Advising the Cultural Markets

A New Approach to Hispanic Retirement Education Overcomes Cultural Barriers

November 14, 2013 – DES MOINES, Iowa–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Hispanic workers born outside of the United States have the lowest retirement plan participation rate of all other workers1—often due to language barriers and cultural influences. A new approach to Hispanic retirement education from the Principal Financial Group® is designed to overcome the challenges and encourage Hispanic workers to take action.

The new program goes beyond being bilingual—translating materials to Spanish—to bicultural, which addresses the cultural underpinnings that may still influence how U.S. Hispanics think about their financial futures. The revamped approach is part of a new Hispanic Market Program to help financial professionals and their clients more effectively help Hispanic workers prepare for retirement.

“Our research found that simply translating materials to Spanish without considering overall cultural views falls short in encouraging U.S. Hispanic workers to save for retirement,” said Greg Burrows, senior vice president, The Principal®. “Retirement plans are not universally appealing to all groups. This new program takes a holistic approach, recognizing that an employer-sponsored plan may be a new concept depending on the level of acculturation of the workforce, and incorporating culturally appropriate retirement education services.”

In research focus groups and live enrollment meetings, The Principal found when exposed to the new bicultural education approach, many Hispanic workers took favorable savings actions on the spot. The Principal also found that once U.S. Hispanic workers start to participate in a company plan, they tend to embrace saving for a long-term goal.

The Bi-Cultural Benefits Specialst

“There was immediate interaction between the bicultural employee benefit specialist and the employees which resulted, by the end of the meeting, in increased participation,” said Sheri Morgan employee benefits broker, The Unity Group. “I’d been doing meetings for this client for six years and I had never seen that happen before. I believe it was the bicultural nature of the presenter and the presentation that made the difference.”

Hispanic market resources for financial professionals

an employer-sponsored plan may be a new concept depending on the level of acculturation of the workforce, and incorporating culturally appropriate retirement education services.

Based on research and expertise of Hispanic market consultants at The Principal, the program provides retirement education built around key concepts that incorporate cultural relevance and can be tailored based on the characteristics of a given U.S. Hispanic workforce.

“Hispanics are expected to account for 75 percent of the nation’s workforce growth in the next decade2,” said Burrows. “Financial professionals have a significant opportunity to help employers meet the specific retirement needs of this younger, burgeoning demographic. Our program is a differentiator because it goes beyond language to address cultural influences.”

The Principal offers a number of materials to help financial professionals better serve prospective or existing clients who have a Hispanic workforce including a report, U.S. Hispanic Retirement Attitudes: How Cultural Influences Can Impact Retirement Savings. The white paper explains the factors influencing the attitudes and behaviors of U.S. Hispanics toward retirement and the research used to develop the new Hispanic Market Program.

About the Principal Financial Group
The Principal Financial Group® (The Principal®)3 is a global investment management leader offering retirement services, insurance solutions and asset management. The Principal offers businesses, individuals and institutional clients a wide range of financial products and services, including retirement, asset management and insurance through its diverse family of financial services companies. Founded in 1879 and a member of the FORTUNE 500®, the Principal Financial Group has $466.2 billion in assets under management4 and serves some 19.0 million customers worldwide from offices in Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America and the United States. Principal Financial Group, Inc. is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol PFG. For more information, visit

1 Employee Benefit Research Institute. Current Population Survey, March 2009.
2 Pew Research Social & Demographic Trends and Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Outlook 2010 – 2020
3 “The Principal Financial Group” and “The Principal” are registered service marks of Principal Financial Services, Inc., a member of the Principal Financial Group.
4 As of Sept. 30, 2013.