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Women Voice Greater Concerns than Men on Cost of Living and Inflation: BMO Survey
  • 61 percent of American women say their concerns about cost of living have increased compared to 54 percent of men.
  • Inflation concerns have increased among 59 percent of women compared to 52 percent of men.
  • Two thirds (67 percent) of women say keeping up with monthly bills causes financial anxiety compared to 60 percent of men.

CHICAGO, March 6, 2024 /CNW/ - A special report from the BMO Real Financial Progress Index focusing on women and financial confidence found numerous disparities between the sexes, particularly around two key economic indicators: cost of living and inflation.

Over the past three months, cost of living concerns increased for women, with 61 per cent expressing concern compared to 54 percent of men, alongside inflation concerns where 59 percent of women voiced concern compared to 52 percent of men.

The index examines how American consumers are navigating current economic conditions and how they are affecting their approach to financial planning and achieving financial progress.

BMO's research finds evident gaps between women and men:

  • Cost of Living and Expenses: 
    • In addition to women feeling more concerned about inflation and cost of living over the past three months than men, women are also more likely than men to identify certain expenses as barriers to making real financial progress, specifically family-related expenses (24 percent vs. 21 percent of men) and monthly bills (38 percent vs. 30 per cent).
    • Two thirds (67 percent) of women say keeping up with monthly bills causes at least some degree of financial anxiety compared to 60 percent of men.
  • Overall Financial Security:
    • 44 percent of women say concerns about their financial situation have increased over the last three months compared to 35 percent of men.
    • 71 percent of men say they have enough money to get themselves through an emergency compared to 57 percent of women.
  • Financial Progress Evaluation:
    • Women are 12 percent less likely than men to say they are making real financial progress (49 percent of men compared to 37 percent of women).
    • 82 percent of men say they feel in control of their finances compared to 71 percent of women.

Additionally, the BMO Real Financial Progress Index finds that more women than men say they share financial responsibilities with their partners, such as setting financial goals for the family (68 percent of women compared to 57 percent of men) and managing day-to-day finances like paying bills (50 percent of women compared to 44 percent of men).

"Despite women making recent strides in pay, education and in the workplace, these findings underscore ongoing challenges they face in achieving financial security and long-term wealth," said Tina DeGustino, a consumer strategy expert, and Regional President at BMO. "BMO's commitment to supporting women at every step of their financial and personal journey is grounded in our Purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life. We work with customers to grow their financial literacy through perspective, advice, and alignment about financial planning – all pivotal to building financial resilience, achieving goals, and making real financial progress."

Financial literacy gap remains, but shows significant signs of improvement

While more men say their families supported financial literacy by having conversations about budgeting, saving or financial planning (48 percent of men compared to 42 percent of women), the data highlights a striking difference in financial education between younger and older women:

  • 66 percent of younger Gen Z women ages 18 to 24 say their families supported financial literacy compared to 31 percent of women 65 years of age or older and 44 percent of women ages 25 to 34.
  • Younger Gen Z women also say they learned more about financial literacy growing up compared to male counterparts (66 percent compared to 60 percent of men).

"Empowering all women – especially from a young age – to take charge of their financial futures is not just beneficial, it's imperative," added DeGustino. "Seeking support from financial experts can pave the way for navigating the complexities of money management and put you on a path to securing financial well-being."

BMO helps women make real financial progress

In addition to creating a budget and sticking to it, BMO offers the following tips to help Americans make real financial progress and navigate rising costs of living:

  • Build a budget and review spending and financial statements at least once a month.
  • Look for recurring "hidden" expenses, such as forgotten subscriptions, and cancel those you don't use or need – for example, with BMO Total Look, you can identify recurring transactions and other patterns in your spending so you can make changes where needed.
  • For parents, compare various childcare options in your area and sign up for a Dependent Care Flexible Spend Account (DCFSA) if possible.
  • Regularly meet with your banker or financial advisor to make sure your savings and payment patterns are on track to reach both near- and long-term goals.
  • Set up a savings goal and recurring savings transfers into an account – no matter the amount – which will provide a sense of progress and motivation to achieve your savings goals.
  • Take advantage of the BMO Real Financial Progress Hub, a digital resource that allows customers to easily access personal finance advice and guidance, as well as tools and resources to reach their own specific financial goals.
  • Remember to take time for affordable self-care, such as exercise, yoga, reading, or playing a game with the family.

To find out how BMO helps customers make financial progress, visit:

About the BMO Real Financial Progress Index

Launched in February 2021, the BMO Real Financial Progress Index is an indicator of how consumers feel about their personal finances and whether they are making financial progress. The index aims to spark dialogue that will help consumers reach their financial goals and to humanize a topic that causes anxiety for many – money.

The research detailed in this document was conducted by Ipsos in the United States from January 2 to January 19, 2024. A sample of n=2,500 adults ages 18+ in the United States were collected. Quotas and weighting were used to ensure the sample's composition reflects that of the American population according to census parameters. This survey has a credibility interval of +/- 2.4 per cent 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had all American adults 18+ been surveyed.

About BMO Financial Group

BMO Financial Group is the eighth largest bank in North America by assets, with total assets of $1.3 trillion as of January 31, 2024. Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a diverse team of highly engaged employees providing a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management, global markets and investment banking products and services to 13 million customers across Canada, the United States, and in select markets globally. Driven by a single purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, BMO is committed to driving positive change in the world, and making progress for a thriving economy, sustainable future, and inclusive society.

Media Contact: 

Lucas Seiler, Chicago,, 312-340-8576

SOURCE BMO Financial Group