Asian Indian families are highly committed to funding a child’s education with personal savings
New research from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) found that nearly half (47 percent) of Asian Indian families regard paying for their child’s education as their top financial priority, followed by ensuring an income source in the event of the unexpected (44 percent) and saving for retirement (39 percent).
In fact, Asian Indians are the most committed ethnic group when it comes to funding a majority of their child’s education using their own savings (45 percent) and they are the least likely to rely on federal aid programs, student loans, or student part-time jobs.
Although scholarships rank first as a way to pay for college (47 percent), Asian Indian parents feel it is their responsibility to provide the means for children to go to college and plan to contribute extensively to their child’s education costs, with two-thirds planning to contribute at least half of the costs. To that end, they were the most prepared ethnic group and started saving for college early with 49 percent starting before their child was the age 5. They also plan to use investment properties, their own 401K savings, and other personal assets (particularly gold) to pay for their children’s future education.
Many Asian Indian families expressed a desire to extend what their parents had offered them, namely total financial support for education. Parents also cited an aversion to their children working part-time jobs while attending college. Rather, the role of their children is to study hard, get good grades, and ultimately, get accepted into a good, if not prestigious, university.
“Many Asian Indian parents don’t want to burden their children with any financial obligations while attending college so they can focus on their studies,” said Evan Taylor, a director of multicultural markets with MassMutual. “Asian Indian families consider education to be fundamental to character development and commanding social respect, and over and above that, yielding work opportunities.”
MassMutual‘s College Planning and Saving Study examines the attitudes, behaviors and needs of families related to planning for and funding higher education. The study provides a deeper understanding of the importance placed on education and how ethnicity affects family decisions and financial behavior.
Based on the study’s insights, MassMutual offers three practical tips to help Asian Indian families plan and save for college:
1. Balance your priorities. It can be difficult when trying to save for retirement and your child’s education. Talking to a financial professional can provide an objective perspective to help establish priorities, make your planning easier, and maximize your investments.
2. Develop a comprehensive plan. There are many ways to prepare for college costs and you should consider all the options available. There are traditional college savings plans, grants, scholarships, investments, and even life insurance, such as whole life insurance that offers guaranteed cash value growth. Make sure you are maximizing all the alternatives available and while also protecting your income stream with disability income insurance. And when your child graduates from college and starts working, be sure to encourage him or her to consider disability income insurance, too, as some companies like MassMutual offer a monthly benefit for the purpose of reimbursing student loan debt during an eligible disability.
3. Revise your goals and adjust your plans accordingly. Goals and priorities can change over time. Look at your financial situation today, identify your current priorities, review your retirement saving plans, and think about how long you have to save for your child’s education. Next, do the math: determine how much it might cost to send your child to college and how much you will contribute to college savings every month. There are many tools and calculators to help you figure out how much you need to save that align with your current goals. Visit the MassMutual college savings calculator.
The findings of this research study come on the heels of MassMutual’s launch of its newly refreshed brand, which was designed to better reflect and build on the legacy and the core values that have guided the company since its founding. The new brand recognizes that while the world celebrates independence, true happiness comes from interdependence and our reliance on one another.
“We’re here to help educate parents about options for their families, and then help them make their financial goals a reality,” concluded Taylor.
MassMutual’s College Planning and Saving Study was conducted for MassMutual by New American Dimensions, LLC in December 2016 to examine the attitudes and needs of families related to education planning and funding. Qualitatively, 22 mini focus groups were conducted with five ethnic groups (Hispanic/Latino, African American/Black, Chinese American, Korean American, and Asian Indian American) in English and in-language. Quantitatively, a 20-minute online questionnaire, conducted in English, comprised 1,750 interviews; within the total number of surveys, 150 completes were obtained for each of the five ethnic groups. Both qualitative and quantitative research was conducted with men and women age 30 to 64 with children age 5 to 15 for whom they are financially responsible. Respondents also met a minimum household income requirement ($50,000+) and participate in financial decision-making for their household. Results for the total were weighted to the 2010 U.S. Census distributions for ethnicity to be representative of American families in this age and income bracket.