Financial Education Programs Must Evolve to Address the Unique Needs of Underrepresented Women


New TIAA Institute Study Reveals Key Insights to Inform Financial Education Programs for Black and Hispanic Women

NEW YORK (February 23, 2021) – Limited access to financial education disproportionately affects Black and Hispanic women and harms their long-term financial outcomes, according to new research from the TIAA Institute.

The “Black and Hispanic Women’s Financial Well-Being” report found that while participation in financial education programs, whether through high school, college, or employer, was similar across underrepresented groups of women, Black and Hispanic women were offered shorter financial education programs – typically less than 10 hours – leading to fewer opportunities to learn and implement money-management skills that could result in meaningful improvements in financial well-being.

“Structural inequities and longstanding institutional biases in financial education and well-being have disproportionally impacted Black and Hispanic women,” said David P. Richardson, Managing Director of Research at the TIAA Institute. “A one-size-fits-all approach to financial education is unlikely to address differences in financial well-being. Instead, our research indicates that targeted education programs and research should be designed with the knowledge that Black and Hispanic women may have economic needs and perspectives about personal finance that differ from those of White women.”

The research, conducted by Robert Clark (North Carolina State University), Olivia S. Mitchell (The Wharton School’s Pension Research Council), Annamaria Lusardi and Hallie Davis (George Washington University’s Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center), measured financial well-being by adopting the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s metric, which defines financial well-being as “a state of being wherein a person can fully meet current and ongoing financial obligations, can feel secure in their financial future, and is able to make choices that allow enjoyment of life.”

Key findings and considerations include:

●     Black and Hispanic women are less likely to have accumulated assets and more likely to exhibit costly borrowing behaviors compared to White women.

○     To address this reality, financial education programs can inform participants about the costs associated with alternative financial services or credit cards, and help Black and Hispanic women understand better solutions available to them.

●     Black and Hispanic women are more likely have lower-wage employment and have student loan debt, making saving and homeownership more difficult.

○     Financial education programs can provide guidance on savings, retirement planning and debt repayment calibrated to the particular constraints facing Black and Hispanic women.

●     Black and Hispanic women are more likely to be unmarried parents with financially dependent children.

○     Financial education programs should take into account diverse family structures and differing expectations about financial obligations among families and provide guidance for how to plan for long-term needs of dependent children, including health and educations costs.

The full report can be found HERE.


About the TIAA Institute

The TIAA Institute helps advance the ways individuals and institutions plan for financial security and organizational effectiveness. The institute conducts in-depth research, provides access to a network of thought leaders, and enables those it serves to anticipate trends, plan future strategies and maximize opportunities for success. For more information about the TIAA Institute, visit and follow us on Twitter @TIAAInstitute.

About TIAA

With an award-winning[1] track record for consistent investment performance, TIAA ( is the leading provider of financial services in the academic, research, medical, cultural and government fields. TIAA has $1.3 trillion in assets under management (as of 12/31/2020[2]) and offers a wide range of financial solutions, including investing, banking, advice and education, and retirement services.



[1] The Refinitiv Lipper Fund Awards are based on the Lipper Leader for Consistent Return rating, which is a risk-adjusted performance measure calculated over 36, 60 and 120 months. Lipper Leaders fund ratings do not constitute and are not intended to constitute investment advice or an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security of any entity in any jurisdiction. For more information, see  Lipper Fund Awards from Refinitiv, ©2020 Refinitiv. All rights reserved. Used under license.  The Award is based on a review of risk-adjusted performance of 39 companies for 2016, 36 for 2017, 35 for 2018 & 2019, and 30 for 2020. The award pertains only to the TIAA-CREF mutual funds in the mixed-asset category.  Without such waivers ratings could be lower. Past performance does not guarantee future results. For current performance, rankings and prospectuses, please visit


[2] Based on approximately $1.3 trillion of assets under management across Nuveen affiliates and TIAA investment management teams as of 12/31/2020.

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