The pandemic has caused Americans to re-think everything from their careers to childcare. For many women, it is also leading them to reassess their finances.
More than 6 in 10 women — 67% — said they have become more engaged in the different aspects of managing their money since the COVID-19 outbreak began, according to new research from investment company Fidelity.
Not only are some women putting a greater emphasis on financial education, but many are making smarter money moves.
Women increasing financial knowledge
In recent months, the pandemic has created a host of financial concerns. For example, a recent survey found that many consumers are afraid their credit scores may take a hit, due to missed payments or debt taking on during the crisis. However, some women are being proactive to avoid suffering long-term consequences.
More than a third of women — 36% — said they have taken steps to better educate themselves financially since the start of the pandemic, according to the Fidelity survey. Many are also opening up to the idea of discussing their finances with others, as 35% said they had become more comfortable in the past six months talking about money.
Women have also been adjusting their money habits during the pandemic:
- 46% have cut back on discretionary spending
- 44% are now following detailed budgets
- 43% have created or updated a financial plan
- 40% are building up their emergency savings
Stress may be a motivator
Part of the reason behind the increased focus on money could be that so many women are feeling stressed because of the pandemic. In fact, 6 in 10 women said they are feeling much more stressed than they felt before the pandemic began, and 80% said everyday finances were a top concern. When asked to name other concerns:
- 80% said the emotional and mental well-being of their children
- 77% said a family member contracting COVID-19
- 74% said their emotional and mental well-being
- 70% said their long-term savings and investments
- 62% said the struggles of juggling childcare and work
- 59% said falling behind in their careers or losing their job
Gender norms may also play a role, as 45% of women respondents who are married or living with a partner said they have taken on more household responsibilities than their significant other during the pandemic. For example, 67% of women were handling childcare at home compared to 47% of men. Along the same lines, 72% of women were responsible for homeschooling the children compared to 49% of men.
Nearly 4 in 10 women — 39% — are thinking about making a change in their work life such as reducing their hours, or even quitting, because they are having to handle increased caregiving duties at home.
An earlier survey found that working mothers were more likely to feel unsupported by their employers during the pandemic than working fathers.
Methodology: Fidelity commissioned research firm Engine Insights to survey 1,902 adults between Aug. 25 to Sept. 4, 2020. All respondents self-identified as caregivers and were employed as of Jan. 1, 2020.