Unless you’re Richard Branson or a Russian oligarch, you’ve probably had the odd sleepless night caused by money worries.
Consumer watchdog Which? found that women worry about money more than men. The study also found that nearly half of all men describe their finances as good, compared to only a third of women.
This may come as no surprise – let’s face it women really know how to worry, it’s like an Olympic sport for us. And constant worrying can lead to stress, health problems and serious anxiety issues in the long run.
Why do women worry more about money? Well, women often face different financial issues to men, such as:
1. Women Worry More About Their Financial Future
According to a report by the TUC, women tend to have much smaller pension pots than men. On average, women have £7,500 in defined contribution pension schemes, compared with £14,500 for men.
Taking time out to look after children and sliding down the career ladder also means women are less able to build up a sizeable pension pot. Worrying about how we will survive in old age is even more acute for women.
Here’s a list of our favourite personal finance books to help you get ahead with your finances.
2. Women are the New CFO of the Household
There is no doubt women’s role in the household have rapidly changed through the decades. A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) study found that the tables have turned in terms of financial decisions for the household.
A growing percentage of dual income families indicate the primary breadwinner are women.
Women are more likely to choose which car or house to buy or what to spend on a holiday and many are responsible for saving and investing. Often, they are also in charge of the day-to-day household budget. That’s a lot of stuff to worry about on a daily basis.
3. Unemployment and Flexible Working Are Biased Against Women
Women have been hit hardest by recessions and austerities. Cuts to public sector and part-time jobs – traditionally populated by women – has had a direct effect on women’s ability to earn.
Before the UK emerged from recession, female unemployment went up while male unemployment went down. Further cuts to benefits and services designed to help mothers work and look after children has also had a negative impact on women’s career prospects.
4. Caregivers Are More Likely to Be Women
Women are significantly more likely to care for both children and elderly relatives than men. This can lead to an inability to earn, putting further strain on household budgets and creating deep financial anxiety.
5. Financial Insecurity
For women who earn less than their male partners – worrying about their financial security should their partner die or leave can cause huge insecurity, particularly if the relationship is not stable and there are children involved.
That’s a whole lot of worry. Of course men have money worries too but they may differ to what women worry about, particularly in terms of juggling caring duties with work.
So if you often find yourself worrying about money, or the lack of it, take a deep breath and read on for five tips to stay calm and remain in control of your finances.
5 Ways to Beat Money Worries
1. Step Up Their Financial Knowledge
Many financial products and advice are not aimed at women (and many debt-creating products are aimed at women too much). So a lot of women feel at a loss when it comes to where to invest or are under-confident about investing.
One of the reasons we started Money Nuggets was to provide practical advice and financial education which focusses only on women and their needs.
Educating yourself about financial issues, which could be anything from childcare to pensions will help you to feel more confident about money management.
2. Take Control of Your Money
Knowledge really is power when it comes to money. Sit down with a paper, spreadsheet or an app and really get to know your finances.
Make a list of your incomings and outgoings. Have a good look at your mortgage product, bank account, credit cards, utility bills, tax codes and anything else related to spending money.
Too many of us bury our heads in the sand or are unaware of what money we have – which only makes the worrying worse.
But do you know what is even more stressful, not doing anything about it. Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away, it only makes it worse. The fear of the unknown is so much scarier than just digging in and taking a step in the right direction.
Being in control of your personal finances can also help you to save money, cutting your bills and your worries in the process. Here is how to create a spending plan that’s in alignment with your goals and values.
3. Be Prepared for the Unexpected
One of the major money worries women have, according to the Which? survey, is financial insecurity.
We worry about things that might not have happened yet, such as a car breaking down or a roof falling in. The best way to put these worries to bed is to have an emergency fund, a financial buffer you keep just for the bad things in life….
4. Get Some Help If You Need It
You don’t have to do this alone… Get some help, from people and money experts who can help, if you feel you need some support, to keep you on track.
If you aren’t into self-education, why not get some structured financial advice from a professional?
An outsider can sometimes help you put your financial worries into perspective. There are plenty of money experts and advisors out there who can help you with a tailored plan that suits your finances and your life.
5. Save Before You Spend
Save first and spend what’s left over. If you can do this, you can become a saver rather than a spender, thus significantly improving your financial situation.
The key component to financial success can simply be expressed as pay yourself first. What does it mean to pay yourself first?
Pay yourself first means, once you receive your income, pay yourself a predetermined amount directly into your savings or investment account then budget and live on the remaining income.
A great way to pay yourself first is through automatic savings. Set up a standing order to put some of your income in a savings account as soon as you get paid. Then you can forget about it while it accrues interest for you.
How to Start Saving
You can start a regular savings plan from as little as £50, or with a £1,000 lump sum with Fidelity. Capital at risk.
Is Fidelity Safe? Fidelity is authorised and regulated by the by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). They have licences that are regulated in the same way as high-street banks. They are also covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
However, if the risks concern you, find a savings account with high interest rate with limits on withdrawal to help you stick to your goals or go for a guaranteed option like the NSI Premium Bonds. You don’t earn interest on these, but you’re entered into a monthly, tax-free draw for prizes worth up to £1m.
In the face of poor savings rates, you may think there’s not much point in opening a savings account. But even having a small savings pot can go some way to keeping you calm. If you have some savings, you have some security, and this builds confidence.
So you can actually use worrying about money to your advantage. Channel that negative energy and get back in control of your finances. And….Relax.
Over to you!
Do you worry about money? How do you stop your money worries getting on top of you? Share your tips with us here!