National Hispanic Heritage Month Begins on September 15th

Luis Quintero

From September 15th through October 15th, we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month in America. During the month, the nation honors and remembers the contributions Hispanic Americans have made to society, culture, and American identity. There are plenty of events and exhibits you can check out to learn more about Hispanic culture and heritage.

National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month was established in 1968. Initially, it was only Hispanic Heritage Week and commemorated the independence days of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua (September 15th) as well as Mexico (September 16th). In 1988, the celebration was extended until October 15th and remains that way today.

To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we here at The Smart Wallet thought it would be a good idea to look at some of the financial successes and problems of the Hispanic American community. As the largest minority group in America, the prosperity and success of Hispanic and Latinx Americans are critical to the growth of the nation.

General Financial Outlook

Hispanic Americans face some unique financial challenges, but also have major strengths. According to a study from Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class, Hispanics stand out financially in a few categories. Hispanic Americans are more likely to utilize mobile banking, money transfer apps, and mobile payments than other groups, showing a strong tendency for tech-based financial management.

Data shows that Hispanics are also far more likely to prepare in advance for major expenses, and are more optimistic about their own finances than others. In addition, Hispanics polled by the center said that they were more likely to rely on or be relied on by friends and family for financial support.

Hispanics are also leading the entrepreneurial charge. More than 15 percent of Hispanics said they planned to start a business, while the overall average was below 10 percent.

Despite facing far more employment changes than average, Hispanics are employed at a higher rate than average, and often take financial adversity in stride. As mentioned earlier, many Hispanic Americans are strong financial planners and optimists, so all of this lines up.

Hispanic Americans do face challenges when it comes to financial literacy, however. About one in four Hispanic adults has “high” financial literacy, compared to 43 percent of White Americans and 38 percent of Asian Americans, according to FINRA.

How COVID-19 Impacted the Community

Minorities in America have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, both medically and financially according to Pew Research. In April, 61 percent of Hispanic adults reported losing their job or some wages as a result of the pandemic, while fewer than half of Black and White Americans reported the same. 44 percent of Hispanics also said they were struggling to pay bills in April. In an average year, only 28 percent said they had trouble with bills.

The pandemic has been devastating for all Americans but in many regards minority communities such as the Latinx community have been hit the hardest.

There is some positive news from the last few months, though. As mentioned above, Hispanic Americans tend to be more tech-savvy than the general population, especially when it comes to finance. However, there were no personal finance sites written in Spanish and geared toward the community. That was until August when Impremedia launched Solo Dinero, a personal finance site tailored to Hispanic Americans and published in Spanish.

“Our goal is to provide a straightforward approach for the Latino consumer,” Rafael Cores, Vice President of Content at Impremedia, said in a statement. “We are home to experts and specialized journalists who offer clear, actionable financial advice on managing your money through transparent reporting, reliable sources, and an accessible language. In the economic aftermath of COVID-19, this is more important than ever.”

The Bottom Line

September 15th marks the beginning of a proud, important month of honoring some of the most important figures in world history. As part of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we hope to see more Hispanic Americans take control of their financial literacy, start businesses, and help lead us into the financial future.