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NEW YORK – Some industry experts say penetration of investment services to members tends to be low but one minority group could be a way to increase numbers. According to the 2006 Black Investor Survey from Ariel Capital Management and Charles Schwab, the median black worker has saved $59,000 for retirement, while the median white worker has saved $93,000. The survey queried 500 black and 500 white individuals over the age of 18, with a minimum household income of $50,000 per year. Two-thirds of employed blacks participate in traditional pension plans, compared with roughly half of white workers, the survey found. Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Capital, said blacks are “underinvested” and may not be well prepared for retirement. Generally speaking, survey after survey has shown that indeed, most Americans are not saving enough for retirement. “There’s a gaping hole between the two groups,” Hobson said on blacks and whites. “By saving less, and also by investing more conservatively, many African-Americans are missing out on years of compounding – some of the most powerful years of their lives.” The survey also found that most black and white respondents said defined benefit plans will no longer exist in a decade.

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