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Women and Money

Women and Money
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It is time for women to participate more actively in financial matters says Vinette D’Souza

In today’s rapidly changing world, women are a significant part of the workforce. The percentage of the distaff side in various professions has been rising steadily. However, when it comes to money management, one of the big problems with women is they do not treat personal finance as something that is important for them and generally leave it to the men. Money is not an easy topic of conversation. Very often there is a cultural cringe towards being financially assertive. As a child parents take care of financial matters, and later in life it is the father or brother and when married it is the husband. So, why can’t a woman take care of her personal finances?

Lack of confidence”Am I doing it correctly? This is too much money to handle and I may land up making mistakes”. This attitude plays on her psyche and does not help her take the next step.

Comparisons

Across ranks in many professional fields, historically speaking there has always been a disparity in earnings between a woman and a man. Women are paid less for the same quality of work and the hours put in although this is now progressively changing. Lack of time “I don’t have the time to invest my money for the future.” This could be due to lack of interest or not sufficient time as many women multitask and investing is not a high priority. This should however not be a deterrent to making well researched investments.

Track your spending

You need to review your income and expenses and find out where you can save without compromising on your lifestyle. Try to live with 90% of your salary. There is no need to imitate the lavish lifestyle of your neighbour or wear designer labels if you can’t afford them.

Budgeting

This is an important aspect in money management. Create budgets for small, medium and large goals in life. Work towards achieving these goals in a systematic manner. When you get into the habit of budgeting you will view every situation from a budgetary viewpoint.

Emergency fund

This should be a fund where investments made are only used for an emergency. The value of the fund doesn’t matter. What matters is that the process has begun.

The Debt Trap

Forever using a credit card can very often land you in big trouble. We give in to our wants and overlook our needs. Make cash payments as much as possible.

Retirement Plans

This is a very sticky situation. Even if one does all the permutations and combinations considering the current economic scenario and rising inflation, you will never be able to correctly put down a figure that is needed for a comfortable retirement. Nonetheless, plan for retirement and the contingency of illness.

Empowerment

Money in a women’s hand gives her an edge over decision making thus enabling her to make her life comfortable. It is possible for an average woman to handle her own finances and secure her freedom. Money management is the process of knowing how much money is coming in, how you are spending it and having a well laid out plan in place for where you want to go in the future. If every woman in India changes her mind-set from dependency to being independent, the shape of the economy of the country will change for the better.

This article was first published in Timeline GOA Magazine: Issue 1 Vol. 1 (Page 68).

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