Women arguably have more freedom today than ever – but unfortunately the male-dominated financial world is struggling to keep up. Many of these women’s financial issues are symptomatic of a system that is failing to adapt towards equality. 

Source: Chartered Insurance Institute: Securing the financial future of the next generation.

  • A third of women in their 30s say their savings wouldn’t last a month if they lost their main source of income. With low salaries and a high cost of living

With low salaries struggling to meet a high cost of living, many women struggle to keep an emergency fund.

  • The number of cohabiting couples has doubled in the last 20 years – and they have no legal protection.

And a fifth of 16-29 year-olds live with their partner unmarried. While this seems a modern and progressive view of romance, the law has struggled to keep up. Some 35% of cohabiting adults wrongly think they have the same rights and protections as married couples. This is one of the areas we aim to improve as our home insurance policies do not differentiate between married and cohabiting couples.

  • More relationships are now breaking down in 50s

With longer life expectancies and other life events like marriage and children pushed further down the line, divorce is happening later in life. Indeed the Office for National Statistics has revealed that while divorce rates overall have plummeted, they have exploded among the over 55s. This has been partly linked to women holding more financial independence later in life rather than depending on a partner. But…

  • 71% of divorced people did not discuss pensions in divorce proceedings with women missing out on £5bn every year.

While greater financial freedom has been linked to older divorces, many of these  separations do not take into account some significant assets. How pension plots should be split is a tough question with plenty of separating couples already retired.

  • The Gender Pay Gap is 9.4% and is not due to close until 2050. It also increases from 13% for women in their 40s to 16% in their 50s.

Quite why the existence of a gender pay gap fills debates in pubs and dining tables is a mystery. Not only does it stand at nearly 10% but it continues to grow with age.

  • More women than men are on zero-hour contracts while 38% of 16 – 24 year olds are on zero-hour contracts. 29% of women are on contracts below the Living Wage.

Starting off on a career – or even just paying the bills while studying – is always a challenge. Unfortunately while offering a lot of flexibility zero-hours contracts offer no security and little scope to plan finances ahead. Artificial intelligence means many administrative roles that employ many women today could soon cease to exist.

  • 14% of women in their 40s care for both children and elderly relatives

With longer life expectancies and more women having children older, many have to battle with looking after loved ones with complex and demanding needs. This has big consequences for careers and earnings, as well as mental health.

  • 53% of men over 80 are in a couple compared to just 14% of women and so are more likely to be looked after by a partner.

Women live longer than men, and traditionally marrying older spouses, so are often faced with having to look after their partner. Who is there to help them when they need it and their partners have died?

  • 25% of UK women have suffered domestic abuse with cases far more likely in lower income households. 60% of all financial coercion cases were reported by women.

There is a direct link between domestic abuse and household income while financial abuse continues to affect women more than men.

  • Home ownership – Just 17% of married people do not own property.

For unmarried people this means a lack of a crucial asset of financial stability and instead the potential for a lifetime dependence on renting. In 1997 it took an average of just three years to save for a deposit on a first house compared to 24 years in 2014.

Categories: Women

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