The way women feel about their finances affects how they feel about other aspects of their lives, a recent Ellevest survey found. The female-focused digital investing platform surveyed 2,000 American women about their confidence in the future, their personal finances, financial planning, their attitudes toward investing money, their job satisfaction and more — and many of the answers were surprising.
Click through to see how money impacts a woman's confidence and to find out how women can start owning their financial future.
Women Feel in Charge of Their Future When Putting Money Toward Goals
The No. 1 thing that makes women confident about their future is putting away money for financial goals, the Ellevest survey found. Sixty-three percent of female respondents selected this answer.
April Masini, founder of Relationship Advice Forum, believes that putting away money for financial goals plays an important part in how women feel about their future because it gives them a sense of security. "Women tend to seek security — in relationships and in life, in general — because in spite of earning strides made by women in recent history, they still smart from having made less than men for so long," she said.
"That fear of not having enough is part of the history and emotional baggage that many women carry around with them, and it drives them to save and to earn and to accrue wealth. Financial goals can be simply security — measured by a home, vacation money or rainy day savings."
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Saving and Investing Also Increase Women’s Confidence in Their Future
After putting away money for financial goals, women ranked how much they have saved (54 percent) and how much they have invested (43 percent) as the top predictors of their confidence in the future. Women put more value on finances than education and support from family or relationships when it came to how they feel about their future, the Ellevest survey found.
Women Care More About How Much They Have Invested as They Age
The percentage of women who said that the amount they have invested made them feel the most secure about their future increased with age: 25 percent of women under 30 selected that response, while 31 percent of women in their 30s, 35 percent of women in their 40s and 44 percent of women over 50 did.
Financial Issues Make Women Feel Less in Charge of Their Future
The No. 1 cause of concern about the future for women is a lack of savings, with 33 percent providing this response. The second most popular response was having too much debt, with 32 percent of the women surveyed giving that answer.
Most Women Don’t Feel Financially Prepared for the Unexpected
Only 39 percent of women surveyed said they are prepared to face the financially unexpected, while 52 percent of men said they are ready.
Most Women Are Not Prepared to Negotiate a Better Salary
Although 63 percent of women surveyed believe they should be paid more at work, only 34 percent of women feel they are prepared to negotiate a better salary.
The Big Picture
GOBankingRates analyzed women's financial attitudes expressed in the Ellevest survey, and compared them with data on how much savings, debt and emergency funds women actually have.
Click through to learn more about our findings on women and their finances.
Women Care More About Saving Than Men
A 2016 GOBankingRates survey found that "save more, spend less" was women's most popular New Year's resolution for 2017, with 25.1 percent of women saying that this was their financial goal of the year. Conversely, only 22 percent of men said it was their No. 1 financial resolution. The second most popular answer among women was "paying down debt," with 18.9 percent of responses.
But Cost of Living Is Holding Them Back
A recent GOBankingRates survey found that 62 percent of women have less than $1,000 in a savings account. A separate GOBankingRates study found that high cost of living (rent, food, utilities) was the biggest obstacle for women when it came to saving money, with 32.2 percent of women selecting this response. The next most popular answers were a low salary (19.7 percent) and debt (17 percent).
Click to see the full survey findings.
Women Don’t Prioritize Building an Emergency Fund
The 2016 GOBankingRates survey about financial New Year's resolutions found that building an emergency fund was not a popular financial goal among women, with only 6.6 percent of female respondents saying that it was their resolution for the year 2017. However, the response was slightly more popular among women than men, with only 6.1 percent of men responding that building an emergency fund was their financial resolution.
Why Do Women Think This Way?
"The anxiety that women feel about unexpected financial issues has to do with both finances in general and an actual lack of savings," said Masini. "It can be an emotional whirlwind of concern over earning capacity, health, knowledge, dependents, personal energy, ability to comprehend — and more."
Masini believes this insecurity stems from a lack of financial education among many women. "Historically, handling money has been someone else's job in the family," she said. "And now, because women's roles are changing, many women don't know where to start or to turn when they realize the buck stops with them and there is an unexpected financial issue."
Masini says that a lack of knowledge and hesitancy to ask for more prevent many women from negotiating for better positions and better salaries.
"Many women feel that they don't deserve more, and insecurity runs rampant," said Masini. "They wait for someone to offer them a raise, rather than ask for one — and these women fear rejection more than most men do. They worry about how they may be perceived for asking for a raise, and they worry about what others think about them should they ask. Other women have been shot down (rightly or wrongly) and take on a self-defeating attitude, expecting more of the same."