I’ve written before about the intense, powerful, even bizarre sense of optimism prevalent among Hispanics.
Yes, even when fleeing for our lives from oppressive third-world governments and/or bloodthirsty drug gangs, we think, “Better days are ahead.”
And even when acres of statistics show how Latinos are struggling, compared to the general population, we say, “Keep the faith.”
And even when we become scapegoats for the nation’s ills, open targets for right-wing nutjobs, and the object of scorn in the eyes of millions of Americans, we smile and say, “Happiness is right around the corner.”
Well, if you thought that this pugnacious positivism had faded recently, a new survey shows that it has only gotten stronger, especially regarding financial matters.
For example, a solid majority of Hispanics “feel there is equal opportunity for everyone to achieve their dream of financial success.” But less than half of the general population feels the same way.
And 60 percent of Latinos believe “that those who work hard will be the most financially successful, a significantly higher percentage than the general population.”
Finally, there is the statistic that Latinos are more likely to believe that they are on their way “in their race to financial success” than the general population.
But is all this faith in the future based in reality?
Well, consider that the same survey found that “by their own admission, Hispanics struggle with managing their money and lack self-confidence when doing so.”money
OK, that seems a little contradictory — as does the fact that “a majority of Hispanics give themselves a grade of C or lower when evaluating how well they manage their money.”
And let’s consider that a full 70 percent of Hispanics “have not created a long-term financial plan.”
So once again, we are forced to ask, is all this optimism priming the pump for a self-fulfilling prophecy where Latinos are financially successful?
Or have we Hispanics turned into collective Navin Johnsons, insisting that “Things are going to start happening to me now”?
Well, maybe the most telling — and most hopeful — data point in the survey is this: Millennial Hispanics (age 18-39) are more likely “to see an undergraduate degree as one of the top influences for financial success.”
Now that makes sense. Getting a degree is a solid, realistic option for achieving financial success. Young people know this.
And what do older Latinos think is key to financial independence? It is, of course, “the advice of elders.”
Yes, better stay in school, kids.