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Research: Millennial women suffering financial anxiety

Millennial (18- to 35-year-old) women feel more financially anxious than their male peers, despite boasting the smallest gender pay gap of any age group.

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Research by the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) of 1,001 millennials revealed that women were less financially confident than millennial men across a series of key financial indicators. They were less optimistic about career advancement (55% of women versus 61% of men) and almost twice as likely to report a decrease in their salary over the last six months (14% of women versus 8% of men).

In addition, they were more likely to report increasing bills over the last six months (41% of women and 33% of men) and almost three times as likely to say they had borrowed more over the past six months (33% versus 12% of men). Women were more likely to feel that the pressure to save for the future had increased in the last six months (51% of women and 36% of men), although they were less optimistic about purchasing a home (26% versus. 35%), which is often a significant savings goal.

Similar proportions of millennials of both genders felt they were less able to save than their parents (men 57%; women 58%) and that the basic cost of living is higher (men 85%; women 88%). However, more women (37%) than men (30%) felt they had worse life opportunities than their parents’ generation, which suggests that while the gender pay gap may have improved, they still perceive barriers to achieving their ambitions.

Graham Vidler, director of external affairs, PLSA, said: “Typically, women have had smaller pensions than their male counterparts but with the advent of auto-enrolment, more women are being encouraged to save than ever before. It is therefore vital that the lack of financial confidence among millennials does not discourage them from taking advantage of workplace pensions and falling behind when saving for retirement.

“Early in a woman’s career, when the gender pay gap is at its lowest is arguably the ideal time to get into the savings habit and start thinking about retirement income. Over half of millennial women feel pressure to save for the future and using an occupational pension scheme offers a variety of advantages. Not only will they benefit from employer contributions and tax relief but also gain peace of mind for the fact that they are taking proactive steps to building a better standard of living in retirement.

“Employers need to ensure they are engaging with this age group and helping millennials to feel more confidence about their retirement choices.”

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