Running into a strong, independent woman in the workplace is no surprise anymore. Over the last few decades, Indian women have a carved a niche for themselves in the world of business, whether running some of the biggest organisations in the world or setting up successful ventures all on their own. However, there is still a slight apprehension displayed by women (and men alike) when it comes to financial planning. In a recent study conducted by a leading American research firm showed that ⅓ of single women respondents were concerned about their financial future. But on the flipside, the same demographic was also the least likely to have a financial plan or retirement plan in place.

The sad part, however, is that, even now, only 23% of women take independent financial decisions by themselves. But this is set to change. With more young blood graduating from colleges and marrying their careers, there has been a surge of women coming forward to discuss their finances with a certified financial planner and becoming more comfortable with making investments and taking their own financial decisions.

However,  dealing with money is no child’s play.  Once you start earning, you are bound to be more concerned about your finances, and it’s only beneficial for you as an investor to start making money moves as early as possible in order to reap the benefits when you really require them. But, investing and planning your finances is a continuous process and will require some amount of time and energy when you are working towards achieving a financial goal. The one thing that will change as you grow older is your approach to financial planning at different stages of your life.  Here’s a small guide for women for each stage of life.

  • Right Off The Bat – Your 20s

The first thing you need to do as you step out of college is to find an employer who offers you all the financial benefits that come with a good job. This includes things like PF, insurance, travel allowance, ESOPs, and the like. This helps you start off your financial journey right, helping you save money from the very beginning. Once you have your bank account set up, add the right people as beneficiaries. At this stage, take note of all your expenses and create a budget.

Next, if you have any student loans or debts to clear, work towards getting them out of the way. It would be wise to get in touch with a certified financial planner or wealth management firm to help you clear your debts as fast as possible. Use their help and do some of your own research to start making small investments and build a financial plan. Use this tile to LEARN as much as you can about investing; it’ll come in handy in the future.

  • Settling In – Your 30s

It’s highly likely that you’ll take on some type of debt in your 30s, probably a car loan or a home loan. Make sure you’re ready to deal with the monetary demands of your EMIs; it’s a wise choice to hire a financial advisor. This helps you focus on the things that really matter, like your career goals and your personal goals,  and making sure you are on the right financial path to achieve them.

Make sure to keep your EPF contributions going. As much as possible, avoid withdrawing from that account. This is a great way to save for your retirement, which is something you should start looking into by now. A property investment can be made now, this will ensure that you’re mortgage free by the time you retire.

  • Pushing Through – Your 40s

This is a time period where you may have familial financial obligations, either in the form of parents, or maybe children going to high school or college. However, it’s crucial to keep charging towards your savings and retirement goals. If your financial plan has been built right and has been revised regularly, you should be in a good position in terms of achieving your financial goals without worrying about recurring expenses.

This is a good time to look at options for medical and disability insurance, you can choose short-term or long-term schemes depending on your needs. This ensures that even if you unable to work for a period of time, you will have enough financial security to deal with monetary requirements as and when they arise.

  • Looking Ahead –  50 and above

This is the time when you’re extremely close to achieving your financial goals. At this time, work with your certified financial planner to build a final debt clearance plan. Create it in a way that allows you to be completely debt-free by the time you retire.

Sit down and decide when you plan to retire. It may not be in the next 5 years, but it sure can be never. Once you do that, you’ll get a true idea of how your finances would fare if you were to quit working now. By the time you reach your 60s, you should start simplifying your finances, close down any unnecessary accounts that you may have open, and ensure that you have a steady income.

This handy guide does outline the very basics of what you need to do. However, in order to truly make your money work for you, feel free to engage with a certified financial planner or wealth management firm whenever you start your financial planning journey.

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