Financial Insecurity in Retirement for Black Americans

An overview of how systemic inequity affects retirement preparedness.

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At Fidelity, we think broadly about how to support and promote diverse perspectives at our firm and also across the financial services industry and beyond. We’re committed to listening and exploring within this space, and to sharing the best practices we’ve learned along the way.

To address racial inequalities, we must acknowledge they exist and understand the reasons why. Here, we leverage the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances to explore factors that threaten financial security for many Black Americans while highlighting opportunities we see in our Fidelity research and insights to help close the financial wellness gap among underrepresented employees.

What threatens financial security in retirement for Black Americans?

Generational Wealth

Average Household Net Worth infographic

Earning and Spending Power

2nd Fidelity "fact" infographic

Social Security and Retirement Savings

3rd Fidelity "fact" infographic

How do Black Americans feel about their finances?

Despite numerous obstacles, a recent Fidelity survey found that Black Americans are most likely to say they are less stressed and are more hopeful about their financial futures.³

Financial stress and optimism

Addressing racial disparities in finance isn’t a quick fix. However, we are committed to doing our part and sharing steps employers can also take to help close the gap. 

Review Benefit Plan Design

A well-designed workplace savings plan is often the most e°ective tool to building retirement security for all employees. Approximately 1 in 4 employers review the performance of their plan design quarterly.

Make Educational Outreach a Priority

Helping employees understand how they can reach their retirement goals is impactful. 7 in 10 employees say access to help with savings goals is very important.5

Encourage Employees to:

  • Create an emergency fund to establish a foundation.
  • Start contributing or make an incremental increase to their retirement savings plan. If they are able, communicate the importance of receiving full company matching contributions.

For more information on ways to take action and resources available, please contact your Fidelity Representative. 

Source unless otherwise noted:

U.S. Federal Reserve Board, Survey of Consumer Finances. Based on latest available data from 2019.

1Dushi, Irena, et al. “The Importance of Social Security Benefits to the Income of the Aged Population.” Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 77 No. 2, May 2017. Social Security Administration.

2Social Security Is Important to African Americans.” Social Security Fact Sheet, July 2019, Social Security Administration

3Fidelity Investments Inclusive Needs & Engagement online surveys among 3,596 participants who participate in either a 401(k) or 403(b) plan with their current employer. The survey was conducted by CMI Research, an independent third-party research firm, on behalf of Fidelity in September 2020.

4Fidelity Investments 2020 Plan Sponsor Attitudes Survey.

5Fidelity Investments Help and Advice survey, April 2017. Data collection was completed by CMI Research. Fidelity Investments was not identified as the survey sponsor. CMI Research is an independent research firm not affiliated with Fidelity Investments.

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