I recently wrote a feature article on marketing to the Hispanic community, and what’s striking is the role that a little education may play in boosting sales.
The term "Hispanic" can describe a wide range of clients, from people who moved to the United States yesterday to families that have been living within the borders of what is now the United States since before there was such a thing as the United States.
In many ways, U.S. residents with roots in Spain, Central America or South America are no different from members of other demographic groups.
Like everyone else, they want to plan for their financial futures.
"They want to invest," says Ruben Ruiz, the chief executive officer of the Ruiz Financial Group L.L.C., San Marcos, Texas, who belongs to the Hispanic chambers of commerce in Austin, San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley. "They want to save. They want to get all the benefits. They want to fix their income and expenses; their money management. [And] they’re going to do it with a person that calls on them and explains to them financial planning, investments and savings."
But Hispanic American consumers who happen to be immigrants or the children of immigrants may need a little extra help understanding the quirks of the U.S. social welfare system, and the same is true of other first-generation and second-generation Americans.
Ruiz, who has written many books about Hispanic consumers and wealth, notes that Hispanic American consumers are 10 times less likely to hold individual retirement accounts (IRAs), 401(k)s, annuities and life insurance than members of the general population.
"As far as a reason, what I’ve come up with over the years is Hispanics have never been taught how to accumulate net worth or wealth," he says. "That wasn’t the priority of their parents or grandparents. It was just go to school, finish high school, hopefully go to college and to become a middle-income American."
Moises J. Pineda, owner of MJP Insurance Strategies, Miami, says many Hispanic American consumers come from countries where medical and other types of insurance are provided to them at little or no cost. When they come to the U.S., they assume they will get the same coverage and, therefore, may not be aware of long-term financial solutions.
An example, Pineda says, is long-term care insurance (LTCI). "Many believe if something happens and they need that type of care that their health insurance or the government will cover them completely and that is not the case," he says. "Even with an annuity, if not enough money is used to fund the account, they will not have the required cash to cover expenses and allow them to get medical help. An LTCI policy would be more beneficial."
Of course, plenty of immigrants and children of immigrants, including those who are Hispanic American, know very well that they likely will have to fend for themselves when it comes to protecting their ability to choose what will happen if they end up needing long-term care. But, in some cases, those who have failed to prepare because of ignorance might prove to better prospects than those who have made an intentional, conscious decision to ignore the future.