July 22, 2024

Single Women Are Less Confident About Managing Their Finances Than Married Counterparts — But The Reason Why Is Surprising

LordHenriVoton / Getty Images

LordHenriVoton / Getty Images

According to U.S. Census data, single people comprise 46.4% of the population.

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For women, the number is even higher. Looking at Census data, out of all of the women in America, over half are single.

With over half of the adult women in America being single, whether widowed, divorced or never married, concerns about finances are easily apparent.

Single women generally feel less confident about managing their finances. Their concerns are much different than those who are married — and there are many potential reasons why single women face difficulties regarding attitudes about finance.

Why Women Are Less Confident About Their Finances

“A greater share of women say they actively worry about money at least once a day compared to men, and women are also much more likely to feel stressed about their finances,” said Fortune.

This is no surprise — this information regarding men and women has always been known.

Women have had to fight to be recognized in the workplace, and there may be psychological reasons why women are more concerned about finances. With the wage gap and other workplace issues women face, earning money is a key concern for adult women.

What is surprising, though, is that married women have vastly different financial goals than their single counterparts.

Married Women Have Different Goals

While single women are concerned with paying off debts and not living paycheck to paycheck, married women have different financial concerns.

According to U.S. Census data, married couples, compared to single men and women, had a $106,921 average income. Single women had the lowest median income of all demographics surveyed, with an income of $51,168.

While married women are more preoccupied with future planning, such as retirement and vacation homes, single women are focused on the present. Single women are more likely to struggle to make ends meet.

“42% of married women report believing in their ability to reach their financial goals, compared to 37% of singles, 35% of divorced women, and 29% of widows,” said Fortune.

With the extra income from their spouse, married women can easily find the confidence to navigate a tough economy. The same cannot be said for women who have no significant other. A partner’s income is essential — they can pay an extra yearly salary.

Without that additional financial help, many single women can only focus on paying off debts and paying their monthly bills. Married women have the funds and support from their spouses to feel confident in planning for the future.

It is Harder To Be Single in Today’s Economy

Beyond just being single, women have the added difficulty of navigating the gender wealth gap. But living off of a single income in our current economy is still incredibly challenging.

“The extra time spent doing tasks that a couple could split, the risk reduction steps singles may take because there’s no safety net, and even the outright discrimination facing singles, particularly against women, all add up,” said Fortune.

Not having that support from another income — in case of an emergency such as a layoff or unexpected medical bills — is a cause of stress for most single women.

With an average yearly income of just over $50,000 and a societal disadvantage due to the wage gap, it may feel like a bleak situation for many single women.

Additionally, single women feel less confident about taking healthy risks such as starting a business, returning to school for a higher-level degree or changing careers entirely.

“[Risks are more] challenging to take advantage of when you’re single and there’s no fallback if you make the wrong move,” said Fortune.

How Single Women Can Plan for the Future

Being proactive is essential to good financial health. In fact, gathering more information about how to manage finances is a key way to soothe anxieties.

“Many divorced and widowed women took a step back from managing the larger picture when they were in partnerships,” said Fortune.

Newly single women should take a more proactive approach to their finances.

With a partner to hold you accountable and act as a financial safety net, it is easy to feel too comfortable and let your spouse manage the finances while you step back. When that safety net is no longer present, it can often be intimidating and stress-inducing.

For single women who feel unconfident about their financial future, seeking a financial advisor or other finance professional is recommended. A professional can assuage any stresses around finances and help individuals set long-term financial goals.

Though the road is more difficult for single women than married women, single women can gain confidence and build a secure financial future.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Single Women Are Less Confident About Managing Their Finances Than Married Counterparts — But The Reason Why Is Surprising

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