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MassMutual: Study Reveals Strong Values Lead to Start-up of Hispanic Businesses and Highlights Need for Resources

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PHOENIX, March 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Phoenix's economic recovery continues to be one of the strongest in the country* and housing prices are up 25 percent since the depths of the recession. But as the Hispanic population growth fuels this growth, it is clear that Hispanic businesses can play a role. But many of Phoenix's Hispanic business owners may be lacking resources and tools to help them create a more solid future for themselves and their families, according to a study sponsored by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual).

A presentation and panel discussion of the MassMutual study gathers area experts to take a look at the recent study findings and their implications on the fiscal health of Phoenix-area Hispanic businesses. The panel, moderated by Gonzalo A. de la Melena, Jr., President and CEO, Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, is taking place Thursday, March 21 at 5:30 p.m. MT at the Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix, 2401 East Camelback Road.

To be discussed are significant findings of MassMutual's research study--Business Owner Perspectives: 2011 Insights in an Uncertain Economy--that showed Hispanic business owners as valuing family, community and independence, all of which serve as motivators for Hispanics in pursuing their American Dream as business owners:

-- Eighty-nine percent started their businesses to provide financially for their families (vs. 77 percent of general population business owners) -- Thirty-one percent want to provide jobs for other family members (vs. 19 percent of the general population) -- Fifty-four percent report that "giving back to the community" is a motivation for starting their businesses, when only 21 percent of general population business owners said the same.

But even as the cultural values of Hispanic business owners have motivated them to start their businesses, their long-term ability to provide for their families and communities may be in danger. Hispanic business owners are worried about meeting both their business and personal financial goals:

-- Three in 10 say it is all they can do to keep up with everyday business expenses, much less think about the future. -- Twenty-three percent have too many immediate financial concerns to think about saving for retirement, compared to 16 percent of general-market businesses. -- Eighteen percent say they wouldn't know where to go for financial assistance vs. 12 percent among general-market businesses.

Also troubling is the lack of future planning when it comes to the eventual sale or transition of businesses. The good news is that Hispanic business owners know to whom they want to pass on their businesses: seven in ten say to a family member (vs. just over half of general population business owners), yet

-- Only 17 percent are concerned about transitioning ownership upon retirement (vs. 32 percent general population). -- Sixty-two percent have not even told the designated successors that they will be taking over the businesses. -- Only 24 percent have a business succession plan in place. -- Of those who have a succession plan in place, close to one third indicated that the plan was prepared by a friend, family member or by the owner himself or herself either alone or with a business partner.

"Latinos in the Phoenix area understood the meaning of the 'American Dream' long before the term was coined," said Vlasta Duffy, general agent of MassMutual Arizona in Scottsdale. "As business owners, they put incredible pressure on their shoulders to succeed, not just for themselves, but for the good of their families. The good news is that many already know they want to transition their businesses to the next generation; they just need to understand the advantages of having a formal succession plan, the information and tools to help them improve their ability to reach that dream," she concluded.

"In our 40-year history, there has never been a greater economic or business need than now to build future Latino business leaders," said Manny Espinoza, ALPFA chief executive officer. ALPFA--a professional organization for Latinos in business, finance, accounting and related fields--is dedicated to enhancing career opportunities, as well as building leadership and professional skills.

"Future planning for Latino business owners in Phoenix is vitally important to ensure that this vibrant segment of the business community continues to grow and thrive into the next generations and further," said Gonzalo A. de la Melena, Jr., President and CEO, Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and panel moderator. "As the primary advocate for Latino-owned businesses statewide, the Arizona Hispanic Chamber is obligated to help provide financial education and tools for succession planning to the Latino business market to ensure the health and prosperity of the state and national economy."

For more information on MassMutual's Business Owner Perspectives study, log on to massmutual.com/bizownerperspectives. For Spanish-language information about MassMutual and its financial professionals, visit massmutual.com/espanol.

About MassMutual

Founded in 1851, MassMutual is a leading mutual life insurance company that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policyowners. The company has a long history of financial strength and strong performance, and although dividends are not guaranteed, MassMutual has paid dividends to eligible participating policyholders consistently since the 1860s. With whole life insurance as its foundation, MassMutual provides products to help meet the financial needs of clients, such as life insurance, disability income insurance, long term care insurance, retirement/401(k) plan services, and annuities. In addition, the company's strong and growing network of financial professionals helps clients make good financial decisions for the long-term.

MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives. MassMutual is headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts and its major affiliates include: Babson Capital Management LLC; Baring Asset Management Limited; Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers LLC; The First Mercantile Trust Company; MassMutual International LLC; MML Investors Services, LLC, Member FINRA and SIPC; OppenheimerFunds, Inc.; and The MassMutual Trust Company, FSB.

For more information, visit www.massmutual.com or find MassMutual on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+.

*Metro Monitor - December 2012, Brookings Institution.

CONTACT: Karen Lavariere-Sanchez klavarieresanchez@massmutual.com 413.744.7660

MassMutual

Web site: http://www.massmutual.com/

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