/ Money

Gender divide: financial squeeze hitting women more than men

Cartoon of divide between man and woman

Our latest research has identified a stark gender divide. Women are not only hardest hit by the current financial squeeze, they’re also feeling less optimistic about their personal finances and the wider economy.

According to our latest Quarterly Consumer Report (out this coming Tuesday), women are more likely to be cutting back on essentials and are struggling to save for the future.

In fact, women estimate they spend an hour and a half more than men worrying about finances each month.

Men are more optimistic about the economy

Differences between men and womenOnly 19% of women expect their finances to improve over the next year, compared to 25% of men. Women are also much more pessimistic about the future of the economy, with only 15% expecting it to improve in the next 12 months, compared to 27% of men.

The Which? Squeezometer shows that 38% of women, compared to 31% of men are feeling financially squeezed – cutting back further on things like food, socialising and household goods. And last month women were more likely to run out of money (31% compared to 23% of men).

In these circumstances many women are failing to save – 25% of women said they had no savings at all, whereas only 16% of men said the same. You can see more evidence of this gender divide in our picture to the left (click to enlarge).

How’s the squeeze affecting you?

In my home, I have responsibility for doing our finances each month and I’ve noticed the impact of increasing fuel bills. I also find myself looking out for the best deals when I do my online shop to try and cut back on what we spend on food.

So, I’d like to know how the current state of the economy is impacting you. Do you think the current state of the economy is affecting women more than men?

richard says:
21 April 2013

Depends on the job – My profession has equal pay for men and women – so any women not coping are not competent.

Or maybe not so complacent – “self-satisfied and unaware of possible dangers”.

This is a survey of opinion, not fact, so keep offensive comments out of it. How someone chooses to feel about their finances is up to them. It does not mean they are incompetent.

I assume the method will be the same?

“Methodology – Populus, on behalf of Which?, interviewed 2060 UK adults online between 4 and 7 January 2013. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all UK adults.”

Can you tell me whether this sample is chosen from Which? respondents, or from people selected from the phonebook, or blind dialing of mobile phones? One would not wish to say too much about the results obtained until one had a feel for the reliability of the data.

From my own experience of lending money, before credit scoring took any skill from the process, I dealt with many thousands of borrowers. Women tended to be more cautious and men much less so. Therefore I am not in the slightest surprised at some of the results.

In my experience of surveys they tend to be quite bland and I doubt very much that the question of “cutting back on essentials” was explored as to what counted as essential. A mans view and a womens view of what is essential would be very revealing.

One wonders how many people are paying for expensive Sky subscriptions, expensive hairdressing, and believe holidays are essential etc etc.

A lot of my time when lending was actually really about helping people to budget/manage their finances sensibly. I doubt human nature has changed an iota in the last century and I suspect that with Banks keen on minimising staffing costs and training local branches are of not much real value to their customers.

Hello Diesel, just on your question about the sample.

We interviewed more than 2000 UK adults (random sample of the population, not Which? members) which means it’s large enough for us to be confident in the reliability of the results. People were selected so that we had a sample that’s demographically representative of all of the UK, which means people of different ages, incomes, gender in each region of the UK. The difference between men and women found in our results is large enough to be a reliable difference seen in the whole population. It’s also important to note that the survey wasn’t only about opinions, we asked them to report their behaviours as well.

As far as essentials, in this case they are the same for everyone – things like food, energy, household bills.

I just want to remind a couple of you about our commenting guidelines: https://conversation.which.co.uk/commenting-guidelines/ Although you may not have meant to have caused offence, please think about how your comments might be interpreted by others before hitting ‘submit’. Thanks.

Thanks for the reply Patrick.

I think it is always helpful that surveys do provide details of how they are collated and ideally the questions asked. A common problem now is that with the advent of mobile phone only citizens as opposed to older telephone based respondents there is a section of the population difficult to contact.

I may be showing bias but it is reassuring to find that women continue to be more cautious.

One last question is what is the aim for Which? in establishing these trends? Are there not other bodies doing this? I genuinely am puzzled as what is the consumer angle other than as consumers we are generally poorer.

Women need to be more cautious about their spending as they live longer than their male counterparts an they are often the ones left to look after children. Also, women retiring about now will have to wait several more years before they receive state pension, although they did not benefit from equal pay all their working lives. Men do not have the mentality to admit they are worried about money.

Many women end up in charge of the day-to-day spending for their families as they’re more aware than men how much their family really does have to spend as they’re the ones having to decide which brands to buy, where to shop, who’s doing the best money-off offer etc etc