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Why Women Should Step Up To Take Control of Their Finances - Outside View by PersonalFN

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Why Women Should Step Up To Take Control of Their Finances
Apr 29, 2016

If there's one thing women have proved for generations, is that they manage finances better than men. Though they save diligently, when it comes to investing, they tiptoe around it. The money mostly lies idle in the bank or at home. By learning about personal finance they could augment their pursuit towards financial freedom. Achieving these goals could be easy and there would be no financial dependency on one's beau.

The lack of awareness about personal finance creates financial insecurity. The financial pinch is felt when women find themselves stranded if they are divorced or widowed, or are cheated out of their rightful legacies, or/and are rabidly mis-sold financial instruments.

That's why mere earning cannot lead women to economic empowerment. It should follow with advancement in her decision making capacity.

However, taking decisions don't come easy when you are trying to run away from an appalling past.

Let's go back in time and into some data...

India is the second most populous country in the world, with women comprising of 48.5% of the population. But it has always been a male dominated society. Families yearned for a "kul-deepak" (light of the family: male heir) rather than a "kanya-ratna" (female child). In some communities, families celebrated the birth of a baby boy, but regretted the birth of a girl. Socially, dowry, domestic violence and illiteracy were the fate of a girl.

Traditionally, a girl was expected to marry young, stay at home, look after the children and care for the sick. Some tried to break the family fetters and braved social stigma to pursue a career. However the choices were limited-home science or arts. Women working in finance, engineering, medicine, management weren't heard of due to the unavailability of potential grooms.

The World Economic Forum ranks India 108 (out of 145 countries) on its Gender Gap Index 2015. The gender gap starts at birth-for every 100 boys born nationally, 89 girls are born.

The Female to Male ratio for labour force participation and estimated earned income stand at 0.35 and 0.25 respectively. Even the survey on 'Social Consumption: Education' conducted by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation in January-June, 2014 highlighted the disparity in male and female literacy rates. It was observed that male literacy rates (83%) were higher than female literacy rates (68%).

However the times are changing...

Amidst all odds, women constitute 1/3rd of the total 48 Crore job holder in India. Each year, 5.5 million educated women enter the workforce in India. Even in traditional male bastions like IT and retail, 35% are women. The industry believes the number will shoot up once the labour laws are modified.

Women are becoming independent and stepping out to explore the world standing shoulder to shoulder with men. According to a study conducted by Catalyst, a New York based research and strategy development firm, the spending potential of working women in India is growing. The monthly earnings for women rose by 46% in 2012 vis-a-vis 2010.

Today over 60% of working women actively participating in family expenditure (study conducted by Centre for Work Life Policy) need proper income management to strengthen their status in society, besides being only income earning person of the family.

On the road to financial freedom...

Women tend to excuse themselves from financial matters and pass the responsibility to their husband. They face a lot of problems if their husband predeceases them-unaware of the key financial accounts or the financial plan they had in mind, usually falling prey to vulpine advisors. The financial planning needs of women are different from men. They tend to live longer, earn less, save less for retirement, and have different insurance needs.

We know you want financial security. Would you like to be dependent on your children during your retirement? Of course not, right? Thus take one step at a time to begin your journey towards financial freedom.

PersonalFN is a Mumbai based personal finance firm offering Financial Planning and Mutual Fund Research services.


The views mentioned above are of the author only. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Equitymaster do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendation on any course of action to be followed by the reader. Please read the detailed Terms of Use of the web site.

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