If Carlos Garcia, founder of Finhabits, is right, then the financial sector is overlooking a huge opportunity when it comes to U.S. Hispanics.
While U.S. banks have shown a growing interest in the wealth potential of the Hispanic population, few have cracked the code on catering to the unique financial needs of a group estimated to reach $113 trillion in collective wealth by 2050.
“Hispanics represent a Boomer-sized opportunity for banks, insurers and financial firms,” says Garcia. “But right now, this growth is invisible to them.”
This largely untapped opportunity is what led Finhabits to release its new “Power in Numbers” report, which details the nuances of Hispanics from a banking and financial perspective.
Asked why financial firms aren’t seeing this wealth, Garcia explained that catering to this audience will mean looking at their growth potential. “This is a collective wealth opportunity—not an individual one.”
He also advises banks to treat Hispanics like the massive growth opportunity they are, rather than solely as an ESG or DEI play.
Finhabits is one of the platforms taking this growth seriously by providing its 680,000 users with long-term investment accounts and access to financial education.
Global Banking & Finance Review spoke with Garcia about why—as other demographics’ growth plateaus—U.S. banks and financial firms need to make Hispanics a priority over the long term.
You’ve projected the collective wealth of U.S. Hispanics and Latinos to reach $113 trillion by 2050. How did you arrive at this number?
According to the Federal Reserve Board, Hispanics’ net wealth has been growing at a 12.5% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) over the past decade. Assuming that Hispanics’ net wealth growth rate continues at the same level, then their cumulative wealth should reach $113 Trillion by 2050.
To put this number in perspective, Hispanics’ household wealth growth rate is nearly double that of non-Latino Whites (6.8%) and puts them on track to nearly match the current total U.S. household wealth ($140 trillion) by 2050.
To put a finer point on it: That’s 20% of the population reaching nearly 100% of the country’s current wealth in less than three decades.
Why is it important for the financial community to look at Hispanics’ collective wealth?
The U.S. Hispanic wealth opportunity is different from what the financial sector was originally designed for. In the wealth management space, for instance, banks are designed to cater to individual investors with at least $1 million in household wealth.
When it comes to Hispanics, we’re looking at a ton of everyday savers and investors—but multiplied by 20% of the population. That’s currently more than 60 million people.
Needless to say, this presents a huge opportunity for organizations that can expand their focus beyond high-net-worth individuals and toward the mass-affluent of this collective population.
Doing so will benefit them even beyond Hispanics, considering that, from a financial perspective, Hispanics aren’t much different from the remaining majority of Americans who aren’t currently benefiting from traditional institutions’ legacy systems.
The way I see it, catering to this 20% of the population will become so lucrative to banks that they will end up with new ways to capitalize on the way that a large majority of Americans bank.
What do financial firms need to know about this audience before trying to appeal to them?
One of the primary untapped opportunities is servicing the investment needs of Hispanic households through their upward mobility stages (middle-income to high-income).
To do this, banks and financial firms need to first understand some of the nuances that drive Hispanics’ financial habits and decisions. For instance:
- Many Hispanic Americans are the first person in their family to ever invest in the stock market. They need a trusted advisor to guide them.
- They think investing is risky like going to a casino. They don’t know that they need to do it consistently in the long run. This made stock and crypto trading apps a big problem for our community. Latinos thought buying a single stock would make them rich overnight. They didn’t know that they needed to diversify—or what that would even entail.
- They think they need at least $50,000 to invest. Legacy wealth systems do require large balances but new technology innovation helps remove this barrier of entry.
- They’re more likely to invest in smaller, regular installments directly from their bank accounts than in payroll deductions or large lump sums.
What are the opportunities for banks to grow their Hispanic business and market share?
Say that banks do their homework and now understand not only the dollar value of the opportunity, but the gaps in the offering to Hispanic audiences. They’re going to quickly realize that winning this audience goes far beyond marketing messaging or dedicating their DEI initiatives to them. They simply have to introduce new offerings.
Each of the anecdotes I shared about Hispanics informs a new opportunity. If only a third of Hispanics participate in workplace retirement plans, for instance, this creates an opportunity to give them access to personal retirement accounts that are completely detached from their employer. This is something that Finhabits is doing with the Individual Retirement Accounts.
Knowing that Hispanics don’t want to start investing with $50k, but would be willing to start investing in smaller amounts, reveals an opportunity to introduce new ways for Hispanics to invest in regular, weekly deductions, in whatever amount they’re comfortable contributing. (On our platform, we encourage them to invest around $50 per week, completely eliminating the misconception that they need to start off with thousands).
Knowing that they’re skeptical of investing in the stock market but don’t know much about it, there are opportunities for financial firms to provide them with financial education and information they need to make smart decisions.
The list goes on. The more banks know, the better they’ll be able to grow alongside Hispanics’ wealth.
What is micro-investing and how will it shift the way everyday consumers invest? Why is it so critical to tapping into Hispanic audiences?
Take a look into a few investing guides, and you’ll likely find that the overwhelming majority recommend starting with a lump sum of anywhere from a couple hundred to thousands of dollars. An even more common is the notion that those who haven’t already started investing are behind.
This traditional approach can be daunting to some consumers—especially those who make a living from irregular income streams, rather than the standard paycheck on the 15th and the 1st.
Micro-investments are small, automated deposits into accounts that are invested in diversified portfolios. This approach diverges from the traditional perceptions of workplace retirement plans or investments through a wealth manager as the path to wealth.
This is what we’ve coined a ‘Power in Numbers’ approach to investing, or prioritizing collective wealth over individual assets. It’s only possible, however, with technology to power small recurring deposits—that are then invested collectively—and transformed into a larger amount over time.