Employer-sponsored retirement funds could be an effective avenue into the world of investing for many African-Americans, who have historically lagged behind their Caucasian counterparts in stock market participation, the eighth annual Ariel-Schwab Black Investor Survey indicates.

According to the survey, conducted by the San Francisco-based financial services giant Charles Schwab and Chicago-based Ariel Capital Management, 65% of African-American households earning more than $50,000 annually are invested in the market, while among Caucasians, that number is 80%. Black investing has fluctuated over the years, from a low of 57% in 1998 to a high of 74% in 2002, while Caucasian investing has remained flat.

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