4 Challenges Women Face in Saving Money (2024)

Say you’re teaching your son and daughter to ride their bikes—a challenge that both of them are equally ready to tackle. Safety first, so you drive to the store to pick up helmets for them. Would you be surprised to find that a boy’s helmet, which has a shark on it, costs $14.99, while the girl’s version of the same helmet from the same company, which has a unicorn on it, costs $27.99?

Life is expensive, but even more so for women. A combination of challenges in pay, employment, cost of living and life span make saving a different proposition for women. Here’s why—and what you can do about it.

Challenge 1: A higher cost of living for women
Most consumer goods aimed at women cost more than the equivalent products specifically for men. The difference can range from just 6% for sweaters or dress pants, to 48% for shampoo and conditioner. When you factor that into everything you buy, the combined results can add up to a lot of money over the course of a lifetime.

Challenge 2: Women are often unpaid caregivers
Women are far more likely than men to take extended leave from paying work to take care of their families. According to one study, 42% of mothers reduced work hours to take care of a family member, versus 28% of fathers, and 39% of mothers took significant time off, versus 24% of fathers. Not only do women spend less time earning, but they are also less likely to set aside money during those periods for retirement or other future plans.

Challenge 3: Women often work in lower-paying fields
Despite some progress, overall women earn less than men, with a 2015 report showing that women’s earnings were 79.6% of men’s. This is a challenge across the economic and educational spectrum, but it’s particularly serious for women without high school diplomas, who have experienced a 9.7% drop in weekly earnings since 1979, when adjusted for inflation, according to the same report. Overall, women account for more than 60% of workers paid at or below minimum wage.

Challenge 4: Healthcare costs are higher for women
On average, women in the United States live longer than men, which means higher healthcare costs. According to the Social Security Administration, a man turning 65 today can expect to live to be 84.3, while a woman turning 65 can expect to live to 86.7. As a result, women can expect to pay more over their lifetimes for healthcare. A 65-year-old woman can expect to spend more than $306,000, while a 65-year-old man can expect to pay much less—an average of more than $260,000, according to a recent survey.

What’s the best course forward for women?
Once you know what you’re facing, there’s actually a lot you can do to prepare. “The three most powerful words in personal finance are start saving now,” says Joanna Nowak, a Certified Financial Planner and Wealth Planner at MoneyWise in San Francisco. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you focus on saving:

Do it often: Make a plan to set aside money from each paycheck for retirement, and be consistent.
Think before you leave the workforce: Staying in the workforce longer can have a twofold benefit—you delay spending retirement savings, and you can accrue more money.
Look for better saving tools: Consider the return and the interest on the money you save—you’ll want the money you set aside to retain its worth in the face of inflation.

Most of all, stay informed about your finances. The more you know, the better you can prepare to take care of yourself, and the people you love.

4 Challenges Women Face in Saving Money (1)

This chart falls under the subject of "Gender Stats," and is titled "Women and Men: The Price Gap." The introduction reads, "When it comes to the yearly costs of products for men and women, men's products often are less expensive than women's. Here are three examples from the New York City's Consumer Affairs Department. There are three products discussed: clothing, personal care products, and senior care products. For clothing, the average cost for women is $307.38 and the average cost for men is $285.85, which is a difference of $21.53 , or 8%. For personal care products, the average cost for women is $57.18 and the average cost for men is $50.75, which is a difference of $6.43, or 13%. For senior care products, the average cost for women is $140.46 and the average cost for men is $130.08, which is a difference of $10.38, or 8%. This data comes from a report from the New York City Consumer Affairs Department dated December 2015. The report is titled "From Cradle to Cane: The Cost of Being a Female Consumer: A Study of Pricing and Gender in New York City.

Marcia Lerner lives in Brooklyn, New York, and writes on finance, health care and children's literature. Her articles and reviews have appeared in the New York Times and Proto magazine as well as many financial websites and magazines.

4 Challenges Women Face in Saving Money (2024)


What are the challenges of saving money? ›

Here are seven money-saving barriers — plus advice on how to knock each of them down.
  • Spending too much on housing. ...
  • No defined budget. ...
  • The “I'll save when I make more money” mindset. ...
  • Lack of a measurable savings goal. ...
  • Student loan payments. ...
  • Your comfort zone. ...
  • Overusing credit cards.

