We do not need to look much beyond our own families to witness the gross non-participation of women in financial decision-making. India has been a patriarchal society and the responsibility of planning finances has naturally rested on the men of the family. But as the proportion of women in the workforce increases, the desire to get a hold over one’s own finances amongst women is palpable. And I say this when I see a 40% women audience in the various investor awareness sessions that I take.
As we witness a new trend unfolding, let us see six useful tips for women to manage their finances:
1. Budgets are a great way to control spends
The thrill of the first job often results in extravagant spending. And a large part of this is unplanned and unaccounted for. Noting down your expenses and categorizing them into different buckets helps analyse if you are overspending. In parallel, put a budget for each activity. So now you know, how much of your income you will spend on shopping every month.
2. Write down your goals, even the tiniest ones
Each goal should be written down and be supplemented with further details such as when will the goal occur and how much will be needed to fund the same. Single / Unmarried women may want to include some fund for her own parents as well. Married women should also plan for her own retirement separately from the husband.
3. Discuss finances with spouse/parents
Just because historically men have taken financial decisions, does not imply that women need to be hush-hush about taking charge. It can well be a joint exercise. Women should feel free to discuss with their spouse the family finances and consensual decisions may be taken.
4. Women need health insurance more than men do
Research says that women are subject to more medical issues than men and earlier than them too. They should, therefore, look at their family history and accordingly insure themselves against any medical situations. A cancer plan may be relevant as the prevalence of breast and cervical cancer is common amongst women.
5. Say no to cash, go digital but do not overdo
Indian homemaker women are habituated to keep cash in a separate drawer. The rising cost of living erodes the value of cash. So, go digital, invest the cash. However, stay low on use of credit cards.
6. Again, to control spends. Understand asset allocation and risk appetite
Every individual has a different kind of appetite to take a risk. And a different kind of goal structure. Where you invest your money depends a lot on these variables. Therefore, understand the different asset classes, and moreover, understand what is suitable for you. Do not run after what your friend, uncle or colleague recommends.