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Business News/ Money / Personal Finance/  Women and Money: Why you must take charge of your finances
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Women and Money: Why you must take charge of your finances

Why do many people think that women can’t handle their finances? Why are they forced to rely on the men in their families to decide their savings and investments? Why not tell women to be careful with their money as with other resources?

Discrimination is a state of the mind. There is no reason why women should not take charge of their finances. (unsplash)Premium
Discrimination is a state of the mind. There is no reason why women should not take charge of their finances. (unsplash)

A recent survey by TATA AIA Life Insurance revealed how the freedom of our country has not translated into financial freedom for its women. This is despite enjoying its 75th year of independence and now gearing up to become a global power. The status of many women in India is far from the principle of gender equality enshrined in advocated as per our country’s Constitution. The state’s measures to propel and elevate women in all sectors fell short of protecting women’s rights to handle their money sans unwarranted interference from the men in their families. 

The survey results highlight how many women have failed to take charge of their personal finances. They also underscore the percentage of women that has gone ahead in deciding their finances. Despite so many sites and media platforms informing and educating about various investment options, what refrains women from deciding how to best use their money? More importantly, why should women take charge of their finances?

READ MORE: Retirement Planning: 6 financial tips for women in their 60s

Unless we are able to delve into why should women learn to decide what to do with their money, defining finances and their implications in a woman’s life would be futile. 

To start with, being self-sufficient should be everyone’s goal, unbiased of gender or lifestyle. However, this is possible only with financial independence – the freedom to earn your money, decide how much to save or save and last but not least, secure your future by investing in available investment opportunities. This is because being able to secure enough money for yourself will automatically prepare you to face even the toughest circumstances in life. 

Indian society lends enough freedom to women. However, the existing mindset expects women to be emotionally and financially dependent on their women. Single women latch on to their fathers and brothers for support while married women rely on their husbands to decide what to do with their salaries and other income sources. While this behaviour cannot be truly criticized, the financial impact on such women is more pronounced if they remain single or get divorced. The sudden loss of support can wreck the finances of the woman in an unexpected way.

READ MORE: 5 financial tips for women who lost their partners

Defining financial freedom

We normal associate financial freedom with those who work in offices. Though it is not completely incorrect, it is appalling how our society ignores small entrepreneurial women who have managed to turn their passion into their profession. Freelancers also are not counted among financially independent women. This skewed definition of financially independent women adds to their woes.

The survey results included evaluating how working women deal with their finances. A surprising fact is that these working women left all the financial decisions to the men in their families. This means that while they are adept enough to earn money, they do not find themselves proficient to plan and allocate their money.

READ MORE: Women rise up the ladder despite prejudices and glass ceiling

Why decide your own money?

No woman can crave equality unless she finds herself on an equal footing with the men in her family. However, the demand for equal status begets identity, which is again impossible without enough financial freedom. To experience this, women must tread on the path they choose for themselves and also decide where to best allocate their money. While it is a good thing to contribute to family expenses, women must be careful to secure their own future too. This translates to worthwhile savings, enough investments and a carefully laid out plan that allows them to withdraw in case of a need or an emergency.

Contribution to family lends women the much-desired feeling of self-esteem. However, this familial feeling must not be at the cost of one’s financial freedom. 

Emergencies can crop up at any time. To ask the men in your family for money does not seem feasible always. The best way out is to have a nest egg for one’s future needs. A good corpus amount may not solve all problems but will definitely lend the much-needed strength to women to face life’s adversities. 

Women have always been hailed to be multitaskers. Their good acumen regarding money, especially savings and investments, is always appreciated. However, many women still find it difficult to decide for themselves. Decision-making power is at the core of financial freedom. Women exercise prudence in money matters. It, therefore, makes sense to let them decide what they want to do with their money.

Abstaining women from deciding money matters not only violates their right to financial freedom but also detaches them from financial decision-making. This puts them at a disadvantage as they find it difficult to cope with the stark realities of life associated with money.

READ MORE: Breaking the biases in personal finance

Enjoying financial freedom

Women must be given access to enough financial resources and freedom. This can be done by encouraging them to take care of their finances. Women spending rampantly on their families must refrain from continuing with such unwarranted expenditures. Saving enough regularly is the first step to securing the much-desired financial freedom. Having a savings and investment plan in place to decide how to allocate your money accordingly. Also, when the income rises, the percentage of savings and investment should increase too instead of increasing expenses. This will help women to achieve their financial freedom faster.

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Published: 19 Oct 2022, 08:44 AM IST
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