Home / Money / Personal Finance /  Financial independence among top priorities for women, says study

Being financially independent ranks among top three priorities for women, a survey by SBI General said, adding that about three in 10 women find ‘cost of living’ a major challenge or barrier for being financially independent.

One in four women indicated social/family restriction or lack of guidance from home as a barrier to becoming financial independent, the survey, which was conducted in collaboration with YouGov, said.

About 1,000 women aged 25-45 in tier-I and -II cities across India participated in the survey.

The study sought to understand the perception of women and their understanding of financial independence, while examining the triggers and barriers they face to become financially independent.

For working women, being financially independent may mean making her own financial decisions or being self-sustained by earning and managing her own finances. But for a homemaker it may mean having monetary independence, freedom, and the ability to spend money whenever she wants or sustain themselves during emergencies.

Although most women ascribed a great degree of importance to financial independence, a majority indicated that they do not earn enough to be financially independent, with nearly 50% “not feeling financially independent". 

The lack of financial independence is more evident in tier-II cities and among non-working women.

In an encouraging sign, about 53% of the women surveyed said they have taken steps to save and invest, as proactive steps to become financially independent. However, only 38% women claimed to have been insured as a step to becoming financially independent.

PC Kandpal, MD & CEO, SBI General Insurance, said, “Today, more and more women in India are focusing on being self-dependent and financially secure. However, the study shows most women are still not self-dependent, especially in financial matters like investment and insurance. In fact, our study highlights that while women strive to be financially independent, one-third of the women find lack of proper information and knowledge about investment and insurance, as one of the pulling factors."

“Only 38% women have claimed to have insured themselves to be financially independent, signaling low levels of awareness and insurance penetration. There is a need to equip women with the necessary information so that they can make more informed choices about their finances. Our efforts are centered on this premise, and we will continue to undertake initiatives that make financial independence for women a part of mainstream discourse", he added.

Other key findings:

While women seek information around finance and investing across media channels (online and offline), family guidance (22%) has the highest influence on their ultimate investment. Women, therefore, need to be encouraged to find more information on their own and take financial decisions independently

The study showed seeking professional help to manage finances is rare among women—even among those who consider themselves financially independent. According to the study, while only 17% women consulted a financial planner so far, one-third (34%) also indicated a need for support/guidance from experts to be financially independent.

About 48% women consider increasing investment and savings as important steps to elevating the level of financial independence.

A majority (77%) of the respondents consider having individual bank account even after marriage important as a part of being financially independent

Only 30% women related financially independence with pre-empting emergencies.

The study captures insights from the top 6 metros, as well next 20 cities, including mini metros such as Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Pune and cities like Agra, Jaipur and Indore.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Navneet Dubey

Navneet Dubey is a personal finance writer and artist. Over the past decade, he has written feature stories on insurance, financial planning, lending and borrowing.
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