The Average Americans' Monetary Situation Improved in 2015, According to AICPA Personal Financial Satisfaction Index

April 16, 2015

NEW YORK (April 16, 2015) – Decreases in inflation, personal taxes, and underemployment have lifted Americans’ overall financial satisfaction further into positive territory, according to the Q1 2015 PFSi (Personal Financial Satisfaction Index) released today by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).

The PFSi—which weighs a variety of economic factors to calculate the financial standing of a typical American —measured at 13.1 for the first quarter of 2015. This reflects a 6.5 point increase from the prior quarter and an 18.4 point increase from one year ago.

While the Pleasure Index score—driven by improvements in job openings (up 2.6 percent) and real home equity (up 1.7 percent)—advanced  slightly (up .2 points) from the last quarter, the vast majority of the overall gain of the PFSi is attributed to the 10.5 decline in the Pain Index. Much of this gain can be attributed to a decrease in inflation—the most volatile pain factor—which was driven by a dramatic decline in oil prices in the last quarter.

“The increase in the PFSi signifies that the average Americans' financial situation should be in better shape now than it was prior to the start of the year,” said Susan Tillery, CPA/PFS and member of the AICPA’s PFP Executive Committee. “As inflation has decreased and more people are finding full time work, this is an opportune time to analyze your personal financial plan and take steps to build up reserves and refinance high interest debt.”

The largest contributing factors to the reduction in the Pain index score this quarter were inflation (which declined 20 points), loan delinquencies (which declined 5 points), and underemployment (which declined 2 points). Personal taxes declined by two points from last quarter.

“Despite slight advances and declines within the financial pleasure and pain factors in the last quarter, the continued improvement in the PFSi score indicates that Americans’ financial opportunities have continued to expand faster than their potential loss in financial well-being,” added Tillery. “Now is an excellent time for Americans to be reviewing their own financial situation with a CPA financial planner.  This relationship will help them feel more confident in their decisions and financial strategies going forward.”

The PFSi, calculated as the Personal Financial Pleasure Index minus the Personal Financial Pain Index represents the financial standing of a typical American, uses both proprietary and normalized official U.S. Government data.

Pleasure factors include the proprietary PFS 750 Market Index, comprised of the 750 largest companies by market capitalization trading on the U.S. markets, excluding ADRs, mutual funds and ETFs. The other components are the AICPA’s CPA Outlook Index, Real Home Equity Per Capita and Job Openings Per Capita. Pain factors include inflation, personal taxes, loan delinquencies and underemployment.

Additional information on the PFSi can be found at:

For a more information on the PFSi index, contact Kristin Vincenzo at or 212-596-6138.


The Personal Financial Satisfaction Index ( PFSi) is calculated as the difference between the Personal Financial Pleasure Index, and the Personal Financial Pain Index.  These are in turn comprised of four equally weighted factors each of which measure the growth of assets and opportunities, in the case of the Pleasure Index, and the erosion of assets and opportunities, in the case of the Pain Index.  Those factors have been modified to an average value of 50.