Back in April, the UK’s 2018 gender pay gap report made uncomfortable reading. Three quarters of companies pay men more than women on average, and while a typical company is 52% male, 63% of its highest paid jobs are done by men.
However, when it comes to worrying about money, women are leading the field. In Neyber’s DNA of Financial Wellbeing 2018 research, 66% of women said that they are worried about their finances, compared to 59% of men.
Thirty five percent of women suffer from stress as a result of money compared to 25% of men, and 29% of women are losing sleep over their finances (as are 23% of men). A slightly higher number of women than men, 22% compared to 20%, say that they are depressed because of money worries.
Neyber’s survey found that women are also saving less than men. Forty four percent of men are paying into a pension, but only 35% of women are doing so. Women save £255 a month on average, compared to £367 for men. And, 36% of women (28% of men) say that they have less than a month’s worth of savings to fall back on.
Women can begin to close the gender worry gap themselves. Five places to start are:
Take control. Everyone’s spending and saving should be their own responsibility, regardless of relationship status or any caring commitments.
Build an emergency fund. Knowing that there’s money to fall back on when an unexpected bill comes in is a crucial part of being in control financially.
Make the most of benefits at work. A pension might seem like a luxury if finances are tight, but employers contribute as well, so not taking up a company pension is losing out on extra money. Employers may provide other benefits too, such as an affordable loan scheme, so make the most of what’s on offer at work.
Build financial knowledge. Starling Bank* analysed articles from women’s and men’s magazines and found that money matters are often handled differently when the audience is female. Sixty five percent of articles aimed at women characterised them as spenders and ‘splurgers’. In comparison 60% of articles aimed at men talked about investment and assumed that men were informed savers. Cut through the noise by building financial knowledge using websites such as the Money Advice Service and any financial education or advice that is on offer at work.
Have a plan. It’s more effective and motivating to save with a specific goal in mind. That could be a short-term aim, such as a holiday, or a longer-term plan like saving for retirement. Budgeting is also an essential part of any financial plan. Use an online tool or a spreadsheet to help keep track of monthly income and outgoings.