Institute for Latino Studies to Research Immigrant Retirement Savings

Author: Andrew Deliyannides

Karen Richman

The Center for Migration and Border Studies in the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies has received a $125,000 grant from the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) to investigate how social and cultural factors impact Mexican immigrants’ savings for retirement.

Titled “Understanding and Increasing Mexican Immigrants’ Financial and Retirement Security,” the study will examine how Mexican immigrants prepare, or do not prepare, for retirement. The research applies a novel, interdisciplinary approach to the study of retirement, combining anthropological and economic theories and methods.

Mexican immigrant workers are more likely than other groups to be living in poverty in retirement. Mexican immigrant workers, who comprise one-third of the immigrant workforce, are less likely to be participating in formal retirement savings programs. Even those in the $100,000 to $200,000 income bracket hold an average of $61,293 in retirement accounts compared with $160,626 for all households. Therefore, understanding the dynamic nature of Mexican immigrants’ family structure is crucial to figuring out how to devise communication programs and policies that will help increase the immigrants’ financial literacy and retirement security.

Center director Karen Richman will lead the study along with Teresa Ghilarducci, an economist at the New School for Social Research.

Notre Dame’s Center for Migration and Border Studies furthers understanding of the increasingly significant phenomenon of transnational migration between Latin America and the United States by investigating the political, social, economic and cultural forces that are shaping lives in both sending and receiving communities throughout the continent.

Founded in 1999, the Institute for Latino Studies fosters understanding of the U.S. Latino experience by advancing research, expanding knowledge and strengthening community. It supports interdisciplinary initiatives in Latino studies as a key component of Notre Dame’s academic mission.

Contact: Karen Richman, 574-631-8146,

Originally published at on February 18, 2010.