Women hit harder by recession; mental health suffers

Women are having a tougher time with the financial crisis and are more likely to struggle to stay on top of their finances, according to a new report. Twice as many women (68%) as men (32%) sought help with their finances between January 1 and April 30, says Financial Finesse, a financial education company. Financial Finesse reviewed calls to its financial helpline service that is available to over 500,000 employees at more than 300 organizations, as well as usage of its online learning center.

Financial Finesse found that women who called the helpline were more likely to be behind with their bills than men. About 74% of women said they paid their bills on time, compared with 90% of men. Also, 43% of calls from women were about debt, compared with 36% of calls from men. About 29% of the women who called about debt were dealing with serious issues, such as how to avoid foreclosure or bankruptcy, or whether or not to borrow money from a retirement plan.

"When I looked at the research I was pretty shocked when we pulled these numbers to see how women are behind," says Nancy L. Anderson, CFP, a resident financial planner for Financial Finesse. Anderson says most of the women falling behind financially were still employed, although some had been laid off or had a spouse who had lost a job. But many of the female callers were more focused on helping others, which didn't help with their own financial situation.