Women More Optimistic about Financial Future

A new nationwide survey issued by Citi shows there is a widening divide between men’s and women’s outlook for the economy and their own financial situations.

Sixty-two percent of men are somewhat (47%) or very (15%) optimistic that their own financial situation will get better over the next twelve months, a four point decline since March. While the percentage of women who are somewhat (47%) or very (19%) optimistic remains unchanged since March, the percentage of women who are very optimistic has risen four points.   

According to a press release, women’s top priority for saving, across all age groups and income levels, is to have money for emergencies and unexpected needs (27%). Twenty-five percent of women under 40 prioritized saving for education while 23% of women over 40 prioritized saving for retirement.   

Reducing debt was an issue across all ages with 15% of women under 40, and 13% of women over 40 responding it is a priority. Only 2% of women under 40 and 3% of women over 40 said they are saving to invest in financial markets;, however, nearly one in five women (17%) expressed interest in learning more about saving for retirement and in making investments (15%).   

The survey found that young women (ages 18 to 39) are more upbeat about their personal financial situations and in their outlook for the future. Nearly twice as many young women (aged 18 to 39) say they are better off now than they were a year ago (23%) than women over 40 (12%). More than four in five (82%) young women are optimistic that their own financial situation will improve, whereas 59% of women over 40 feel the same.   

The announcement said that while current assessments of local economic conditions have improved slightly since March, up 3 points for men (24%) and 4 points for women (23%), only 50% of men believe that the business conditions where they live will get somewhat (46%) or much (4%) better in the next 12 months, compared with 51% and 5% of women, respectively. For men this represents an eight-point decline from three months ago, but it’s just a three-point decline for women.  

Sixty-five percent of women and 60% of men believe we still have a ways to go before the economy hits bottom. Only 30% of women and 35% of men believe we have already hit bottom.   

Sixty-three percent of women and 61% of men believe it will be at least two or three years, if not longer, before the economy stabilizes for their household. This includes nearly a third (31%) of women and a full quarter of men (25%) who believe it will take four or more years before the economy stabilizes for their household.  

Hart Research Associates conducted the telephone survey of 2,005 adults, including 1,070 women, nationally from June 22-29, 2010.