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INSIGHTS: Recognizing Asian American and Pacific Islanders’ approach to wealth and their need in our community

The AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) population grew by more than 38% in the past decade, making it the fastest-growing minority community in the United States.

Ashlee Andrews, Market Executive - Las Vegas, Bank of America (Courtesy of Bank of America)

By Ashlee Andrews, Market Executive- Las Vegas, Bank of America

In the State of Nevada, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) residents make up a significant portion of our community. According to recent figures collected by AAPI Data, nearly 335,000 AAPI residents – around 10% of Nevada’s population – live and work here, with the majority of them in Clark County. To put that in perspective, nationally, there are more than 25 million Asian American Pacific Islanders living in the U.S., which accounts for only about 7% of the population. And that number is growing. In fact, the AAPI population grew by more than 38% in the past decade, making it the fastest-growing minority community in the United States.

At the root of Bank of America’s client-driven approach is delivering products and services that meet the diverse needs of our clients and investing our resources to support our communities and the issues affecting them. This is why Bank of America and Merrill are actively exploring the backgrounds of many diverse communities. In addition to AAPI, Merrill has uncovered research insights into Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino and LGBTQ+ communities. By having conversations with thousands of individuals from different backgrounds and professional experiences, the company has learned and reported findings that will hopefully enrich relationships with its customers. The wider business community can learn about these insights through a study conducted earlier this year titled “Diverse Viewpoints: Exploring Wealth In The AAPI Community”. Here are a few takeaways:

Family is at the cornerstone.

  • Nearly 80% of AAPI respondents ranked family as one of the most important aspects of their life.
  • Compared to the general affluent population, members of this community are twice as likely to feel financially responsible to assist aging parents and three times more likely to financially support family members abroad.
  • 50% more AAPI respondents prioritized paying for their children’s education than the general affluent population.

Entrepreneurial generational shift.

  • Generally, people of AAPI descent are twice as likely to have started a business than the general affluent population (27% vs. 13%).
  • However, among younger generations and those born in the U.S., entrepreneurism is less common. Affluent AAPI between the ages of 20-54 are half as likely to aspire to start their own business compared to the general affluent population their same age.

Hands-on approach to finances.

  • Only 54% of affluent AAPI respondents feel prepared for unexpected expenses and emergencies, compared to 61% of the general affluent population.
  • 72% say it is important to be debt-free, compared to 65% of the general affluent population.
  • 48% make most of their own investment decisions though use an advisor for specialized needs (vs. 33% of the general affluent population).
  • 42% prefer to learn about managing finances on their own vs. 32% of the general affluent population.

The hope for this study and others like it is to help build better relationships and as a company create a stronger and more inclusive financial experience. For AAPI communities, especially in a city as unique as Las Vegas, this starts with understanding the value this group places on family in the U.S. and abroad, their desire for entrepreneurship and their hands-on approach to managing their finances. As a business community, we would all stand to benefit and learn from one another and as a company are proud to champion that effort.

In addition to having these conversations, Bank of America continues to provide philanthropic grants in the communities where we live and work. Many organizations we support help assist Asian businesses, families and individuals in their communities. This includes Bank of America’s 2022 recognition of Vida Lin, who received the Neighborhood Builders: Racial Equality Award. As part of that honor, Vida received $200,000 in flexible funding to contribute to her organization, the Asian Community Development Council (ACDC). The first non-profit community development corporation in Nevada works to educate, connect and empower the fastest-growing demographic in the United States. In addition, ACDC’s Healthy Asian Pacific Islander (HAPI) medical center also received $100k in 2022. The center helps provide health care resources for the 80% of AAPI who are underinsured or uninsured in Nevada.

Ashlee Andrews serves as Market Executive for the Las Vegas region. In her role, she strengthens the vitality of the Las Vegas community through the company’s business, civic and philanthropic activities and oversees the bank’s local business engagement and growth.