By Angela Covo
La Prensa de San Antonio
SAN ANTONIO — According to a San Antonio survey about financial planning, less than half of Hispanic business owners have a finan- cial plan in place. Experts say that could spell trouble.
A recent survey conducted in partnership with the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by South Texas’ Sapient Financial Group, a general agency of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (Mass- Mutual) indicates that just 46 percent of Hispanic business owners who responded to a survey have any sort of a formal financial plan.
In some cases, lack of a financial planning strategy could be a major concern, especially regarding business succession and other strategies to help deal with unexpected circumstances that could turn a business upside down.
“The survey findings indicate that there are differences between knowledge of, interest in, and use of financial services …However, the data show that one factor that may be related to the use of these services is revenue.
The results revealed that the greater the revenue the more likely the business owner is to use financial services,” Dr. Dianna Stone, management professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio College of Business, said.
THE NUMBERS: Hispanic businesses contribute substantially to the local economy.
Almost 40 percent of San Antonio’s businesses are Hispanic-owned according to the 2007 Census, ranking second in that category for cities with more than 500,000 people. Bexar County ranked fifth at 37.3 percent. According to Governor Perry’s office, the city of San Antonio boasts 37,000 Hispanic-owned businesses.
The study captured responses from 171 Hispanic business owners in the San Antonio area during last July and August.
While most of the respondents are confident in their knowledge of financial strategies, according to the UTSA study, more than half are not using financial services for themselves, their businesses, or their employees.
Additionally, 54 percent were male, married, averaged 43.5 years old and were well-educated (62 percent with undergraduate or graduate degrees).
Respondents were evenly split in terms of business revenues, with 51 percent reporting less than $100,000 in revenue and 48.9 percent reporting revenues of $100,000 or more.
The types of businesses represented covered a variety of industries, though larger companies were more likely to be finance or retail/wholesale businesses.
Although some 65 percent of respondents indicated they were somewhat to extremely knowledgeable about financial planning for themselves and their families, almost 47 percent were concerned and said, “They worry about being able to meet long term financial goals.”
Almost half of the respondents felt they needed more time to manage their finances and more than half of respondents said they “wish they were in more control of their finances.”
Fifty-six percent of owners plan to pass their business onto a family member, but only 18 percent have a succession plan in place.
“After giving their blood, sweat and tears to establish their businesses, Latinos deserve to be rewarded with the confidence and tools that will help them lay the foundation for a more secure future for their businesses and their families,” said Frank Woodruff, CEO of Sapient Financial Group.
“The lack of succession planning is particularly disturbing. Too often we’ve seen successful business shutter once the business owner dies or becomes ill.”
MassMutual’s Fiscal Fitness Initiative includes partnerships with local organizations to host workshops and an integrated communication campaign that provides financial information and coaching to San Antonio Latinos.
In San Antonio, Sapient Financial Group is developing educational tools and planning to conduct speaking engagements to enlist the leaders from all sectors of the Alamo City community to help Latinos bridge the gap in fiscal fitness.
As the leading regional advocate for the Hispanic business community, the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is an ideal partner to work with Sapient Financial Group and MassMutual to help Hispanic business owners and professionals improve their financial health.
“Hispanic entrepreneurs are busy people, and as they focus on their businesses, they need help creating a structured financial strategy,” San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Ramiro Cavazos said.
For more survey results and background information, please visit sapientfinancialgroup. com/hispanicbizsurvey. For questions about business financial planning, contact Sapient Financial Group, a general agency of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. (Mass- Mutual), which has been head- quartered in San Antonio, TX since 1952, at (210) 342-4141.
The San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1929, is America’s first and one of the largest Hispanic Chambers in the United States. The SAHCC is the principle resource and advocate for Hispanic businesses and Hispanics in business. The goal of the organization is to inspire and foster Hispanic leadership and entrepreneurship in the San Antonio community.
The SAHCC is the first Chamber in San Antonio to be accredited by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and is the only accredited Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in the United States. For more information, visit www.sahcc.org.