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Tough Financial Times for Hispanic Boomers

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While the recession hasn't been a joy for anyone, a report issued late last month by AARP finds it has been especially tough on Hispanic baby boomers. Based on polling in January (in conjunction with the National Hispana Leadership Institute and impreMedia), the report says 27 percent of Hispanic respondents age 45-64 lost a job in the past 12 months due to the economy. Another 38 percent "had work hours cut, had to take a pay cut or lost other forms of work-related income."

All this has had the inevitable bad effects on Hispanic boomers' spending power. Some examples: 74 percent have cut their spending on entertainment, 55 percent have postponed travel and 39 percent have cut back on medications. While debt reduction has been a mission for many consumers, 38 percent of these respondents have "had to borrow money to pay everyday living expenses" and 37 percent have been carrying higher balances on their credit cards.

The economy has also impinged on their ability to get ready for retirement. Thirty-nine percent of the poll's Hispanic boomers said they've stopped contributing to their IRA, 401(k) or other retirement nest egg. Worse yet, 23 percent have prematurely withdrawn money from such funds.

No wonder just 21 percent feel "very confident" about being able to live comfortably throughout their retirement years, while 25 percent feel "not at all confident" of this. In fact, 23 percent said they've pushed back their retirement; 8 percent have come out of retirement and returned to the workforce.

The survey found large numbers of Hispanic boomers in the difficult "sandwich generation" position, helping to support children and elderly parents at the same time. Forty-six percent have "had to help a child pay bills or expenses" in the past year, while 28 percent have had to help a parent do so.