Women often find that personal finance is something for the men to think of and let them do the math. However, Women should be more involved in personal finance and they can be even better than men at it.
It is not Women’s Day that I am writing for women. Instead it is the start of a New Financial Year and what better way to start off with than ladies. Yes, Ladies first. And as far as personal finance is concerned, it makes sense to do a first post of a financial year focussing on them. Trust me ladies, if you want, you can be great at managing your personal finance, and not just your own, but for the entire family too; maybe even better than the men around.
A lot of women have already taken control of their finances and it is a great sign for our country as a whole since it is a step in the right direction against the regressive male dominated structure we are used to living in for ages. For those of you ladies who still think that men are the ones who should handle the personal finances and you are not to be that involved here are some myths and facts that will get Women started to take their finances seriously.
Men know better:
Yeah, we pretend to know better but we are at times as confused and in two minds as any other creature on the planet. In fact from personal experience I have seen the women make better judgement at times than the men. It is just that men are more involved in the finances from the very start, that they have a head start in the financial world and the investment arena. It is just a matter of time that you can catch up. Knowledge is knowledge, whether a man takes it or a woman. So you as a woman should start taking your personal finance seriously and start learning the basics. This website would help, also there is Google at your disposal, and then you can always ask your male counterparts for any doubts. Take the first step.
Your income is secondary source so it is not “THAT” important:
A man goes to office, puts in long hours, and brings home the money required to run the household expenses. You also have a job or occupation that pays, but you consider it “secondary” or “supplementary”. WRONG. You do the same, you work so you get paid, you put in the efforts, and hence you bring home the money. So how on earth is it not “THAT” important? In fact in today’s day and age it is equally important to have double incomes and that makes your earnings vital. So if the money you bring in is important, then that money also DESERVES RESPECT from you. Start to invest, learn the various ways to do it. Initially start small and simple, maybe a Recurring Deposit, SIP in Mutual Funds and then go on to the major things, but please do.
Men handle the money matters:
Who said that? Money is money, whether it is yours or his and it needs investments and savings routine for it to grow. So why let anyone else do it for you and you don’t get involved? There are so many chefs who are men, did anyone tell them that “hey, cooking is only the woman’s domain…” so why should men only handle money matters? You should also be involved with the men while making decisions on which Life Insurance to buy, which Mutual Fund to invest in, what shares to buy etc. If you do not understand on what basis is the decision is being made, politely ask “How do you choose the Fund?” or “How do you pick a Life Insurance Policy”, an educated man will surely explain the things whole-heartedly and the husbands may even be delighted that the wife is being involved in the personal finance and he has a support system in place. There will be time when he may be stumped at some of the questions, since as I said in the first point; we men do not necessarily know everything and that could lead them to searching for answers themselves.
You will never need to manage your own money so why bother:
This thinking comes from the male-dominated culture we have grown to live in wherein a woman’s finances are handled first by their father, then by the husband and then the children, mainly the sons. So that thought often comes in that there is no need for it. But it is not true. Did you ever pause and think why the men in your lives did all the decision making for you? It is not because they loved it, it because they never thought that you could handle it, or were capable of it, leave alone being interested in it. It is time to show them they are wrong. Start taking your finances seriously and learn to invest better. The more important thing here is what if all of a sudden there is an unexpected event and you are in a situation wherein men around you are no more, they have died suddenly or fallen sick anything, and you are in need to handle all of it. It can happen. Statistically women outlive men and if this stat is anything to go by, there could be a situation for you when you will be stranded with all those funds and accounts and policies with nowhere to go and not knowing what to do with it. You really do not want to start learning all that too late in your life nor should be willing to let anyone else handle it for you since, chances of you being duped for your money will be higher when you are alone.
You feel you don’t have enough savings or know-how to do it anyway:
Seriously ladies! Savings is what a woman must have invented. Yeah, just think of it. A man goes to buy something he will only TRY to bargain and then take the price offered. However a woman will not TRY she WILL bargain and get great deals at even the most unlikely of places. I have been with women while they try to shop and boy do they know what they do. In fact one of the posts on stepupmoney was inspired by something my wife managed to pull off (you can read it here); she bargained at an upmarket departmental store over and above the discount that was being already offered in sale. At first I thought that could be embarrassing, but then it worked. She managed to knock off 10% more on a gadget that I had to buy which was already offered at 5% off. I was ready to pay, till she intervened and the rest is history.
So really you women are the best savers I have seen, the problem is you are not that good Investors. I mean from household expenses to bargains on shopping, women know how to save, if only you all start learning to invest, even if it is as little as Rs. 500 a month as an RD or a PPF deposit or as an SIP in a mutual fund, you should be well on your way to take it forward from there. If you feel you cannot save since SHOPPING is too distracting, well there are plenty of men who are more spend thrift than you, but they still invest very well and save. All you have to do is keep a few things in mind while shopping and learn to save a bit more and then invest that savings somewhere or opt for some forced savings and investments like here to start off.
Afraid of mistakes:
Tell me when the stock markets crash, how many women do you hear cry over lost money? Now think how many men cry over lost money? There would be more men and why is that so, well because they erred, they made a mistake. So even if you do it, fine. You will learn from it. So if you have been thinking that if you take personal finances in your own hands you will make mistakes, well everybody does. Men do it, so will you. Just learn from it and move on. Start small and take small steps so that the mistakes do not hurt big time.
Well, there still plenty of perceptions and myths that men and women both have that would deter women from taking on personal finance and managing their own money. However, if there is anything a man can do, a woman can do it better and especially finances. Savings is in your blood, you were born with it, all you have to do is to figure out how to invest it.