Meeting Financial Education Needs in Underserved Communities

Apr 14, 2021

April is Financial Literacy Month, when we reaffirm and promote the importance of financial education.

Now more than ever, it is especially important to focus on financial literacy and the programs and resources available to people of color in underserved communities. The economic downturn sparked by COVID-19 has harshly impacted those communities. And for too long due to social, historical and institutional reasons, they have not had the same access to tools and resources that will enable them to become financially literate. 

The Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center at George Washington University and TIAA Institute found in a 2021 study that, on average, African Americans and people of color answered 37% of their joint Personal Finance Index questions correctly. In comparison, white survey respondents answered 55% of the questions correctly. With statistics like this, there is clearly a lot of work to be done to educate disadvantaged communities and people of color.

The encouraging news is that some progress is being made, but there is still much work to be done.

There are many programs available to help with financial literacy and education including:

We have all heard the phrase, “knowledge is power.” Financial literacy and education programs can be a first step towards obtaining that power. But we need to promote and share the many resources available to everyone, including people of color in underserved communities. Happy Financial Literacy Month!

Olivia Gillis

Olivia Gillis was Vice President, Economic Empowerment & Racial Equity and Compliance & Regulatory Affairs at the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI). She was co-lead of the EE&RE Initiative implemented to advance the leadership position of ACLI and its members in promoting economic empowerment and racial equity through policy positions that are relevant at the federal, state and international levels.