Are women good at saving money? ›

In 2022, women saved on average $3,146, while men saved an average of $7,007, according to the New York Life's 2023 Wealth Watch survey. By the time women retire, we have 44% less saved than men, according to a Vanguard study.

Why do people struggle to save money? ›

Debt, especially from high-interest credit cards, significantly hinders the ability to save. Lack of budgeting contributes to poor financial management and savings shortfalls. Social pressures and lifestyle inflation can lead to increased spending, further impeding savings efforts.

How to survive financially as a single woman? ›

If you'd like individualized advice on financial planning, consider working one-on-one with a financial advisor.
  1. Save for Emergencies. ...
  2. Pay Off Debt. ...
  3. Plan for Retirement. ...
  4. Budget, Budget, Budget. ...
  5. Diversify Your Investments. ...
  6. Consider Your Insurance Options. ...
  7. Create an Estate Plan. ...
  8. Financial Planning Tips.
May 6, 2024

What are 3 disadvantages of saving? ›

The disadvantages of using personal savings:
  • You're limited to what you can afford: your savings may only get you so far.
  • It's risky to spend all your savings: you might need your savings for a personal emergency.
  • Your responsibility for success: having more people behind your business could lead to more success.
Mar 15, 2024

How many people struggle with saving money? ›

(TND) — Over half of American workers are struggling to save for retirement or emergencies, according to Bankrate survey results published Monday. Overall, 53% said it was either difficult or impossible to consistently save enough.

Are women financially disadvantaged? ›

Women in America are still 35 percent more likely than men to be poor in America, with single mothers facing the highest risk. Currently, 35 percent of single women with children live and raise their families in poverty.

Why do women need to save more than men? ›

Fewer years in the workforce, fewer years with a single employer, and lower pay are all factors that may contribute to a lower average pension for female retirees. At the same time, women on average live longer than men. That means they must provide for more years in retirement than their male counterparts.

What do women want financially? ›

Independence, and a little treat here and there, are strongly linked to feelings of financial happiness. Almost half (46%) of female respondents consider not having to rely on anyone else financially “very important” and place great value (59%) on being able to afford everyday small luxuries.

What are the causes of poor savings? ›

Causes Of Poor Savings
  • Low Income.
  • Inappropriate financial planning.
  • High level of spending.
  • Borrowing.
  • Unemployment.
  • Poor health.
  • Inability to manage income properly.
  • Lack of support.

Why do people struggle financially? ›

The reasons that most people struggle financially will vary on the individual case but can include a lack of financial literacy, a scarcity mindset, self-esteem issues leading to overspending, and unavoidable high costs of living.

Why doesn't Gen Z save money? ›

“Gen Z is interested in living for now and having that better quality of life.” According to Intuit, almost three in four young people say the current economic climate makes them hesitant to set up long-term goals, while two in three young adults aren't sure they'll ever have enough money to retire in the first place.

Do girls like financially stable guys? ›

Financial stability signifies a sense of responsibility, dedication, and the ability to handle pressures related to financial commitments. Women may be attracted to men who display these characteristics as they contribute to emotional security within a relationship.

Do single mothers struggle financially? ›

Being a mom is a hard job that isn't adequately rewarded. Each mom wants to give all the best to their baby. But living as a single mom makes it several times more difficult to raise a child. According to the latest data, nearly 31% of families headed by single mothers are poor, while 24% are food insecure.

How to build a life as a single woman? ›

Take care of yourself

Make time for exercise, healthy eating, and other forms of self-care that make you feel good. Take yourself out to dinner, go for a solo hike, or read a good book. Learning to be comfortable with yourself is key to enjoying single life. Stay open to new experiences and opportunities.

What are the risks of saving money? ›

The interest rate on savings generally is lower compared with investments. While safe, savings are not risk-free: the risk is that the low interest rate you receive will not keep pace with inflation.

What is a disadvantage of using saved money? ›

Disadvantages of Using Savings

During that time, important purchases may be delayed. There may also be missed opportunities, such as getting a good deal on a home or appliance. Additionally, your financial flexibility can take a hit if you rely solely on savings.

What are the consequences of saving money? ›

Long-Term Security

The future is unpredictable, and financial emergencies can crop up anytime. Saving money allows you to create a safety net for your future expenses as well as unplanned financial needs. The more you save, the more peace of mind you have, as you are better prepared for anything life throws at you.

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