We asked readers to share their biggest money problems. Their responses were many and varied from worries like how to best invest their money to how to start a business to simply making ends meet.
But one thing was clear: Women are more concerned now with their finances than ever before.
We believe that talking about financial challenges helps everyone. It breaks the barrier on the idea that talking about money is taboo, starts meaningful money conversations and helps other women know that they are not alone, regardless of their financial struggles.
And most importantly, it gives you back your power – the power to recognize where you’re lacking financially, the strength to be open about it, and the courage to change it.
Here’s what readers said.
Not Paid Enough
“My biggest struggle is that I’m massively underpaid, and I work in a field (venture capital) where jobs don’t open up frequently. My fiancée’s income is lumpy and unstable, and we quickly go from being very comfortable to struggling and stressed. I think that the best solution is to find a new job that pays an appropriate wage, but it’ll likely be a long, tiresome process. I’ve also thought about side jobs, and am in the process of building my own small side business, but am worried it’ll fail if I can’t devote myself to it full-time.”
— Alex, 27
“As a single woman who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, the biggest struggle I have is trying to rise above the poverty level. I know things would just be easier if I was in a relationship and could split expenses (and) bills, but it shouldn’t be the only reason to forgo my independence. But the current economic climate has made it almost impossible for me to ever be able to afford a studio apartment on my own. The economic ease with which my parents were able to afford a nice home for our family growing up has changed and left so many of us single people trapped in forever roommate zone!”
— Breanne, 33
Trying to Make a Business Work
“My biggest financial struggle: I’m four-and-a-half years out of a divorce; one-and-a-half years of alimony left. I’m working two part-time jobs for crappy pay and pouring everything into establishing my business. I’ve learned that getting such a business going takes longer than I realized. This is the one thing I want to do with my life. But should I dump the shop rent and the expenses of the business in order to save and invest the alimony? Through the divorce, I’d say I have one-fourth of what I will need for net worth. It’s just that when I imagine myself doing a desk job every day, all day, to ‘earn a living,’ I feel so depressed about the idea. My guess is that I just have to suck it up.”
— Liz, 57
So Much I Don’t Know
“My biggest financial struggle is feeling like I don’t have options. I feel stupid about asking questions and overwhelmed by all of the budgeting systems out there. I barely know what taxes are. (I just head to Turbo Tax every year and fill out the information.) And after discovering credit cards, I’ve learned the hard way about interest and overspending.”
Can We Trust Our Money Managers?
“Right now, it is the 10-inch-high pile of Morgan Stanley documents sitting on my desk. Fed up with the lack of responsiveness of our former financial advisor(s), we recently transferred all our retirement accounts to Morgan Stanley, and have been receiving statements and other stuff from them daily. The real problem is making sense of all the documents, about the funds our money is going to, the agreements we entered into, etc. We are two smart women, one who has been running her own business for the past 20 years and the other one (me) with two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. And we have been saving for retirement. But in truth, I feel that we are totally just trusting others to make the right investments for us, and keeping our fingers crossed it all works out for the best. I hate it. Yet, I don’t even know where to start to change that situation.”
— Helen, 50
Not Saving Enough
“I think our biggest struggle is we spend too much. We have a great combined income and no debt aside from mortgage. But money seems to just flow through our fingers like sand. In the last few years, we have been dipping into our savings instead of adding to it. The more we make, the more we spend. And it’s not big item-spending, either. It just here and there, yet somehow it feels even worse. Because at the end of the month, we don’t even have much to show for our spending.
— Annya, 35
Too Much Debt
“My biggest financial struggle is staying positive and realistic about my debt. I have a lot of student loan debt, and it just seems like it will never end. I have read a lot of articles about how to pay off your debt quickly, but with the high cost of living in California and a $40k salary, I don’t have the excess income to put towards pay off more than the minimum payment on my loans each month, especially while trying to save and put money in my retirement account.”
— Melissa, 23