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25 August 2016
Photo: Sri Reddy and Betty Liu
Sri Reddy (left) engages Betty Liu in a personal story about being a first-generation American.

Asian Americans view financial goals through the lens of family

New Prudential research examines the Asian American Financial Experience

Sri Reddy’s parents and grandparents grew up during a time in India that was almost still colonial and heavily British-influenced. So it struck him one day, as a first generation immigrant growing up in 1980s Texas, when his father cracked open a can of tuna to serve lunch to his visiting grandparents.

"The idea of eating meat out of a can was unimaginable," said Reddy, senior vice president and head of Full Service Investments at Prudential Retirement. Not only did his family adjust, to this day his grandmother back in India looks forward to receiving cans of tuna from the U.S. The point being that it takes time for first generation immigrants to assimilate and build trust. And that goes for financial services as well.

Reddy shared his observations about how the Asian American community considers financial decisions as Prudential launched its 2016 "Asian American Financial Experience" study at an event attended by about 20 journalists at New York’s Asia Society on Aug. 25. Reddy participated in a panel moderated by Bloomberg anchor Betty Liu, and included Smriti Sinha, vice president, Prudential Individual Life Insurance, and Hurong Lou, a manager, financial services, with Prudential Advisors’ southern New Jersey regional office.

One of the largest financial-focused studies of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community to date, the study found that Asian Americans, on average, have nearly $100,000 more in household assets than the U.S. general population. And yet, they also share the same challenges such as saving for retirement and managing household debt.

The importance of family plays a central role in Asian Americans’ financial decisions, according to the study. While their top priority is the same as the general U.S. population—having enough money to maintain current lifestyles—their second priority differs. Not being a burden to loved ones trumped debt reduction, the general population’s second most important goal.

In addition, the study found that just 18 percent of Asian Americans work with a financial professional, yet 43 percent are willing to consider it. More so than the general population, Asian Americans said that they "have never found one I can trust."

Though their median household income is higher than the U.S. general population and are generally well-informed about financial tools and products, many are hesitant to seek out a financial advisor to help them implement a plan. The key, the panelists noted, is to build trust with the community.

“I was raised by my grandmother, and she taught me that respect is earned," said Lou. So is trust. Having anyone trust you is a privilege, not a right. So don’t ever betray that trust.”

Want more information? Read the "Asian American Financial Experience" study. Want to talk to the panelists? Contact Linda Fung.

The Prudential Insurance Company of America Newark, NJ.


Linda Fung
phone: 973-802-7373
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