Money Anxiety Is Making Women Sick

By Sallie Krawcheck

If you were around last week, you probably heard that we recently concluded the Ellevest Financial Wellness Survey 2021, in which we set out to learn how people are thinking about financial wellness. (We also declared October 13 Financial Wellness Day to shed light on how critical it is to women’s lives overall.) We learned a lot — perhaps most importantly this:

Money stress has an overwhelming impact on women’s mental and physical well-being, much more so than for men, and the pandemic has only made matters worse.

Two big things stood out to me that I want to unpack here. Because frankly, they should be taught in the classroom, discussed at work, and printed on t-shirts.

Money stress is making us sick.

Literally sick. You might even call these stats warning signs of a looming public health crisis. Nearly half of women feel financial stress has taken a toll on their mental and emotional health, and 40% of women believe it’s damaged their physical health.

You might think (or, at least, hope) that women’s relationships with money would improve generationally, because — well, progress. And yet — although it may not be all that surprising, given the myriad ways the cards are stacked against them — it’s actually worse for millennial women: A full 61% say their mental and emotional health has suffered because of money worries, and 58% say it’s damaged their physical health. That’s a full 18% more than women overall.

And yet we aren’t talking about it.

While we’re familiar with all the other forms of wellness — mental, spiritual, physical — we don’t talk about financial wellness nearly enough. And that’s because we’ve been conditioned not to talk about it. (Part of which is because we’re told we’re bad with money. The survey results reaffirmed that myths like that are alive and well.)

More than one in three women were taught growing up that talking about finances with others is crass. It makes sense, then, that even when 41% of millennials want to talk with others about finances, they don’t know someone they can talk to — the people they would have looked to for advice aren’t comfortable being approached. In fact, one in three women would rather share their personal browser search history than their bank statements and investment accounts with friends.

It’s a self-perpetuating problem, because allowing money to remain a taboo subject precludes progress — in fact, a majority of men (67%) said they felt satisfied with their overall financial health and future, but less than half of women said the same.

But here’s the good news. (Yes, there’s good news.)

A heartening 44% of women say they want to seek out resources to improve their financial wellness. And that’s the whole reason Ellevest exists — to help women take action on your money, no matter where you are in your financial wellness journey. That could be signing up for our brand-new retirement workshop (and learning with other women as you go). Or becoming an Ellevest member for as little as $5 a month. Or doing any of these tiny acts of financial self-care.

Changing your relationship with money — turning it into a source of strength instead of stress — can feel like a huge undertaking. But the beauty of practicing financial wellness is that the small steps do add up.

Sallie Krawcheck Signature


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Sallie Krawcheck

Sallie Krawcheck is the Founder & CEO of Ellevest.