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Race and Financial Capability: The Native American Experience

Race and Financial Capability: The Native American Experience

With survey data from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation’s 2015 National Financial Capability Study, this issue brief examines financial capability by race, with a focus on Native Americans. The data suggest that Native Americans have higher levels of financial fragility and distress than many other groups. Native Americans also lag whites and Asian-Americans on many measures of financial capability, demonstrating lower levels of financial knowledge and lower use of formal financial products, but are on par with African-Americans and Hispanics. This research suggests that Native Americans are less likely to learn about managing finances from parents and that they demonstrate lower levels of confidence in managing their money. However, there are different experiences within the Native American community. Higher-income Native Americans display much higher levels of financial capability than lower-income Native Americans, as do men and older Native Americans, but to a lesser degree. The findings in this brief suggest there is still much work to be done to provide opportunities for Native Americans to develop their financial knowledge and skills. 

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