November 20 2019 – This year, Latina Equal Pay Day is being observed on November 20, 2019. This event marks the day when Latina pay catches up to that of white, non-Hispanic men from the previous year. More than 50 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Latina’s typically earn only 54 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men which equates to a loss of more than $600,000 over a career. The lack of pay equity eventually translates into a “retirement wage gap” that helps push up the poverty rate for older women, especially Latina women.
Latinas face several other unique challenges that make saving for retirement more difficult. They have the highest life expectancy of any other demographic in the U.S. (88 years) and living longer places Latinas at a higher risk of outliving their assets. As a result of this longevity, low earnings, and a lack of savings, Latinas are at greater risk for potentially living in poverty later in life, with nearly 20% of Latinas age 65 years and older live below the federal poverty level.
Understanding how to plan for retirement and save for short-term goals can help lessen financial burdens Latinas may face. That is why WISER collaborated with MANA—A National Latina Organization on the Latina Savings Project. With funding from AARP Foundation, the savings project is designed to support low- and moderate-income Latinas in developing a habit of saving through education and hands-on access to savings accounts.
In honor of Latina Equal Pay Day, WISER released the final report for the Latina Savings Project. The Latina Savings Project successfully demonstrated that moderate and low-income Latinas can overcome formidable obstacles to saving. From 2017-2019, financial workshops were conducted with MANA chapters in four cities: Baytown, Texas; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Fort Worth, Texas; and Topeka, Kansas. The program focused on helping participants understand their own finances; then overcome barriers to saving, develop achievable savings goals, and open a savings account to begin saving. Fully three-quarters of the participants enrolled in a savings account and a majority successfully saved. As one participated stated:
“[The project] encouraged me to make a commitment to save money out of my paycheck each month. This is something I’ve wanted to do but just never fully committed to it.”
 National Institute on Retirement Security, “Shortchanged in Retirement” Survey, March 2016.