Beyond the Pay Gap: Gender-Based Financial Inequalities | RISMedia, RISMedia

Beyond the Pay Gap: Gender-Based Financial Inequalities | RISMedia, RISMedia
Beyond the Pay Gap Gender Based Financial Inequalities RISMedia RISMedia

Friday, May 10, 2019

While it may seem like financial opportunities are improving for women in the workplace, more than half (56 percent) of working American women are stressed about their personal finances, compared to only 41 percent of men, according to a new study conducted by financial wellness solutions provider Salary Finance. The survey of 10,486 U.S. employees revealed that women struggle more than men in almost every area of their financial wellness – from meeting day-to-day expenses to saving enough for retirement – and are more likely to perceive finances as a “scary” topic.

Other key findings in the research include:

– Men are happier and more financially fit than women. On average, men are 24 percent happier and 37 percent more financially fit than women. When adjusted for income, these numbers drop to 16 percent and 12 percent, respectively, indicating how wide the pay disparity is between men and women, and the effect this has on one’s financial wellness.

– Women are at a disadvantage in regard to debt and loan availability. Female employees are a third more likely to be refused a loan than men (40 percent versus 30 percent) and have higher rates of student loan debt (33 percent versus 27 percent) and medical debt (35 percent versus 29 percent).

– Maternity leave can leave a lasting, negative impact on a woman’s finances. Sixty-three percent of female workers report taking maternity leave; fifty-nine percent of those said that it impacted their ability to pay bills and 53 percent had to take on additional debt to make ends meet while taking leave to care for a newborn child.

– The impact of financial stress on women is substantial. Women are 1.3 times more likely than men to suffer from sleepless nights, anxiety and panic attacks due to financial stress. Interestingly, men take more days off from work (1 versus 0.8 days) to deal with personal financial issues even though they are significantly less stressed about their finances than women. Women are a third more likely to be planning to resign from their job than men (13 percent versus 10 percent).

– Saving is an uphill battle for many women. Nearly 70 percent of women feel they do not have enough money for retirement (versus 50 percent of men). When it comes to 401k plans:

– 66 percent of women report understanding how a 401k works (versus 76 percent of men)

– 56 percent of women have a 401k plan (versus 62 percent of men)

– Women are more likely than men to choose saving over spending. Despite the limitations in their financial lives, many women are trying to work toward a bright financial future. Thirty-seven percent of women report that they choose to save rather than spend, compared to 32 percent of men.

“Running out of money before pay day is a stressful event, and if you have very little savings and can’t get a loan, that’s only going to make matters worse,” says Salary Finance CEO and co-founder Asesh Sarkar. “Cash flow shortages are an even bigger problem for women, who make less money than men, yet have more debt and fewer options for relief. This financial stress has significant effects on mental health that impact all aspects of one’s life, including work performance.”


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