Women Three Times More Likely to Feel Financially Overwhelmed

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Financially stressed womanWomen have a tendency to be labeled as worrywarts, and a recent financial survey seems to support that view. When it comes to financial stress, women are three times more likely to feel overwhelmed by their situations than men, according to Financial Finesse, which conducted the survey.

According to the survey, 9% of women reported feeling "overwhelming financial stress," compared to just 3% of men. And at the opposite end of the spectrum, 17% of men claim to be living a carefree life with no financial stress at all, compared to 10% of women.

The report notes, however, that just because respondents checked off the "no financial stress" box doesn't mean they're not in financial danger. A Financial Wellness Assessment of survey respondents found that, in some cases, these stress-free respondents actually were engaging in risky behavior such as failing to save enough for retirement or not adequately protecting their wealth. In essense, some of the "no financial stress" folks were oblivious to their overall situations, and should be more stressed than they are.

On the family front, people with children average substantially higher financial stress levels, as one would expect, given that they face additional costs that can range from braces to college tuition. In the report, 21% of people surveyed with children said they had a high financial stress level, compared with 12% for those without children.

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Parents, however, can take some comfort in knowing that when it comes to feelings of overwhelming financial stress, people without children aren't too far behind them. The survey found 6% of parents said they were experiencing overwhelming financial stress, while 5% of nonparents said they had those feelings.

More Worrying, Less Fixing

Interestingly, while women tend to worry more than men when it comes to finances, a 2007 study found they're apt to do less than men to resolve their financial concerns, like establishing a financial plan of action.

In addition to gender, age and income play a significant role in the worrywart syndrome.

According to the report, 26% of men and women surveyed between the ages of 30 to 44 years old faced high or overwhelming financial stress, which mirrors Americans' prime child raising years. Meanwhile, the percentage of people in the high or overwhelming worry group shrinks to only 12% once they reach the 55- to 64-year-old range, at or near retirement age.

As for income levels, 34% of women and men who are earning between $35,000 to $59,999 say their financial stress level is high to overwhelming. And, as one would expect, it dramatically drops off as people earn more money. Only 9% of survey participants earning $200,000 or more say they face high to overwhelming financial stress.
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