Continued economic uncertainty has led all workers to dip into their retirement savings, but minorities have been the hardest hit, according to a new study from Ariel Education Initiative (a nonprofit affiliate of Ariel Investments) and Aon Hewitt. Compared to their Asian and white counterparts, African-American and Hispanic employees are eroding their retirement savings at an alarming rate.

The prolonged economic crisis and resulting financial challenges led many employees to tap into their retirement savings to alleviate short-term financial stress. More than two-thirds of workers who took a withdrawal in 2010 reported they needed the money for an unexpected emergency, debt or day-to-day living expenses. That said, African-American employees took hardship withdrawals more than any other ethnic group. Fully 8.8% of African-Americans took hardship withdrawals in 2010, compared to 3.2% of Hispanics, 1.7% of whites and just 1.2% of Asian workers.

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