Women facing tougher financial squeeze than men

New Which? research finds that women are more likely to be feeling the financial squeeze than men with many cutting back on essentials, struggling to save for the future and spending an extra hour and a half per month worrying about how to make ends meet.

The latest Which? Quarterly Consumer Report shows a stark gender divide, with women not only hardest hit by the current financial squeeze but also feeling less optimistic about the prospects of their personal finances and the wider economy.

Women estimate they are spending almost 11 hours per month worrying about their finances compared to nine and a half by men. Nearly half of men (45%) describe their finances as good, dropping to only a third (33%) for women. Only one in five women (19%) expects their finances to improve over the next year compared to a quarter (25%) of men.

Women are also much more pessimistic about the future of the economy, with only 15% expecting it to improve in the next 12 months, compared to 27% of men.

According to the Which? Squeezometer, women (38%) are feeling the squeeze more than men (31%), cutting back further on things like food, socialising and household goods. Half of women (48%) say they would find it difficult to cope with an unexpected expense, compared to nearly four in ten men (37%) and last month women were more likely to run out of money (31% compared to 23% of men).

In these circumstances many women are failing to save. One in four (25%) women said they had no savings at all, whereas only one in six (16%) men said the same.  Similarly, men are more likely to have saved the amount recommended by the government to help protect against the impact of sudden expenses or a drop in income (at least three months worth of household expenditure) compared to women – 42% and 27% respectively.  

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:

 “These findings will resonate with many women, showing the stark reality of how they are bearing the brunt of the current financial squeeze, and are left worried for both their own personal finances and the wider economy. The Government says it is searching for ways to support women, and this survey should make policy makers pause for thought.”

Notes for editors:

1. Primary Research Methodology: Populus, on behalf of Which?, interviewed 2,078 UK adults online between 15th and 17th March 2013.  Data were weighted to be demographically representative of allUK adults.  Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

2. Infographic of our findings can be found here.

3. Further research on cutting back on spending:

>               On food – 49% of women are planning to cut back compared to 35% of men;

>               On entertainment/socialising –  60% of women are cutting back compared to 49% of men;

>               On household goods, like TVs or washing machines – 57% of women are cutting back compared to 48% of men;

>               On savings and investments – 42% of women cutting back compared to 36% of men.

4. Which? Quarterly Consumer Report: This is the fourth report in a series monitoring how people feel about their current financial situation.  It includes the Which? Spending Power Index which tracks month on month changes in consumer purchasing power. http://www.which.co.uk/about-which/who-we-are/quarterly-consumer-reports/

5. The Which? Consumer Insight tracker: An online resource, including the Which? Squeezometer, provides a uniquely detailed picture of today’s consumers. The tracker, updated monthly, has data on consumer spending, attitudes and behaviour, and can be filtered by age, income, gender, region or political affiliation. http://www.which.co.uk/consumerinsight.








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