- Only a few women can boast of having equal participation or the final say in major financial matters.
- It is absolutely essential to learn about the key aspects of finance to get over your initial hesitation and get started on your financial journey.
- Taking the first steps is the most daunting task when it comes to venturing into an unknown arena. So start small, start easy.
- Take charge to ensure that your current household finances are planned with your needs in focus, and also to enable you to plan for a more secure future.
- We are not born experts at everything, especially when it comes to such a complex topic as finance. So ask for help when required.
With International Women’s Day this month, various dialogues across different aspects of women empowerment are taking place. Be it body positivity, women’s health and safety, representation in positions of power or gender pay gap – name it and we have someone talking about it. Amongst the myriad of important issues, one topic that we find extremely important is women and their relationship with personal finance.
Why discussing Personal Finance is important for women
First of all, let’s acknowledge that more often than is fair, the truth for many households even today is that the one who brings home the dough, runs the show. And while we have come a long way in terms of female empowerment, societal pressures and stereotypical gender roles are still resulting in household responsibilities landing on a woman’s shoulders while the onus of earning an income falling on a man in many families.
Now, speaking in cold hard numbers, women on average have a longer life span and earn less than men. Therefore, ending up less financially well off in later stages of life is more probable for women than is acknowledged.
What makes things more complicated though is that even in situations where women are contributing to the household income, they are markedly disadvantaged. Truth is that having your own income doesn’t necessarily put your needs at the forefront, unless you’re participating equally in all financial decision-making along with the men in the family. Unfortunately, this is where most women face challenges and fall short of achieving complete self-dependence.
A recent campaign run by a leading fintech brand showed the stark difference in the knowledge and command that men have compared to women when it comes to personal finance. The question we have to ask is – if you’re earning your own income, having your own bank balance and managing your own expenses, why aren’t you having equal say in major financial decisions such as property purchase, equity investments, estate planning etc? Only a few women can boast of having equal participation or the final say in such matters. It’s high time we change this status quo.
How to get started
You will come across various articles, including those on our blog, on how to make a budget, ways to start investing, what is financial planning etc. However, while the information is widely available, there are some fundamental roadblocks that need to be tackled in order for women to be able to improve their financial situation. Here’s how you can get started.
One of the major reasons why women tend to leave the responsibility of big financial decisions to men is the lack of knowledge, which often leads to a lack of confidence. Traditionally, most women have limited their financial responsibilities to managing household expenses such as groceries, homeware, linens and at the most utility bills. As for savings and investments, it’s mostly been through cash and gold ornaments. Slowly as we are moving away from strict gender roles, it’s become increasingly necessary to learn about the key aspects of finance – investments into financial instruments, insurance matters and retirement planning – to name a few. Instead of getting bogged down by these seemingly big concepts, take it head on by learning about them. Use the plethora of resources online (blogs, books, videos, personal finance apps) to get hands on with one topic at a time. Participate in financial discussions with your peers, whether it be your colleagues or friends. Slowly, you’ll be able to get over your initial hesitation and take your first step into your financial journey.
2. Start Small
The saying, ‘the secret to getting ahead is to get started’ couldn’t be more true than in this situation. Taking the first steps is the most daunting task when it comes to venturing into an unknown arena. So start small, start easy. There will be time to take up challenges, but that’s for later. Begin with charting out your financial goals, making a budget, investing in small amounts. That way it won’t cause much stress and you’ll learn along the way. Do not purchase expensive apps or make long-term financial commitments with partial knowledge. Be aware of fees and charges before you sign up for anything. At Cashvisory, we ensure that you understand the value you can derive from the financial advice, before you put your money in it.
3. Take Charge
All the theoretical and practical knowledge goes to waste if you don’t use it to become self-sufficient with regards to your finances. So it’s utterly important that you take charge. Not only will it help to push yourself into getting more hands-on, it will also ensure that your current household finances are planned with your needs in focus, which may not take precedence if you let others take charge. Incidentally, it will enable you to plan for a more secure future regardless of whether you have a family or choose to stay single. The confidence that you can handle all challenges on your own will also play an integral role to stabilize your life should you face any emergencies or unfortunate circumstances such as the loss of a parent or a partner.
4. Ask For Help
Though this applies across the board, it’s important to highlight how women particularly need to be more vocal when it comes to asking for help. Having been labeled the weaker sex for ages, it’s hard for most women to seek help and still maintain that strong exterior. But it’s time to normalize that we are not born experts at everything. There should be no shame and guilt surrounding asking for help whenever and wherever we need it, especially so, when it comes to such a complex topic as finance. Team up with your advisor to look at the gaps there might be in your plan. Seek expert advice on concepts you can’t get your head around. Use technology to help you build good financial habits. Tools are aplenty if we first recognize and accept that we need help. Do note that not all financial advice is good so you must ensure that it is from a trustworthy, competent and credible source.
Staying on top of your personal finance game is not just about empowerment, it’s about survival. Take this up as an absolute essential to your life, and on an urgent basis. Once you get the ball rolling, it’ll get much easier from there. It’s only a matter of time when you’ll be strutting about swanking your financial expertise leaving men gawking in surprise. You go, girl!