Financial stress and anxiety are common among women, especially in times of uncertainty and crisis. According to a survey by FINRA, 65% of women indicated feeling anxious about their personal finances compared to 54% of men. Financial stress can have negative impacts on mental, emotional, and physical health, as well as affect relationships, work performance, and quality of life. Therefore, it is important for women to find ways to cope with financial stress and anxiety and improve their financial wellness.
What causes financial stress and anxiety for women?
There are many factors that contribute to high levels of financial stress and anxiety for women, such as:
- Lack of assets and insufficient income: Women tend to have lower incomes than men due to the gender pay gap, occupational segregation, caregiving responsibilities, and discrimination. Women also have less savings and investments than men, which makes them more vulnerable to financial shocks and emergencies.
- High debt: Women hold almost two-thirds of the student loan debt in the US, which can be a major source of financial burden and stress. Women also tend to use more credit cards than men and carry higher balances, which can lead to high interest payments and fees.
- Money management challenges: Women may face difficulties in managing their money due to lack of financial education, confidence, or access to financial services. Women may also have different financial priorities and goals than men, such as saving for children’s education, retirement, or health care.
- Low financial literacy: Women tend to score lower than men on measures of financial literacy, such as knowledge of basic financial concepts, products, and risks. Low financial literacy can limit women’s ability to make informed and effective financial decisions and plan for their future.
- Social and cultural norms: Women may face social and cultural pressures that affect their financial behavior and well-being. For example, women may be expected to take care of their families’ financial needs before their own, or to defer to their partners or spouses on financial matters. Women may also face stigma or discrimination when they seek financial advice or support.
How can women cope with financial stress and anxiety?
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for dealing with financial stress and anxiety, there are some strategies that can help women improve their financial situation and well-being:
- Create a budget: A budget is a tool that helps you track your income and expenses, identify your needs and wants, and plan for your short-term and long-term goals. A budget can help you control your spending, save more money, pay off debt, and reduce financial stress. You can use online tools or apps to create a budget that suits your lifestyle and preferences.
- Seek professional help: If you are struggling with debt, you may benefit from seeking professional help from a credit counselor or a debt relief agency. They can help you negotiate with your creditors, lower your interest rates, consolidate your debt, or create a repayment plan that works for you. You can also seek professional help from a financial planner or advisor if you need guidance on investing, saving for retirement, or planning for major life events.
- Improve your financial literacy: Financial literacy is the ability to understand and use financial information to make sound financial decisions. Improving your financial literacy can help you increase your confidence, knowledge, and skills in managing your money. You can improve your financial literacy by reading books, articles, blogs, or podcasts on personal finance topics; taking online courses or workshops; joining online communities or forums; or asking questions from experts or peers.
- Talk about money: Talking about money can help you reduce the stigma and shame associated with financial stress and anxiety. You can talk about money with your partner, spouse, family, friends, or co-workers who share similar experiences or goals. You can also talk about money with a therapist or a counselor if you need emotional support or coping skills. Talking about money can help you express your feelings, learn from others’ perspectives, get advice or feedback, and find solutions or resources.
- Practice self-care: Self-care is the practice of taking care of your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Practicing self-care can help you cope with stress and anxiety by improving your mood, energy, resilience, and well-being. Some examples of self-care activities are: exercising regularly; eating healthy; getting enough sleep; meditating; doing yoga; journaling; listening to music; reading; spending time in nature; or doing something fun or creative.
Financial stress and anxiety are common among women due to various factors such as lack of assets and income, high debt, money management challenges, low financial literacy, and social and cultural norms. However, there are ways to cope with financial stress and anxiety by creating a budget; seeking professional help; improving financial literacy; talking about money; and practicing self-care. By following these strategies, women can improve their financial situation and well-being, and achieve their financial goals and dreams.