The number of Americans who say they are stretched too thin has remained stubbornly high.
However, women are ”significantly more likely” than men to have a hard time making ends meet, according to a recent report from Varo Bank.
About 59% of women are living paycheck to paycheck, compared to 41% of men, Varo Bank found. Further, 67% of women consider themselves financially fragile, or say they have little financial slack or support.
‘We start with less money in our pockets’
Due to a persistent gender wage gap, women still earn only 80% of what their male counterparts do. They are also more likely to be caregivers, which causes them to take breaks from their careers or work part-time.
That contributes to a growing wealth discrepancy, which is especially difficult to manage for those nearing retirement, according to Stacy Francis, a certified financial planner and president and CEO of Francis Financial in New York.
“Not only do we start with less money in our pockets, but we also live longer and our costs in retirement are higher,” Francis said, who is also a member of the CNBC Financial Advisor Council.
Financial literacy is ‘the No. 1 thing’
Francis advises her female clients to consider that at some point, “they are going to be on their own.”
To get on solid financial ground, “financial literacy is the No. 1 thing women can do today,” said Maggie Wall, head of diverse growth markets at Citizens, which could include meeting with a financial advisor to go over short- and long-term plans.
Women are achieving increasing levels of education, earning more and becoming the primary breadwinners, yet many also say they are less engaged when it comes to financial decision-making compared to men, according to a separate “Own Your Worth” report by UBS.
“That’s a big problem,” Francis said.
“What I encourage people to do is lump good money management into physical health and wellness,” she said. “Having that same commitment and drive is really important.”