The 2019 TIAA Institute-GFLEC Personal Finance Index: Education

Financial Literacy in the United States and Its Link to Financial Wellness

Variations by education

Financial literacy is positively correlated with both general education and financial education. Figure 8 shows the average percentage of P-Fin Index questions answered correctly by general education level and by receipt of financial education. These findings are consistent with previous studies, including previous waves of the P-Fin Index.

  • Higher levels of general education are associated with greater financial literacy. Those with a college degree answer two-thirds of the index questions correctly on average, compared with one-third for those with less than a high school degree.
  • There is a 16 percentage point differential in questions answered correctly between individuals who have participated in a financial education class or program and those who have not received financial education.
P-Fin Index Figure #8

Figure 9 shows the percentage change in P-Fin Index questions answered correctly between 2017 and 2019 by general education level and receipt of financial education. Those who have a college degree and those who have received financial education display increases in financial literacy. In particular, the increase among those who have received financial education stands out.

P-Fin Index Figure #9