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A Qualitative Analysis of the Use of Financial Services and Saving Behavior Among Older African Americans and Latinos in the Los Angeles Area

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For this study, we conducted seven focus groups in the Los Angeles area with a total of 70 participants (42 Latinos and 28 African Americans) recruited from three senior centers and a church. There was a wide variety of responses in relation to the usage of financial services among participants. We found that although some participants seem to participate more in the formal financial sector and show a higher level of sophistication when managing their finances, other participants' use of formal financial institutions is minimal. Among African American participants, we found several instances in which individuals feel very comfortable using banks. Lower levels of participation in the formal financial sector were found among the lower income Latino participants. In relation to barriers to participate in the financial sector, supply was not an issue, but demand and behavioral factors seem more important. Overall, no participants saved very much on a regular basis. We also find that participants in general do not want to ask their children for money, and also do not want to save and accumulate wealth to leave to their children.

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