College-Educated Latinos More Financially "˜Disciplined'

The majority of Latino college graduates apparently are financially careful, watching how they spend their money and planning for their golden years, a small but revealing study has found.

About 62 percent of college-educated Latinos said they consider themselves to be "highly disciplined" or "disciplined" when it comes to money, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual, a financial planning and insurance firm.

Latino males are more likely, at 72 percent, to say they are "highly disciplined" compared with their female counterparts. Some 42 percent of college-educated Latinas described their financial planning as "informal." Of those who are 55 and older, 44 percent described their financial planning as "informal."

The survey, which polled 250 people 25 and older, suggests that as Latinos become more educated and assimilated, their understanding of how to manage their personal finances improves. More than half (55 percent) said they have financial plans to live to age 85.

The results of the survey, nonetheless, show that there's still room to educate Latinos about their financial habits, said William Taylor, a Northwestern Mutual vice president. "While the results of the study illustrate that many are on the right track, it also highlights an opportunity to educate those who are taking a more casual approach to financial planning, namely, older Hispanics and Hispanic women, to help them get to — and through — retirement."

With more than $1 trillion in purchasing power, Latinos remain largely uninformed about how to make their money grow. Nearly 20 percent of Latinos lack a savings or checking account, a basic point for financial management for most people, data from a recent FDIC report showed.