It’s time women take control over what they’re earning. Financial fitness comes as a prerequisite to feeling more confident and independent about oneself, doesn’t it? The society we’ve been raised in makes us as women feel less capable of handling our finances, given the fact that most women despite earning their money rely on their fathers and brothers to manage it. So what could one do? Find friends, advisers, get knowledge and stay up to speed on how to manage money matters. Today we are discussing women and investing India, and why we must make small goals towards financial fitness.

SheThePeople.TV in an attempt to bring women and finances to the frontline hosted a session on the importance of financial independence. Speakers Milee Aishwarya, Neha Kare, Sonu Bhasin and Anita Raj joined us to talk about what holds women back.

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Bringing money matters to the forefront

Milee feels, “Money is not about doing a job to earn money but how you use that money for your own financial independence, your own freedom, your family and also make a very candid choice about how you want to use it. Money gives you independence, it gives you decision making, it makes you more confident and it gives you choices in life.” Sonu, a banker turned author, witnessed that women, irrespective of their social-economic class handed over the power to manage money to the men in their lives. She says, “Financial fitness starts in our minds,  we need to understand that this is our money, we need to have a voice in how to use that money.”

Founder of the online moms’ community, Mumo Mumbai Moms, Neha Kare, says, “After getting closer to the community women, which are primarily mothers and a lot of them are housewives and entrepreneurs on a smaller scale, they all have a lot of problems in understanding money.” She realized that these women personally never had a relationship with their money. She adds, “the societal conditioning is such that we feel that women are not comfortable around money.” Anita Raj, an Indian actress, ensures that her money is going to the right place, where you know that later in your life you’re in a secure position. She says, “Money saved is money earned.”

Financial fitness starts in our minds,  we need to understand that this is our money, we need to have a voice in how to use that money.

Social factors

Milee believes, “Money is a commodity that impacts our lives in very powerful ways. Women who earn a decent amount of money, they’re treated slightly differently, it does have a lot of social implications, your family will involve you in decision  making.” She feels, “There is a certain amount of respect and seriousness that you’re treated with once you start earning and you start contributing to the family.”

The banking sector

Bhasin says, “There was a period of time when access to financial systems largely the banks was seen as to be only the privilege of the people who had money and therefore it was a challenge to get people to be a part of the organized financial system and have access to investment options.” However, in these last six years, she feels, with this focus to Jan Dhan accounts, it is the banks that have been chasing people because they’re forced by the government to do so.

Mothers’ take on money

Neha Kare has seen many mothers who find it difficult to walk out of toxic marriages because of the lack of financial independence. Then there are millennial mothers who she feels, “prefer living in the moment, they prefer investing in education and travel and not in the long term goal. They don’t buy houses, they don’t want to talk  about money, they feel that they are smart enough, they just want to earn and live their life luxuriously.” She feels that as women they should be more conscious about their future.

Girls of this generation know where to invest, how to invest, where to spend, how to spend, not go overboard.

-Anita Raj

The generational shift in women and money

Anita says, “What it used to be and what it is now, I can see a tremendous change and it’s good. The young girls nowadays know exactly what they need to do with their money. I’ve got nieces who started earning at the age of seventeen and eighteen and are doing fabulously for themselves.” She adds, “As of now, girls are very independent. When they start earning at an early age, they exactly know how to save money. Girls of this generation know where to invest, how to invest, where to spend, how to spend, not go overboard.”

Financial fitness goals

Bhasin asserts three financial fitness pointers for women who wish to make a start, “The first thing is to see the household finances. Most women don’t even know how much their husbands earn, what are their perks, what is the household income.” Secondly, she says, “if the woman is earning, take ownership of the money that she is earning. it could go into a household pool. But at the same time, she needs to start taking certain decisions about investing her own money without leaving it to the husband.” Third, “the women should ensure that all investment accounts are in joint names.”

The three financial fitness goals as, “to talk openly about money, to value the work we’re doing, we shouldn’t do anything for free, and third, to have short-term and long-term goals.”

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