Financial literacy and wellness among U.S. women: Financial wellness among under-represented minority women

For each indicator of financial wellness in the P-Fin Index survey, there is a significant gap between underrepresented minority women and their white peers (Figure 14). 

  • One-half of African American and Hispanic women can readily make ends meet in a typical month compared with 70% of white women.

  • About one-quarter of African American and Hispanic women do not feel debt constrained compared with 56% of white women.

  • Fewer African American and Hispanic women can deal with an unexpected financial emergency. Specifically, 55% of underrepresented minority women, could likely come up with $2,000 within 30 days to cover an unexpected need, compared with 77% of white women.

  • Less than one-half of non-retired African American and Hispanic women (43%) save for retirement on a regular basis, and among the same group, only 15% are planning for their retirement.

2020 P-Fin Index Figure 14
Source: TIAA Institute-GFLEC Personal Finance Index (2020).

Consistent with the findings among all U.S. adult women, greater financial literacy is associated with greater financial well-being among underrepresented minority women. African American and Hispanic women who correctly answered over 50% of the index questions are more likely to engage in behaviors connected to higher financial well-being compared to underrepresented minority women who correctly answered only up to 50% of the index questions (Figure 15).

2020 P-Fin Index Figure 15
Source: TIAA Institute-GFLEC Personal Finance Index (2020).

Underrepresented minority women spend more than double the time as their white peers thinking about and dealing with personal finance issues—13 hours per week on average compared with 5 hours (Figure 16). The link between financial literacy and time spent on personal finance issues observed among all women also exists specifically among African American and Hispanic women. With that said, the relative time saving with greater financial literacy is lower among underrepresented minority women. African American and Hispanic women who correctly answered over 50% of the P-Fin Index questions spent about 30% less time per week on personal finance issues compared with their peers who correctly answered 50% or less of the index questions. The analogous figure among white women is over 60%.

2020 P-Fin Index Figure 16
Source: TIAA Institute-GFLEC Personal Finance Index (2020).