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Finder’s International Women’s Day Report: Women in financial ‘survival mode’

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A significant number of women are facing financial insecurity, according to a new report from Finder.

Finder's International Women's Day Report, which has combined data from Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker (CST), ABS, and WGEA, explores the disparities between men and women.

Below are some key findings from the report:

Financial stress hits women harder

  • Women are 40% more likely than men to be facing cost-of-living induced financial stress.
  • Two-thirds of women (69%) admit they have been experiencing financial stress, compared to just 49% of men.
  • More than 7 million women have found themselves in financial difficulty, with many struggling to pay their bills.
  • Worryingly 59% of women say they are enjoying life less compared to 12 months ago due to financial pressure, compared to only 48% of men.

Women have less than half the cash savings of men

  • Women have 53% less in total cash savings than men, according to Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker.
  • The average woman has $22,680 in savings and puts away $551 a month.
  • This is substantially lower than the average man who has $48,087 saved up and who saves $832 per month.
  • In January 2022 women had 15 weeks' worth of savings buffers. This has dropped to less than 13 weeks in January 2024. Meanwhile, men's savings buffers have actually increased from 17.9 weeks two years ago to 18.3 now.

Sarah Megginson, personal finance expert at Finder says:

  • "The cost of living crisis has left many women with high levels of money stress.
  • "Millions of women have found themselves experiencing higher levels of financial worry, especially as rents and mortgages have soared, putting a lot of pressure on your budget.
  • "The research shows us that women are actually really great at keeping their debt levels down and saving – they generally outperform men in this regard. Still, their long-term wealth suffers.
  • "Recent gender pay gap stats confirm that progress is being made for women in the workplace, but women still routinely earn less than men when performing the exact same roles. They still retire with far less superannuation than men.
  • "Pay equity will afford women the same financial security as men and give them the same ability to weather tougher economic conditions.
  • "A rising tide lifts all boats. When we create better and more equitable opportunities for women in the workforce, we establish broad reforms that positively impact society as a whole.
  • "In 2024, when the theme for International Women's Day encourages us to 'Count Her In: Invest in Women', we're reminded of the pivotal role we all play in creating opportunities for everyone to thrive."

Housing expenses are causing women particular strain

  • Over 2 in 5 (42%) female homeowners were struggling to pay their mortgage in January 2024.
  • This is up from 22% at the beginning of 2022. The proportion of men struggling to pay their home loan rose from 27% to 32% over the same period.
  • Getting onto the housing ladder is a feat in itself with the Finder research showing the average full-time female worker would need to work an extra 3 years to save enough for a 20% deposit on a house compared to a man.

Men have more invested in shares than women

  • Almost 1 in 3 (36%) males have a share trading account compared to only 1 in 6 (17%) females.
  • Male investors have $88,775 invested in shares – double the $45,125 women have invested.
  • Men have also seen their balance invested grow a lot faster on average than women over the past 2 years. Women's average balances have only increased by 3% since January 2022, while men's balances have increased by 88%.

Sarah Megginson, personal finance expert at Finder, says:

  • "The outsized impact of cost of living pressures on women has likely restricted their ability to invest.
  • "Right now, the focus is on immediate needs – housing, everyday bills and groceries – which means longer-term wealth building gets put on the back burner.
  • "This is completely understandable given the broader economy, but there are small shifts women can do now that can have really big returns down the track.
  • "For instance, consolidating your superannuation so you stop paying multiple sets of fees can help you build a bigger nest egg for retirement. The task takes only a few minutes, but it can mean thousands or tens of thousands more dollars in your super upon retirement."

Read the full report here.

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