A new survey has revealed that fewer than half (45 per cent) of women feel financially independent, with many citing this as a reason they are unable to make their own life choices.
Nearly two-fifths (38 per cent) of women who do not consider themselves financially independent feel they cannot make decisions by themselves because of outstanding debts or dependency on a partner’s income.
The survey of more than 1,000 women in the UK, carried out by investment management company Fidelity International, found that more than one in 10 (11 per cent) women are doubtful they will ever achieve financial independence.
For nearly half of the survey’s respondents (48 per cent), the high cost of living is the biggest hurdle to improving their financial situation.
Low-income levels and fears around job security were also cited as barriers to doing so.
About a fifth (19 per cent) said they are worried about their ability to support themselves or their family.
Only around a third (32 per cent) of respondents feel confident about reaching their financial goals, and a similar proportion are expecting to live comfortably in retirement.
Less than a third (28 per cent) said they are free from worrying about money.
Many of the women who said they do feel financially independent said they have enough income to cover their outgoings or are free from debts.
When asked what the most important factors were to secure financial autonomy, respondents said having personal savings to cover unforeseen expenses and a long-term plan for retirement or a pension pot were crucial.
It comes after a 2021 report by data analytics company Kantar found that “financial independence” is rated as the biggest contributor to overall wellbeing.
This is more of a priority among women than men, as the report revealed that 54 per cent of women said it was “extremely important” to have financial independent compared to 47 per cent of men who said the same.
Maike Currie, investment director at Fidelity International, said: “Female financial independence is fundamental. Having control over our finances allows us to adapt to changing circumstances, tackling challenges head on and seizing opportunities to shape the lives we want. Yet less than half of UK women feel financially independent.
“Low-income levels, fears about job security and the compromise many women are forced to make between work and caring responsibilities are all named as barriers to achieving financial independence.
“We all have a central role to play in breaking down the barriers which are currently stacked against women and impact their financial wellbeing.”
She added: “The disparity between women’s income levels and the rising cost of living is one of the main challenges standing between them and financial independence.
“While this continues to weigh heavily on so many households - as UK inflation climbs and household bills soar - women’s finances are likely to bear the brunt of this burden.”
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