The 2021 TIAA Institute-GFLEC Personal Finance Index

April 2021

Financial well-being and literacy in the midst of a pandemic


COVID-19 has underlined the importance of possessing financial knowledge and skills—and having a financial cushion to weather the unexpected.


Fielded in the midst of the pandemic, the 2021 TIAA Institute-GFLEC Personal Finance Index (P-Fin Index) provides critical insights into the state of Americans’ personal finances during a time of extended national and global stress. With a core set of questions that assess financial literacy, the P-Fin Index also gauges financial wellbeing in ways that transcend unemployment levels, furloughs and changes in income, including data that allows for comparisons across socio-demographic segments of the population.

Key Insights
26% of U.S. adults are dissatisfied with their current financial condition.
18% spend 10 hours or more per week on personal finance issues and problems.
22% cannot pay all their bills in full and on time in a typical month.
30% could not cope with an unexpected expense of $2,000 within a month's time.
U.S. adults correctly answered only 50% of the P-Fin Index questions, on average; this figure was 37% and 41% among African Americans and Hispanics, respectively.

This year’s P-Fin Index survey was completed online in January 2021 by a sample of 3,035 U.S. adults, ages 18 and older. The data were weighted to be nationally representative.

Back to P-Fin Index Main Page