Managing Your Finances during the COVID-19 Crisis

The Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center has a new resource to help people manage their personal finances during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

April 17, 2020

Piggy Bank

By Briahnna Brown

April is Financial Literacy Month in the United States, and the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC) at the George Washington University School of Business has provided a new resource for managing finances in these uncertain times.

The new webpage provides seven suggestions for building financial resilience and managing money in times of crisis. These tips encourage visitors to learn about what financial adjustments they can make, such as payment options for various bills, how to revisit existing budgets to create new ones and how to take advantage of digital money management tools.

Annamaria Lusardi, GW professor and director of GFLEC, said that everyone can benefit from the new webpage and to keep in mind that even though these are difficult times, there is no need to panic.

“These are unusual times and personal finance decisions have to adjust to the critical situation in which we are all in,” Dr. Lusardi said. “We thought it would be useful and important to provide guidelines and information to deal with our personal finances in emergency times.”

Basic financial literacy is especially crucial in times of crisis, Dr. Lusardi said. The 2020 TIAA Institute-GFLEC Personal Finance Index (P-Fin Index)— a long-term project of GFLEC in collaboration with the TIAA Institute that annually analyzes financial literacy among adults in the United States--found that financial literacy levels have slowly been increasing since the inaugural study in 2017.

Younger adults (Gen-Z) tend to have much lower financial literacy levels than millennials, Gen-X or baby boomers, the report states, and those with high financial literacy levels spend much less time dealing with personal finance problems and issues than those with low financial literacy levels.

Dr. Lusardi said there is a lot that people can still do to get a handle on their finances and improve their financial literacy. This is a great time for GW students to sign up for personal finance courses, she said, because financial literacy is an essential tool to navigate the economic world.

“Sailing lessons—with that I mean financial literacy—show their worth in the middle of a storm,” Dr. Lusardi said. “Let's not wait for another storm to learn the importance of financial literacy.”