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Struggling Black Consumers In Cincinnati Say Recession Changed How They Handle Their Finances

CINCINNATI--As Cincinnati residents begin to emerge from the Great Recession, they are hungry for financial insight and guidance to help rebuild household balance sheets and to start planning for a brighter financial future. In response to this need, Nationwide Insurance is partnering with author and broadcaster, Tavis Smiley, to bring its On Your Side Tour with Tavis Smiley, a free financial empowerment workshop, to Cincinnati on June 19 at the Millennium Hotel.

“As America continues to see the long-term impact of the Great Recession, our safety nets are slowly diminishing and consumers are becoming more aware that fiscal accountability and responsibility is up to them”
The need to address financial literacy and financial planning – including African-American households in Cincinnati – is highlighted in a new survey commissioned by The Smiley Group and Nationwide Insurance that shows the recession has impacted how Americans are preparing themselves for the future.

According to the survey, African Americans in Cincinnati have made more positive changes in the past year than the general population as a result of the economy, including creating a household budget (42 percent to 26 percent), reducing spending other than entertainment (49 percent to 40 percent), and using cheaper transportation (25 percent to 15 percent).

Sixty one percent of all respondents have cut back on eating out and entertainment in the past twelve months due to the economy. Of those who made such cut backs, thirty-eight percent of the general population plans to continue to do so with 25 percent of African American respondents planning to continue.

When it comes to financial goals, African Americans said minimizing debt (64 percent to 55 percent) and building an emergency fund (34 percent to 13 percent) are significantly more important to them than the overall general population responded.

However, the survey indicates there is still work to be done. The majority of African American (83 percent) and general population (97 percent) respondents remain at least somewhat worried about the economy. More respondents believe their financial condition has worsened in the past year than those who feel it has improved.

Other survey findings of concern:

Only about half of all respondents (45 percent general population, 50 percent African American) agree that having a clear financial plan is necessary to achieve goals.
One-third (36 percent) of African American respondents do not spend any time on savings or investment activities, compared to about one-fifth (17 percent) of the general population.
One-fourth (24 percent) of general population respondents consider saving for retirement their most important household goal, significantly more than the just eight percent of African American respondents who agreed.
Significantly more African American (87 percent) than general population (55 percent) respondents do not have a financial advisor. Of those who don’t have an advisor, only about one-fourth (26 percent general population, 29 percent African American) think they need one.
Thirty one percent of African Americans said they are struggling with credit card debt, with 17 percent of the general population admitting to the same struggles.
“The results of the survey underscore that Americans in Cincinnati – black and white – are more optimistic, but they are struggling to emerge from this downturn on their feet,” said Tavis Smiley. “As the world continues to recover from the recession, Black America has the highest unemployment rates, was heavily impacted by the housing crisis and was hit hard by the credit crisis. These sessions are as timely today as they were when we started the tour two years ago.”

The free event at the Millennium Hotel is open to the public and will focus on economic empowerment and financial planning. It will feature a general session with Smiley as the keynote speaker, two informational seminars with breakout sessions for group participation and provide other information – including financial basics, employment opportunities and more.

“As America continues to see the long-term impact of the Great Recession, our safety nets are slowly diminishing and consumers are becoming more aware that fiscal accountability and responsibility is up to them,” said Eric Smith, regional vice president for Nationwide’s Midwest Region. “Consumers are seeking financial information and tools to help them plan for today and prepare for tomorrow. We view our On Your Side Tour with Tavis Smiley as a way to help people help themselves and make a difference in communities like Cincinnati.”

Looking Ahead
Despite the recession, African Americans are more confident about their financial future than the general population. Two-thirds (69 percent) of African Americans expect their condition to be better, with only one-third (34 percent) of the general population expecting conditions to improve. Only 4 percent of African Americans expect their financial future to worsen over the next year with one fourth (25 percent) of the general population expecting things to get worse.

About the Survey
The online survey was conducted March-April 2010 by the Blackstone Group. A web panel was used to collect data. A total of 347 residents of Cincinnati, Ohio, were split into two sample groups: General Population, ages 18+ (200 people) and African American, ages 18+ (147 people). Significance testing was done at the 90% confidence level. Margin of error is ±3.4%.

About Tavis Smiley and The Smiley Group
From his celebrated conversations with world figures, to his work to inspire the next generation of leaders, as a broadcaster, author, advocate and philanthropist, Tavis Smiley continues to be an outstanding voice for change. Smiley is currently the host of the late night television talk show Tavis Smiley on PBS and The Tavis Smiley Show from Public Radio International (PRI). TIME magazine honored Smiley in 2009 as one of “The World’s 100 Most Influential People.” The Smiley Group, Inc. is a communications corporation established in support of human rights and related empowerment issues. TSG serves as the holding company for various enterprises encompassing broadcast and print media, lectures, symposiums and the Internet. For more information, visit www.tavistalks.com.

About Nationwide
Nationwide, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by A.M. Best. The company provides a full range of personalized insurance and financial services, including auto insurance, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, life insurance, farm, commercial insurance, administrative services, annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions, long-term savings plans and health and productivity services. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com.



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