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Women’s mental health hit by financial worries

Women suffer from greater money worries than men, a study has shown this International Women’s Day.

Research has revealed that just under half (41%) of working women in the UK have money worries, a figure that dips significantly down to less than a third (32%) for men.

Statistically, the figure is also higher in younger women with 55 per cent of women aged 16-24 reporting money worries, and 53 per cent of those aged 25-34.

The recently reported research was carried out by Salary Finance, an employee financial wellbeing platform, and also revealed the shocking impact of these figures on women’s mental health.

The stats show that women with money worries are much more likely than their male counterparts with the same concerns to be suffering sleepless nights (51% to 43%), anxiety and panic attacks (62% versus 57%) and are more likely to have depression and suicidal thoughts (71% versus 65%).

These figures mean that when compared to those with no money worries women with financial concerns are over five times more likely to have anxiety and nearly seven times more likely to have depression. For men with financial worries, it is far less – they are 1.3 times more likely to say they’re suffering from anxiety and/or depression due to financial problems.

It’s also more likely that you will run out of money before pay day if you’re a woman, according to these statistics. Over a third (34%) of women are running out of money before pay day each month, compared to just under a quarter (24%) of men. Younger women were again much more highly impacted, being much more likely to run out of money before pay day.

Of course, the impact of maternity leave is keenly felt by the female workforce. Of those surveyed that took maternity or paternity leave, a massive 73 per cent of women said they took on additional debt as a result, compared to just 27 per cent of men. Yet resulting childcare costs did not cause significantly higher levels of stress for women.

Asesh Sarkar, CEO and co-founder of Salary Finance, commented: “In 2020 it’s disheartening to see such a discrepancy between financial wellbeing in men and women. Our extensive research has shown the crippling impact that money worries can have on the UK workforce, and see these figures that show women suffer much more.”

Although there were many differences the survey did reveal that there are no notable differences in the approach to savings between women and men, suggesting attitudes and behaviour play a far bigger role in saving habits than gender.

Another similarity between men and women was an apparent unwillingness to discuss their finances. This highlights a general attitude rather than a gender-specific issue.

Asesh added: “Whilst the figures show that women are suffering more as a result of poor financial wellbeing, it’s important to remember that financial stress and concerns affects a wide range of people, regardless of gender, age or salary.

“There is a need to tackle the stigma attached to discussing financial concerns and this is where financial solutions in the workplace can help. It is therefore important for employers to take an interest in the financial health of their employees. Our research has shown that around 77 per cent of workers feel they can trust their employer when it comes to sharing personal information. This really highlights the role that employers can play when it comes to tackling the issue of poor financial wellbeing amongst the UK workforce.”