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Women are 12 Per Cent More Likely than Men to Feel Economic Pressures from Cost of Living and Inflation – BMO Survey

March 6, 2024 | Customers

The BMO Real Financial Progress Index reveals Canadian women are 12 per cent more likely than men to feel increasingly concerned about the economic pressures associated with inflation (63 per cent vs. 51 per cent) and the rising cost of living (66 per cent vs. 54 per cent). 

Examining how current economic conditions are affecting Canadians’ financial confidence and approaches to financial planning, the survey finds a distinct gender gap:  

  • Economic Pressures: 
    • 63 per cent of women reported their concerns about inflation have increased in the last three months, compared to 51 per cent of men.  
    • Two thirds (66 per cent) of women say concerns about cost of living have increased in the last three months – 12 per cent more than men. 
  • Financial Security:  
    • 43 per cent of women say concerns about their financial situation have increased in the last three months – 8 per cent more than men.   
    • Women are 7 per cent more likely to feel less confident in their financial situation and 5 per cent more likely to feel less financially secure than they did a year ago compared to men.  
    • Over two thirds (69 per cent) of men have enough savings to get them through an unexpected emergency compared to 63 per cent women.

  • Financial Progress:  
    • Women are 8 per cent less likely to believe they are making real financial progress compared to men (37 per cent of men vs. 29 per cent of women). 
    • Over a third (35 per cent) of women say that uncertainty about their financial future is holding them back from making financial progress – 5 per cent more than men.

“While women have made meaningful strides in the workplace and in business, their financial security and opportunity to build long-term wealth are held back as they continue to feel disproportionately affected by current economic conditions. Guided by BMO’s Purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, we are committed to supporting women at every step of their financial and personal journey. Working with an advisor can provide relevant perspective and advice on financial planning and enhance your financial literacy – paramount to building financial empowerment and making real financial progress.”

– Gayle Ramsay
Head, Everyday Banking, Segment & Customer Growth, BMO 

Helping Women Make Real Financial Progress 

While three quarters (75 per cent vs. 78 per cent of men) of women feel they are in control of their finances, women are 7 per cent less likely to have set an annual household budget and 4 per cent less likely to have a written financial plan. Among the 68 per cent of women who have set financial goals, top goals include saving for retirement (57 per cent), saving for a vacation (51 per cent), paying down debt (43 per cent) and saving for a major purchase such as a car, large appliance, etc. (32 per cent vs. 40 per cent of men).  

Despite fewer than half (44 per cent) of women saying their families supported financial literacy while growing up through conversations about budgeting, saving and financial planning, younger Gen Z women (ages 18 to 24) were the most likely to have received financial literacy support from their families (62 per cent).  

BMO offers the following tips to help women and all Canadians build their confidence in personal finance and make real financial progress: 

  • Be aware of your cashflow by tracking your incoming and outgoing money flow.  
  • Ensure you have set short-, mid- and long-term goals and have regular reviews to ensure you are making the financial progress needed to achieve these goals. 
  • Establish and build your credit. Take advantage of credit building solutions such as a credit score tool, credit building loan or secure card and monitor your credit report score often. 
  • Make a budget or savings plan for large purchases like a car, vacation or new appliance. 
  • When evaluating what you owe, pay down debt with the highest interest rate first. 
  • Assess ongoing expenses such as streaming services, cable and internet plans, gym memberships or phone providers and negotiate lower prices when possible or work to reduce or eliminate programs you don’t use often. 
  • Speak with a financial advisor or banker to make sure your savings and payment patterns are on track to reach both near- and long-term goals and that you have the right financial tools in your toolbelt to achieve these goals. 

To learn more about how BMO helps customers make financial progress, visit

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