Traditionally women are better at managing family’s budget and are more concerned about children’s education and marriage. We find women groups take to streets when prices of vegetables and other essential items increase beyond tolerable levels. Nowadays increasing number of women are opting for career in regular jobs. It provides them opportunity for financial independence. It is high time for women to take control of their finance for the following reasons;
(1) Increasing divorce rates – India is witnessing a surge in divorce rates and therefore entrusting the spouse with financial matters can create money crunch. It is prudent to keep a tab on your monthly investments and determine holdings in your name, so as to avoid financial complications later.
(2) Time off for raising children – Many expectant mothers wish to take a time off over and above their maternity leave in order to raise their children, but can’t do so due to financial commitments. Hence, a proper planning on creating a ‘time-off’ corpus can help them to do this.
(3) Daughter as a son – Today, more of the daughters are evolving as sons to their families and thus contribute to the family finances. Women, by participating in financial decisions, can become trendsetters by continuing to be an asset to their own family even after marriage
(4) More life to live- In old age; women largely depend financially on their spouses. But, with life expectancy of women being higher than men, it is advisable to put in place a separate retirement planning for themselves.
Today, women have more power and earning potential than ever before. They have the ability to sharpen their skills in building wealth and undertake financial planning to achieve their financial goals in life.
Financial Planning Steps
Create a Family Vision statement, Get Clarity on life – When you start on the journey of your financial wellbeing it is important for you and your spouse to take break and contemplate on what is your shared vision for your family wellbeing.Firstly a written statement is powerful expression of intent to move forward confidently in direction of those goals. Secondly, it gives both spouses an opportunity to really sit and speak on their shared family vision, expectations & interests and helps them to come on the same page on their finances & other matters. Lastly this excercise gives a great deal of clarity on their major life goals.
Budgeting and Savings — There is no easier way to move yourself and your family toward financial freedom than tracking your expenses. Living on a budget is the best way to make sure that you are living within or below your means.
Financial success comes simply from spending less than you earn. Budgeting begins with savings. Set your savings goals first. Pay yourself first. Set a savings goal of 5% to 15% of income per month, then plan your spending around the balance. As difficult as it may seem, this strategy can and does work.
Investing — Once you’ve saved some money, you will want to put that money to work for you. First, set up an emergency reserve account. This is a savings (Bank’s flexi account) or money market account (Liquid MF Funds) that is easily accessible and holds three to six months of expenses.
Next is saving for goals. For retirement; EPF, PPF and NPS accounts are better from safety and taxation angle. You can diversify into equity through Mutual Funds and also can allocate 5-10% into gold.
Insurance — Insurance, although not always exciting, is a necessary part of any good financial plan. Auto insurance is compulsory but many will happily avoid life insurance or health insurance. How comfortable would you be financially if your husband passed away tomorrow? You should insist that your husband has adequate life insurance under married women’s property, disability cover and health insurance for the family. Do not combine investment with insurance.
Nominations – You should ensure that bank accounts, insurance policies, mutual fund accounts have all nominations in your name. Making a will is very simple and you should get involved in making a will for the assets owned by you and your husband.
Taxes and Fees —spend some time learning about ways to save on your taxes. Get involved in your family’s finances and ways to save on income tax.
Have a Trusted Financial Advisor stand by you – If you can not plan your finances by DIY(Do it yourself), it is advisable to seek professional help from a SEBI Registered Investment Adviser.