Millennial women and money: 5 things that might surprise you

(BPT) – Now more than ever, women are speaking out on a variety of issues, from social inequality to inadequate representation to harassment, but there is one thing that’s still taboo: money.

In order to get a better understanding of how millennial and Gen X women think, feel and act when it comes to money, Visa commissioned LRW to conduct a national survey to learn about the attitudes and behaviors regarding money in today’s world, spanning the subjects of family, work, friendship, relationships and self. What they found might surprise you:

* Millennial women are nearly 3x more likely to talk about their sex lives than their salaries.

* Millennial women are 2x more likely than previous generation to prioritize getting ahead in their career.

* Only 34 percent of millennial women have negotiated for a raise or higher salary.

* 89 percent of millennial women think it’s more expensive to be a woman (and 63 percent of men agree).

* Only 43 percent of millennial women expect men to pay on the first date while 60 percent of millennial men do.

Here’s a deeper dive:

Millennial women’s values and feelings about money are evolving.

The majority of women say that to them, money means security. However, millennial women are more likely than their Gen X predecessors to also have more empowered perceptions of money. Millennial women look beyond security and perceive that money represents success, happiness, power and independence. This suggests that women’s relationship with money is changing.

Millennial women feel more financial pressure and stress than millennial men.

When asked to agree or disagree with the statement: “Currently, I am living paycheck to paycheck,” the majority of millennials, both men and women, agreed. But even when women are at the same income level as men, they are more likely to feel like they’re just getting by. They also experience more negative feelings about their relationship with money than do millennial men.

* 58 percent feel guilty spending on themselves.

* 54 percent feel judged when talking about large purchases.

* 75 percent of women are worried they don’t make enough money.

Millennial women put more emphasis on financial success.

While women often rank spending time with family as their top life value, financial and professional success are becoming increasingly important factors for younger women. Millennial females are more likely to value making money and career advancement than female Gen Xers, and their values are moving closer to the mix of priorities shared by millennial men.

* 62 percent say they would never quit their job, no matter how much money their partner earned.

* 61 percent say they are focused on reaching the top in their careers.

* 52 percent of millennial women have been putting off kids to save more money.

The top barrier to women asking for a raise or promotion is being uncomfortable asking.

Some things have yet to change, from one the generation to the next. It was true of boomer women and it’s still true today: millennial women are asking for raises and promotions more than Gen X women, however they are still less likely to ask than men because they’re uncomfortable doing it.

* 55 percent of women vs. 29 percent of men feel anxious when asking for a raise.

* Only 10 percent of millennial women have told their salary to a coworker but 48 percent want to know what their coworkers make and 36 percent believe salary should be completely transparent.

* While 2 in 3 women believe there is a gender pay gap in society, only 1 in 3 believe there is a pay gap at their workplace.

But when millennial women do ask for a raise, they come prepared. They research average pay, read advice online, prepare a list of accomplishments, and consult with coworkers, friends and family.

Millennial women talk about everything with friends, but money seems to be the last taboo.

They are more likely to talk to their friends about weight, relationship issues or their sex lives than they are to discuss money. Only 27 percent talk to their friends about salaries, as opposed to the 84 percent who talk about their kids. Furthermore, women’s payment etiquette with friends is to be generous and avoid awkwardness.

* 74 percent of millennial women don’t mind treating friends without expecting anything in return.

* 60 percent of millennial women feel uncomfortable asking their friends to pay them back.

Bottom line: Millennial women have a negative relationship with money in comparison to men, feeling guilty or judged for spending, and worse off, for being money savvy. Changing this relationship is no simple task, but tossing out the taboo against discussing money is a great place to start.

To join the conversation, or read additional results from the survey, visit