Women & Financial Independence – Time is NOW!!

Once you know about me, Kriti Suri, you will see a direct connect with the topic I have chosen to talk to rather write about today.

I, not just happen to be financially literate, I am also co-founder of financial digital company helping others plan their financial future and achieve financial independence. Its too close to my heart to see women folks owning up the financial responsibilities of self and their family, actively participate and determine the course of action to build a financially secure future that helps cater to needs of tomorrow and for those sunset years, where you want to once again enjoy your freedom, live life to fullest and spend without worries. Does this not look interesting?

There are probably not two opinions about the fact that women generally tend to take a back seat when it comes to managing finances and all too happy to have someone else do it for them and the family. And let me tell you its nothing to do with the knowledge of investments, expenses and returns, its more to do with a stereotype understanding and view that women are not up to it.

It’s a misnomer to say financial wellbeing and control is all about investment options, equities, returns, credit ratings, mutual fund and many more. Yes, to an extent it is, but in todays world there are experts available to advise and help you make those choices.

So, from my prospective, financial independence is at the onset about understanding, income / earnings, expenses, needs, financial goals and prioritization.

So, is it rocket science?

What comes out of all this is you don’t have to learn or do anything out of the ordinary. It has got very little to do with numbers and more to do with understanding needs, wants, intent, behaviour and discipline. And take it from me that women are better placed in financial matters than men. They are more disciplined, generally weigh risks better and very sensitive to self-interests.

In my profession I have seen it frequently that financial planning as couples is much more effective than when done in isolation. It is important to know and embrace the fact that both partners have something unique to bring to the table. And when it is your family’s finance, no perspective is a wrong perspective. If we try to analyse stereotypical notion that women are either not interested or are not rational enough to handle finances, it comes out clearly that most often this narrative is build around the technicalities of investment, which we will deal with separately, but for now, lets just understand that these are good to understand but are not pre-requisite to financial wellbeing. There are people and organizations that specialize in that aspects and do a must better job than a average financially literate men.

In fact, the financial (il)literacy infrastructure is also gender-neutral, such that nobody is taught anything about money matters throughout their formational years. This means odds are equally place for both genders. In fact, contrary to the popular beliefs many of us hold, personal finance is one of the very few spaces where there is absolutely no gender limitation. Whether you earn money or not, there is no reason why, as a woman, you should not equip yourself and teach yourself the rules of the game, especially because your perspective when it comes to handling your family’s finances is vital.

Where Do You Start?

You begin by doing. Forget about all the noise around technicity of finance and the concepts for a while. That will come and be useful when you see value in doing it.

Start with the basics. What am I really looking for? At one level, you want to ensure that if things should go wrong, you have what you need to live. That means an emergency fund. It is absolutely important to buy umbrellas even when the sun is shining.

If there is medical issue, there has to be a trouble-free availability of funds for best of the treatment, that means Health Insurance. No natural calamity should take away your heard earned assets, house at minimum, which takes us to Home Insurance and should anything happen to the bread winning member of the family, everyone left behind must have a financial security, so that points us to a Life Insurance, a Term Insurance to be specific.

So, does any of this sound like rocket science? And is it not logical and straight forward?

If it is, so go ahead and do it, and if in doubt, consult a good expert in the area.

That’s how it works for everyone. Of course, we will have to start by doing one at a time, but it is important to take that first step.

To begin is most important, first have your basic needs covered then see the surplus and start planning for future, that’s also as simple and straight as things described thus far were.

Remember, it is less numbers and more behaviour.

Don’t be in doubt or denial

Finally, as you start taking control of your finances, stop doubting yourself. There will be a learning curve, there will be some mistakes. Most of these will be what you have already done, rather than the new ones. As you unearth where your money already sits, you will realise what is the good and the bad in investing.

Move on from your mistakes, they can be easily rectified with the right advice. Have patience. The idea is not to know “which mutual fund to invest in?” Instead, it is to understand how best you can put your money to work.

With the right perspective, understanding finances is quite an exciting, enriching and empowering journey to take. Take your first step women folks!