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America's vast 'savings gap'
Survey: Nearly 60 of U.S. adults do not own investment tool; disparity between whites, minorities.
December 16, 2005: 5:27 PM EST

NEW YORK ( - Almost 60 percent of American adults do not have an individual retirement account or own any investment product such as stocks or bonds, according to a study published Friday.

Surveying 800 adults nationwide by telephone, the Coalition for Financial Security and the League of United Latin American Citizens, learned that a large number of Americans do not rely on financial tools to save for the future, while many do not even have life insurance.

That gap, according to the non-profit group, stems from not knowing about these investment options, how to obtain them or how to reach professionals to get more information.

"This survey shows that many Americans without investment and insurance tools have never been contacted about them and do not know the professionals who can help them build a stronger financial foundation," Raul Yzaguirre, a board member of the Coalition for Financial Security, said in a statement.

Among the study's other findings were 85 percent of those Americans who do not have an individual retirement account do not know anyone who offers them.

90 percent of those adults who do not own stocks, bonds or mutual funds do not know anyone who sells them and 86 percent have never been contacted about them.

That gap in savings' knowledge was even greater when it compared whites and minority groups. According to the survey, almost 40 percent white adults owned an individual retirement account or some sort of investment product, whereas only 27 percent of Hispanics and 26 percent of African Americans owned similar financial tools.

The producers of the study indicated that savings and knowledge gaps might be worse than indicated since there is a low likelihood that Americans without a telephone have insurance and investment products.


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