Over the last year, we’ve been working with the Fawcett Society to dive deep into how couples manage household budgets. From the survey of 500 co-habiting heterosexual couples, we found that women are twice as likely to be responsible for household budgeting.
This responsibility is likely to add to women’s mental load but it could also be a source of financial confidence and knowledge. When asked to rate their confidence in financial knowledge out of 10, 71% of women scored themselves 7 or higher, compared to 69% of men.
While this statistic suggests a marked improvement from previous studies on a lack of financial confidence in women, there continues to be an emotional inequality on spending between women and men: 46% of women under 55 feel guilty when they buy something for themselves, compared to just 27% of men.
Here, we speak to three women about what underpins financial confidence and what steps can be taken to alleviate financial guilt. Clare Seal is the author of Real Life Money: An Honest Guide to Taking Control of Your Finances, a book that began with her Instagram account @myfrugalyear where she is chronicling her journey to repay £27,000 worth of debt.
Catherine Morgan is a qualified financial planner and financial coach who hosts the In Her Financial Shoes podcast and runs courses and events through her website and blog The Money Panel. Bola Sol is an entrepreneur, financial wellbeing blogger and co-host of the podcast The Last Three Digits.
Disconnecting money from self-worth
For many women, self-worth is at the root of both confidence and guilt around money. “Money is a deeply emotional thing and women do themselves a disservice by not acknowledging that,” says Clare, 30. “Debt that feels out of your control is one symptom of a bigger root cause of a broken relationship with money. But the more you talk about it, the more you can disconnect it from your self-worth.”