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Kimberly Owens is unsure if retirement will ever be a reality for her. A well-trained project coordinator in her late 40s, she has withdrawn her emergency pension funds twice in 20 years. His 401 (k) balance is in the lower five digits.

“I’ll be working until I’m 75 at this rate,” said Ms. Owens, who works for the New Haven, Connecticut campus of a medical device company. “I’m nowhere near where I thought I was at this point in my life.”

Many American households are unprepared for retirement, but black Americans like Ms. Owens are even further behind than whites, according to academic and government data. The recent economic crisis is likely to accentuate the disparity.

Many black Americans are prevented from saving for retirement due to factors such as less intergenerational wealth, more college debt, lower incomes, and lower homeownership rates than white Americans , according to university and government data.

Even before the pandemic hit the economy, black families on average had about one-sixth of the savings set aside for retirement compared to white families, according to an analysis of government data by think-tank Urban. Institute. That’s $ 25,000 in retirement savings accounts for black households in 2016 compared to $ 158,000 for white households. Hispanic households fare only slightly better than black households at $ 29,000.

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