Young Hispanics Changing Attitudes About Money

Erica Saylor by Erica Saylor, Tr3s

As April 15th approaches, everyone who has earned money this year is making sure they’ve given Uncle Sam his due. As a result, it’s that time of year for reflecting on matters of money — a particular concern for young adults, who have come-of-age during a recession and have been disproportionately affected by it. At an age when previous generations were establishing careers, starting families, and buying houses, today’s young adult is still await the expansive opportunities that were promised to them. For many – Hispanics in particular – those prospects have yet to appear.

When it comes to employment, Hispanic young adults have it rough. Hispanics 18 to 34 overall have an unemployment rate that’s 25% above that of non-Hispanic whites, according to a recent analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data by the think tank Demos. Research indicates, 1 out of 7 Hispanics ages 18 to 24 are looking for a job but can’t find one. The lack of job growth in the market is hitting the youngest adults especially hard: in 2012, labor force participation for total 18 to 24-year-olds fell to its lowest point in over four decades.

Combining findings from its 2012 research study “Hispanic 18-34s Living the ‘Next Normal’” with information from other sources, Tr3s has prepared some research on young Hispanic adults and their changing attitudes toward money.

Ostentatious wealth is “out.” For Boomers and Xers, brand names and high-priced products were status symbols. Tr3s found that young adults today don’t have that luxury. Money is tight, so overspending is not really an option. In addition, it’s a source of resentment — they connote frivolous spending, which they blame for our current economic problems, with poor judgment. This is true not just for young Hispanics, but young adults in general.

Money as a protective talisman is “in.” Because anything can happen, money in the bank is an insurance policy against tough times that might lie ahead, according to Tr3s research. For many, that savings account will also make it possible to move out of their parents’ house someday.

Hispanic young adults want to do better than their parents. Being financially better off than their parents is very important for 7 out of 10 Hispanic young adults, according to the 2012 Maximo Report. They’re almost twice as likely as white non-Hispanics to have this desire.

In spite of their difficulties, they’re optimistic about the future. The Maximo Report found that 6 in 10 Hispanic young adults feel the recession is getting better (a 116 index vs. white non-Hispanics). Tr3s also found that 61% of Hispanics 18 to 29 considers themselves to be very happy.

Source: Tr3s 2012 “Hispanic 18-34s Living The ‘Next Normal’”; Maximo Report 2012, NGLC, Motivo Insights, and Tr3s; Demos, “Stuck: Young America’s Persistent Jobs Crisis,” 4/4/13; The New York Times, “ Do Millennials Stand a Chance in the Real World?,” 3/26/13

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