Are We Conveniently Relying on Our Men for Financial Decisions?
She is smart.
She is educated.
She, a modern woman, is holding multiple positions of responsibility.
She is earning well.
She is balancing her professional and personal life like a boss.
Still, a major fraction of Indian women shy away from taking financial decisions, and at times, they prefer to depend on their fathers, brothers, husbands or other male members in the family for their financial matters.
According to a report published by Economic Times, 2017:
Even well-placed working women are not in a position to handle their money independently. Out of 100 well-educated women working in diverse fields, 92% admit that all financial decisions are taken by the male members of the family.
Sounds strange, right?
The modern Indian woman is breaking age-old barriers of stereotype in every field. Be it workplace or home, she takes multiple responsibilities and does justice to them flawlessly. But, sadly, when it comes to taking care of her hard-earned money, or overall finances, she finds herself at sea and lets the men in her life – father, husband or brother – take charge of her finances. It is hard to understand if a woman has sufficient skills to earn money, why does she lack skills in managing it!
Why does a well-educated woman take a back seat in the matters of finance and depend on the men in her life to make financial decisions? The reasons are multiple.
The biggest reason lies in the patriarchal structure of our society where the man is considered the primary bread-winner of the family. Though times have changed, women have broken the shackles of gender stereotyping, and have started earning; the role of money management and taking care of financial responsibilities somehow did not quite shift to women.
Lack of financial literacy is another vital reason for women shying away from taking financial decisions. From centuries, the financial matters of women are being taken care of their fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons. Neither they ever got involved, nor were they encouraged to do so. It pushed women to consider themselves not smart enough to make wise financial decisions.
There’s a lack of trust placed on women for financial decisions. In fact, even most financial services advertisements are being by default addressed to men. A lack of trust creates a lack of confidence, which results in women shying away from such decisions even if they are empowered with the skills to do so. “What if something goes wrong?” “Why should I bother?” are some of the mental arguments that keep women from taking a dive.
Women are successfully performing multiple roles in their lives – a good daughter, a hard-working employee, a doting wife, a loving mother and so on. She earns well but is not sure how to invest money, how to choose the best term insurance plan & policy for her family, how to manage debt, plan her retirement, etc.
A sound financial plan plays a crucial role in the life of a woman in securing her life as well as the lives of her loved ones. The good news is that financial planning is no rocket science. In fact, many women are smashing the stereotype and taking care of their finances very well.
Being a successful woman, you can easily become financially independent, and take charge of your finances with just a few simple steps: How to Become Financially Independent?
Save for a rainy day
Start saving the moment you start earning. When you are young and free of family commitments, you can afford larger amounts for savings and investment. Save at least 20-30% of your monthly income. Build a fund for unforeseen situations in life – illness, accidents, hospitalization, etc. Having a stock of separate emergency fund in place will help you cope up financially with an uncertain rainy day.
Even if you are not working, drive your money to banks and right investment plans rather than letting it stale in your wardrobe. Through a wise investment plan, you can make it multiply and grow.
Use your budget to plan your finances
When it comes to managing household budgets, no one can beat women. However, most women keep track of their spending and not savings. Women can smartly use their financial skills for savings and investment purpose. Start with small steps, like, along with monitoring your household expenses, look for ways to save money. You can start an SIP with every month of savings. A penny saved is a penny earned! Gradually, this savings amount will grow and multiply and give you a good return in the future.
Organize your finances
No matter whether you are earning or not, being an essential part of the family, it makes sense to have a good grip on your finances. Keep track of the financial plan of your family including the sound knowledge of the income sources, investment plan and insurance your family has. Have adequate information regarding all kinds of Term Insurance, health insurance and ULIPs your family has or can have. You can also advocate having access to family’s savings and investment through joint accounts.
Stock for your retirement
“Invest wisely in your children’s education, a house, and for your old age. You have to be self-reliant when you are old; in the last two weeks of one’s life, you spend 80 percent of your savings.” – Sudha Murthy
Arm yourself with the basics of finance, like different types of insurance plans, child plans, ULIPs, investment plans, etc. It is advisable to start investing for your retirement in your early 30s.
Above all, don’t step back from taking financial decisions. It is good to seek monetary advice from the men in your life and broaden the scope of your financial knowledge, but insist on working your way out yourself. It is high time that women free themselves from financial overdependence on their family. If you want to be successful, get involved in the discussion, take financial risks, and learn to let your money grow and achieve your financial goals.