New research from Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class shows non-prime women are among the most financially vulnerable demographic in America, despite their disproportional responsibilities as the head of finance for their families. Non-prime women, meaning those with credit scores below 700, have more volatile incomes and they run out of money more often, feeling more stressed than both their prime counterparts, and non-prime men.
Only 39 per cent of this group believe they have the skills to manage their finances, despite the fact ongoing research from myriad sources have found women to be the primary financial stewards of their households.
Key findings in the research include:
- Two-thirds of non-prime women live paycheck to paycheck;
- They are three times more likely to have lost a job in the last year compared to prime women;
- Only 34 per cent of non-prime women hold salaried jobs;
- They are four times more likely to have trouble predicting next month’s income compared to prime women;
- More than 80 per cent of non-prime women admit to running out of money at least once a year;
- More than one quarter admit to running out of money every month;
- They are 24 per cent more likely to say their finances cause them stress compared to non-prime men;
- Only 13 per cent of non-prime women would have money on-hand to cover an emergency of $1200;
- Non-prime women are six times more likely to have used a payday loan.
“Everyone talks about how women’s financial situations lag behind those of men. However, we often forget that non-prime women have it even harder,” said Jonathan Walker, executive director for the Center of the New Middle Class. “When compared to prime women and non-prime men, non-prime women are faring worse than both groups.”
In addition to greater income volatility and a lack of confidence in their financial skills, women also have a greater responsibility to take control of their financial lives, as their challenges disproportionally affect society overall. Non-prime women are 41 per cent more likely to have children in their home than prime women and are 79 per cent more likely to have elderly parents living under their roof.
“The data tell a story of women’s increased burden, increased responsibility, and increased need for help. It’s more important than ever to arm them with the tools they need to improve their finances,” Mr. Walker added “Financial literacy training, coupled with the right financial products, could have tremendous societal benefit not only for non-prime women, but also for the next generation.”