In a December report, The Cut: Exploring Financial Wellness Within Diverse Populations, Prudential Financial builds upon the findings from their 2018 Financial Wellness Census. I spoke to Jim Mahaney, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Prudential Financial, about the report and its findings. The biggest takeaway is that cultural background and experience influences the financial standing of individuals and communities. Perhaps this should be obvious, but traditional financial advice does not often take this fact into account.

So what did the report find about different communities in the United States?

Asian Americans

Black Americans:

Latino Americans

LGBTQ+ Americans

Female Americans

Caregiver Americans

So where do we go from here?

Mahaney said it’s important that financial advisors and planners take background and experience into account while serving a client. “Be sensitive to where each segment is coming from and where their financial challenges come from,” he said.

This is important because financial services are beginning to expand beyond just focused on retirement savings. Americans are looking more and more for support when it comes to everyday money management. This includes factors like financial security, paying down debt, buying a home, and preparing to care for children or other family members. A client’s cultural and familial background is going to affect how they approach money management, and financial service providers should be aware of that in order to be as helpful as possible.

“We need to be helping people more in managing their day to day expenses, and controlling their debt, not exclusively saving for retirement and having insurance in place,” said Mahaney.

How can financial service providers do this?

Mahaney said that financial professionals must ask more questions that go beyond the immediate. Don’t generalize; ask specific questions like, “will you be caring for an aging parent?” These questions will help expand the scope of the conversation and allow professionals to find out what their clients actually need at any given moment.

These conversations can still be difficult to have, but they are imperative. For financial professionals, it’s important that they show their clients that they aren’t alone in their struggles. For individuals, it’s helpful to start conversations about money with friends and family. Use social media to celebrate progress and big wins. Show your loved ones that it takes many steps to improve your financial situation.

Normalizing these conversations will make it easier for individuals to reach out for help and will allow financial professionals to help their clients even more.

This post was originally published on my ForbesWomen column.