November 2, 2012

Latinos Express Growing Confidence In Personal Finances, Nation’s Direction

II. Hispanics and Personal Finances

According to the Pew Hispanic survey, one-in-three Hispanics (33%) rate their personal finances as “excellent” (5%) or “good” (28%), an improvement from last year when 24% rated their finances this way. Despite an improving financial self-assessment, twice as many Hispanics today rate their personal finances as either “only fair” (50%) or “poor” (16%), as rate their personal finances as either “excellent” or “good” (33%).

Latinos’ ratings of their own finances continue to lag behind the nation’s. While 33% of Hispanics say their personal financial situation is “excellent” or “good,” 43% of the general public says this. This gap is similar to that seen in December 2011 when 24% of Latinos said that their financial situation was ”excellent” or “good,” compared with 38% of the general public surveyed then (Taylor, Lopez, Velasco and Motel, 2012).

Financial self-assessments are better among the native born than the foreign born. Four-in-ten (40%) native-born Hispanics say their personal finances are in “excellent” or “good” shape compared with 27% of the foreign born who report the same. Among foreign-born Hispanics, assessments vary based on resident status. Six-in-ten (59%) foreign-born Hispanic citizens say their finances are “only fair” or “poor,” compared with 76% of those with green cards but no citizenship. By a margin of 86% to 14%, foreign-born Hispanics who are not legal residents and not U.S. citizens say their finances are in “only fair” or “poor” shape instead of “excellent” or “good” shape.

Financial self-assessments also vary by educational attainment. Among Latinos who do not have a high school diploma, 85% say their personal financial situation is “only fair” or “poor.” Among those with a high school diploma, but no college experience, fewer (64%) say the same. Among Latinos with some college education, even fewer (52%) say their personal finances are in “only fair” or “poor” shape.

Women are somewhat less likely than men to rate their financial situation as “excellent” or “good”—29% versus 36%.

Hispanics See Improving Finances

By a margin of 73% to 15%, Latinos say they expect their personal financial situation and that of their family to improve over the next 12 months. This figure somewhat exceeds the expectations of the general public, two-thirds (67%) of whom predict a better year ahead.

Hispanics ages 18 to 29 are the most optimistic about the next year. Eight-in-ten (81%) say they expect improving finances, compared with 72% of those ages 30 to 49, 67% of Latinos ages 50 to 64 and just 58% of Latinos ages 65 and older.

Those who say their current personal financial situation is “excellent” or “good” are more optimistic than those who rate their financial situation as “fair” or “poor”—80% versus 70%.