7 Money Problems Women Experience

Money is a feminist issue — and yet, women are still reluctant to talk about it. According to a recent Bustle survey of more than 1,000 Millennial women, more than 50 percent of people said they never discuss personal finances with friends, even though 28 percent reported feeling stressed out about money every single day. Bustle's Get Money series gets real about what Millennial women are doing with their money, and why — because managing your finances should feel empowering, not intimidating.

As a feminist, I obviously spend a lot of time focusing on equality and how it can be achieved for people of all genders. Unfortunately, the flipside of that is that I'm often faced with the ways the experiences of women and feminine-presenting people are different and often imbalanced when compared to our male counterparts. Take, for example, the money problems women experience that men have no idea about. Now, to be clear, money problems in general are not endemic to women — everyone deals with some sort of financial struggles at some point. (And if you don't, well, please do share your secrets with me.) But the reality of the matter is that women deal with some pretty unfair and/or annoying stuff when it comes to money that men honestly just don't.

At this point in my life, I'd love to say I have the kind of money that means money problems are but a blip on the radar. Alas, 'tis not so; I think there was some confusion somewhere along the way and my proverbial cash cow has already been put out to pasture. Since most of us aren't millionaires, though, money problems are, you know, a problem. And while some men may claim to know where women are coming from when we bring up the money problems we face, guys just don't get the fact that our experiences are inherently different than theirs.

Perhaps men aren't even aware of them, in fact. But since these financial issues women face are not figments of our collective imagination, here's a quick rundown.

Check out the “Get Money” stream in the Bustle App for more tips and tricks on how to save and spend your money.

Yes, y'all, I'm going to keep beating this drum, because women still earn less than men for the same work to the tune of 79 cents to the dollar at best — and that's just for white women; for women of color, the figures are substantially worse. Priya Malani, a founding partner at Stash Wealth, underscores this issue as well — pointing out that the implications are even more complex given the fact that women have to stretch their money further.

"The obvious and most notable one is the gender wage gap," Malani tells Bustle. "Compounded by the fact that women live longer, their inability to save proportionately to men without negatively affecting their lifestyle is definitely a problem men probably have no idea about." She explains it thus: "To simplify this, think about it this way: If both a man and a woman plan to save up $1,000,000 by the time they turn 65, a woman would have to save a larger percentage of her salary to accomplish this (because she earns less) and therefore have less money to put towards her lifestyle today."

Historically, society has insisted that financial matters are a "man's job." As the so-called head of the household, men therefore tend to consider themselves experts when it comes to money while women are, well, not. It all falls in line with the tired old gender tropes that suggest women are not rational, practical beings who can do things like math, but are emotional and flighty and much more likely to be interested in "the arts." Which isn't to say, of course, that we aren't interested in the arts (writer here!), but the fact of the matter remains we are capable of using both sides of our brains — and that certainly extends to being knowledgeable about finances.

Not only do women have to worry about saving more for our "golden years," but we also have to be more concerned in the present about the extra cash just being a woman requires. "I'll mention something known as 'pink tax' — the higher price women pay for certain products and services. Some common ones are haircuts, personal hygiene products (like razors), dry cleaning, etc," Malani tells Bustle.

We've already established that women live longer than men, right? Five years on average, in fact. And throughout our long lives, the brunt of child-rearing and caregiving (of an elderly relative, for example) typically falls upon women. Because of this, women are statistically more likely to leave the work force or seek out jobs that allow for more flexibility: better hours, telecommuting, and so on.

The way this affects women financially is multi-pronged. For starters, every time we pump the brakes on our careers to focus on our kids, it negatively impacts career advancement — even though it shouldn't. This means we don't get the executive level jobs our male peers are. Another way we're affected is through social security formula anomalies, thanks to the average-of-highest-35-years-earnings formula.

Do men get targeted in financial scams? Of course they do. Thieves tend not to discriminate too awful much. But women are often the targets of a much more insidious type of theft — "those moments when we get 'ripped off' because the person providing the service thinks we probably don't know any better," explains Malani. "Pretty much any time there's an opportunity for someone to increase their profit by preying on a female's penchant for security and risk-aversion."

Here's a true story. Last year, I went with my sister-in-law to look at cars. She had been with my husband (her brother) the day before, and the male salesperson had quoted my husband a rockstar price for a used SUV. When my husband had to work the next night but my SIL wanted to close the deal, I volunteered to take her. Not only did the sales guy give us a quote that was $5,000 higher than the one he quoted my husband, but he accused us of "not understanding how these things work" when I called him on it.

When I worked as a magazine editor in an office setting, my small company decided to get health insurance for the first time in its history. When the insurance agent sat down with us to go over our monthly rates, the women in the office were surprised that we were going to have to pay considerably higher premiums than our male co-workers for the same plan. When asked why, the agent explained that most of us were of "child-bearing age."

While I understand the reason this is a red flag is because it means that our healthcare needs could skyrocket should we become pregnant, it is still infuriating. For starters, what about women who don't want to have kids? Is it fair they have to pay more for the hypothetical pregnancies they never intend to have in the first place? And let's not even get started on the non-existent maternity leave and coverage for working mothers in this country. But even outside of "child-bearing age," women's health insurance premiums can run upwards of 31 percent higher per month than male counterparts.

Although you may scoff at this notion considering dowries are illegal in some places and objectionable-slash-antiquated in most, there are still dowry expectations in certain places. True, there's more of a widely accepted taboo over this practice, whereby a woman's family offers her future husband a large downpayment for marrying her. However, that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. And since it is most likely to happen in countries with less financial stability to start with, it can lead to the women in those places becoming even more impoverished.

Check out the “Get Money” stream in the Bustle App for more tips and tricks on how to save and spend your money.