May 11, 2010 / 12:58 PM / 9 years ago

Young women refocus money priorities in recession

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Since the economic recession young American women are rethinking their financial priorities, saving more and reducing their debt, according to a new survey.

A Chinese bank employee counts U.S. currency notes at a local bank in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu province April 4, 2006. REUTERS/Stringer

Nearly half of women aged 18-39 years old who were questioned in the poll said they are increasing the amount of money they save or invest, compared to 29 percent of those over 40.

“As the economy recovers many women, particularly young women, are focusing on making smart choices with their money, and they are not focused on material purchases,” said Lisa Caputo, of the financial services company Citi, which commissioned the survey.

The younger generation were also more likely than their older counterparts to use extra money to pay off debts.

“Young women having lived through an economic downturn, many of them for the first time, have experienced the stress and hardship that economic cycles can cause and as a result they are making adjustments in the areas of savings and personal debt,” Caputo added in an interview.

The Citi telephone poll of 2,000 men and women conducted by Hart Research Associates also revealed that women are more conservative financially than men in spending and buying big ticket items.

Forty percent of men thought it would be a good time to make a big purchase, compared to 33 percent of women, and nearly three quarters of women, compared to 65 percent of men, said if they had extra cash, they would use it to pay bills.

Since the recession both sexes, but particularly women, said they value family, friends and their quality of life more than material goods.

Women are also more likely than men to emphasize what they have learned about the importance of social values.

“Women are talking about the lessons they are learning from this financial crisis to their children and to their grandchildren and to other family members and friends,” Caputo explained.

They have also learned to live with a smaller budget more than men.

“The survey findings show that women overall appear to be well prepared, both mentally and financially, coming out of the depths of a recession,” Caputo added.

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