A new nationwide survey released by Citi revealed that women across all economic sectors believe that their personal financial situations have deteriorated over the past year and that the majority (65 percent) have permanently changed their spending and saving habits in response to the recession. According to the data, key findings include:

  • Thirty-eight percent of women say they are worse off financially compared to one year ago, including women with household incomes of at least $100,000 (29 percent) and women with at least $250,000 in assets excluding real estate and retirement (39 percent).
  • The large majority of women across all annual family income levels rate the economy as only fair to poor, including 79 percent of women with less than $50,000 in income, 70 percent of women with a family income of more than $100,000, and 73 percent of women with more than $250,000 in assets.
  • Three in five (63 percent) women believe that the country’s economic conditions will deteriorate further before things hit bottom, a similar assessment as men (61 percent).

“We know that women are a critical barometer for the U.S. economy because they drive the majority of household spending decisions and increasingly manage how their families invest,” said Lisa Caputo, chairman and CEO of Citi’s Women & Co., a financial resource from Citi dedicated to helping women achieve their financial goals. “This new data reveals this is a transformational recession for women who are particularly feeling the effects of the economic downturn and tightening their purse strings and protecting their lairs.”  

Although just one in five (21 percent) women believe that we have reached the end of the recession, women across all categories expressed optimism that circumstances will improve over the next 12 months. Nearly three in five women (58 percent) expect that business conditions in their area will become much or somewhat better over the next year, a sentiment shared by 57 percent of men surveyed.  “Although we cannot understate the impact of today’s challenging economic climate on women and their lives, it is encouraging to see some rays of light at the end of the tunnel,” said Ms. Caputo, who is also Executive Vice President of Citi Global Marketing and Corporate Affairs and member of Citi’s Senior Leadership Committee. “Citi is deeply committed to addressing the concerns of women and dedicated to providing the tools and services that women can use to build their financial knowledge and create strategies for themselves and their families. A survey like this gives us a deeper understanding of our clients’ needs and aspirations as we work with them to help them achieve their financial goals.”