to start doing a better job reaching out to women and meeting their specific needs," said Lori Fouché, CEO of Prudential Group Insurance. Overall, women are assigning less importance to long term financial goals, suggesting they feel more financially secure.

"It's not a good trend," said Setzfand, vice president of financial security with AARP. "It indicates that they are not seeking professional advice around finances and that they have a false sense of security. The danger is women aren't doing anything, won't be prepared for retirement and are losing time."