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To better understand the needs and priorities of the diverse communities that we serve, we commissioned three studies, exploring the financial experiences of the Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino and LGBTQ+ communities.1 We wanted to explore how cultural, racial, sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression might influence perspectives on wealth, financial security and success, as well as the unique challenges individuals in these communities face and the goals they strive to achieve.


The process: Partnering with Ipsos, a leading global market research and consulting firm, we conducted online surveys and spoke one on one with thousands of individuals from different backgrounds and professional experiences to hear their personal stories.


What our studies revealed: Through those deep conversations and in-depth surveys, we uncovered many nuanced insights on how gender, race, sexual identity and cultural heritage can shape financial experiences and priorities. Within the diversity, we also uncovered some common threads that underscore the humanity in us all: the power of resilience, a belief in the value of hard work and a drive to provide financial security for those we love.


Our hopes for the future: A lot has happened since we conducted this research. Its findings are even more relevant and important as a result of recent events, including the pandemic and protests around the country calling for racial justice. We invite you to explore this research: Listen to what the participants in our roundtables have so generously shared about their lives and financial experiences. Then share these stories with your friends and family. It’s our hope that you will find them useful as part of an ongoing dialogue about financial equality and opportunity.



Explore the Studies

Diverse Viewpoints: Exploring Wealth in the Black/African American Community

“We were always told we’d have to work twice as hard to get the same as everyone else.”

Hear members of the Black/African American community share their perspectives about creating a legacy of wealth, accountability and working with trusted advisors who truly understand the community's unique needs.

Diverse Viewpoints: Exploring Wealth in the Hispanic/Latino Community

“Assuring the success of our children is why our parents and grandparents sacrificed so much. We follow in their footsteps.”

Hear members of the Hispanic/Latino community discuss how deep family ties help shape every financial decision they make as they forge their American identity.

Diverse Viewpoints: Exploring Wealth in the LGBTQ+ Community

“We want to pay it forward and use our money to provide a better future for people coming out today.”

Hear what members of the LGBTQ+ community had to say about how topics such as financial education, personal milestones, entrepreneurship and more impact their financial well-being.

This article features third-party individuals not affiliated with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated ("Merrill") and is for information and educational purposes only. The opinions and views expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Merrill or any of its affiliates.


Ipsos is the third largest market research company in the world, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people. Merrill or any of its affiliates are not affiliated with Ipsos. In partnership with Merrill, Ipsos conducted multiple waves of research throughout 2019, employing a variety of research methodologies, starting out by interviewing Merrill stakeholders who serve and represent the diverse communities. In parallel, they synthesized and reviewed an array of publications and academic research on the topics of diversity, wealth and inclusion in financial services and beyond.


The Online Community and the In-Home Qualitative research was conducted from July to September 2019. We spoke with n=6 respondents from each of the three affluent communities in their homes and hosted an Online Community of n=20 respondents from each of the three communities.


The Quantitative research was conducted from September to November 2019. We spoke with n=450+ members of each of the three communities and compared them to a representative sample of the n=1000 respondents from the affluent general population. We surveyed: n=455 members of the affluent Black/African American Community, n=512 members of the affluent Hispanic/Latino Community, n=509 members of the affluent LGBTQ+ Community.


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