New Ariel-Schwab Black Investor Survey Shows Black Americans Continue to Trail Their White Counterparts in Building Wealth
The results of the 2020 Ariel-Schwab Black Investor Survey reveal that Black Americans are not benefitting from stock market growth at the same rate as white Americans at similar income levels. The deep-rooted gap in participation between the groups persists, with 55 percent of Black Americans and 71 percent of white Americans reporting stock market investments. This disparity, compounded over time, means that middle-class Black Americans will have less money saved for retirement and less wealth to pass onto the next generation than their white peers.
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For more than 20 years, the Ariel-Schwab Black Investor Survey has compared attitudes and behaviors on saving and investing among Black and white Americans. African American participation in the stock market stands at its lowest level in the history of the survey. According to Mellody Hobson, co-CEO and President of Ariel Investments, and the driving force behind this study, “Black Americans are already behind the eight ball, and it is disheartening to see that at current savings and investing rates, the wealth gap will continue to expand, endangering our futures and leaving our families exposed.”
In a year like no other, however, there is also evidence of growing engagement in the stock market by younger Black Americans, with 63 percent under the age of 40 now participating in the stock market, equal to their white counterparts. The closing of this gap among younger investors is being driven by new investors: three times as many Black investors as white investors (15% vs. 5%) report having invested in the market for the first time in 2020. Twenty-nine percent of Black investors under the age of 40 were new to investing in 2020 compared to 16 percent of whites.
Rick Wurster, Executive Vice President, Schwab Asset Management Solutions, says, “These findings are encouraging for younger Black investors, but there is much work to be done to ensure that Black Americans have access to the resources they need to stay engaged and successfully investing for the long-term.”
His colleague Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, President of Charles Schwab Foundation, agrees, “Many Americans are struggling to make ends meet and don’t have access to educational resources and tools that can help them avoid financial pitfalls and get on the right track. Financial literacy is a great equalizer, and a life skill that everyone needs. We have a responsibility to help people develop the knowledge and skills to become financially confident and remain lifelong savers and investors.”