As women, we are conditioned to be content with what life offers us. The emphasis is on being grateful for what we have, looking at what others don’t and not to be “greedy”. Perhaps we are coached to think in such a way so that we can adjust better in our matrimonial household, and there are as little rifts as possible. However, there is one aspect of life where being content could, in fact, have unfortunate repercussions in the future: financial planning. Indian women and investment – that’s a conversation we need to have more of to normalise the idea. Here’s why you should save and invest more than what you may be doing.

Women live longer than men: A lot of women outlive their partners, globally. According to a report on female life expectancy by WHO, “Women generally live longer than males – on average by six to eight years.” Also, especially in patriarchal countries like India, brides are married off to grooms older than them. This age gap and inherent tendency to live longer means that a lot of women face the final years of their life on their own. However, as the WHO report notes, “the extra years of life for women are not always lived in good health.” Women need to ask themselves, would they want to walk into the last decade of their lives dependent on their children or whatever their husband manages to leave behind for them?

Certainly not. Which is why women need to save and invest aggressively, keeping their retirement and twilights years in mind. You may not be in control of how life unfolds in the future, but you can surely control your financial planning.

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AMFI – SheThePeople Present Financial Fitness, A Campaign to Encourage Women to talk, think, discuss money and investments

Women earn lesser than men: Pay parity is one issue that may eventually get resolved in our lifetime, but by then, most of the women working now, will be close to the end of their work life. Which means a lot of us may leave the workforce earning lesser than men for doing the same amount of work. Which in turn means that we will end up with lesser money to plan our future with. That is why we need to save and invest more. If, for instance, your husband, who earns twice or thrice as much as you do, aims to save 25 or 30 percent of his income, you cannot set the same target for yourselves. You have to aim higher. Don’t think in percentage, but in terms of end result. What will I have in hand when I retire? How can I add more to that amount? This is something we all need to ask ourselves every quarter, every year, with every promotion and every increment.

We are not seen as primary earners: Women earn lesser money than men, and due to patriarchal construct of our society, they aren’t seen as primary breadwinners in a family. Their paycheck isn’t taken seriously, unless it is substantial enough to match that brought in by the man of the house. A lot of women have internalised this and thus they don’t take their own earnings seriously. Men will take care of the bills, men will purchase an insurance policy, men will see where this money needs to be put away.

But not having to deal with current primary expenses in a household doesn’t mean you aren’t responsible for the future. You can set near and distant goals and put your money to good use for your future. Children’s education, luxury holiday, upgrading your car or buying a new television or lounger. Set such goals and write them down.

With smart saving and investments, you don’t just secure your future, you can contribute to improving the quality of life for your family. All it takes is better and more detailed planning of finances than that we are used to.

Article in partnership with AMFI, Mutual Funds Sahi Hai. Mutual Fund investments are subject to market risk. Read all scheme related documents carefully.

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