The fact that women live longer than men, have far lessor income than men and take time off from work to care for children is indisputable. But that does not make women more financially savvy though that is the need of the hour.
Most women find money matters uninteresting and boring. They maybe well qualified, more than the average man, have a fine brain, analytical skills and a successful job but most women would prefer to leave the financial matters in the hands of a male relative, especially in India. While they have been traditionally the experts at being able to stretch a rupee, manage myriad of payments that have to be made on a day to day basis, negotiate and haggle over small to large expenses, there is something that holds the majority of women back from taking personal finance decisions like investing and insurance in their hands. The issue often is that of lack of knowledge of financial matters, a financial illiteracy that is rampant irrespective of how educated, qualified and confident a woman otherwise is.
Also the lack of time with responsibilities of caring for the children, looking after the house also factor in because of which a woman would rather leave these details to be managed by her husband, father, brother or a male relative.
If you are such a woman, here are some things you can do to take the reins of your financial life in your hands.
- Get a financial advisor you can trust to understand you and your circumstances and cater to your ‘long term’ goals from life. Even if you do become financially literate, the shortage of time is going to be a constant challenge and you do need an expert to look after your financial affairs. Talk to friends, colleagues and family – get references and check them out thoroughly and then appoint an advisor.
- Simultaneously look at educating yourself with basics of personal finance. The Web is your answer and you can know enough to separate bad advice from good. Essentially, personal finance is about
- Setting goals – long term, medium term and short term of what you want from life. Be it a vacation in Andaman this year, your car next year, your child’s education 10 years down the line, and a secure retirement for yourself 30 years later.
- Knowing where your money is going, how much are you saving from what you earn – budgeting is one of the most important things foundations to build your wealth. The only way you can create wealth and maximise your chances of achieving your goals is to have control over your expenditure and budgeting is the only way to do this.
- Insurance is the only protection you have against the uncertainties of life like, death, illness or accident. Do a review of your personal circumstances and get insured.
Financial literacy is the only answer as then you can evaluate the advise given by an advisor, friend or colleague, apply to your personal, individual and unique circumstances and check if that works for you.
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The author-Lovaii Navlakhi, CFP is the CEO of International Money Matters and The Financial Alphabet.