Shikha Verma offers invaluable money management insights
Women comprise an integral part of our society and are the foundation of our happy present and bright future.
Women have the ability to multi-task and are far more disciplined and efficient than the other gender. Women have excelled in almost every field from science to sports, from information technology to infrastructure and what not.
But when it comes to managing finances, many women take a step back and feel less confident. The real key to change this attitude is to change our outlook and educate ourselves on the personal finance front.
On this International Women's Day, let us reiterate the four basic personal finance lessons which are important to imbibe and work upon for all women.
Have financial independence
Being financially independent will give you the flexibility, freedom and responsibility to plan your and your loved one's present and the future.
Financial independence is important to give you the wings to accomplish the short term or/and the long term financial goals set in your mind. It also gives you the walls to stay within your set financial budget and not to go overboard to attain something.
Financial independence does not only mean earning money on your own, but also knowing how much money you have in your kitty, where it is placed, how it can help you when required and where it should be parked.
In our country, people will worship goddess Lakshmi for their wealth and prosperity, but giving financial independence to their own women may be difficult for some men. It is important to break the stereotype and manage your finances efficiently and effectively.
Create a contingency fund
Saving is an important component of Indian households where women play an important role. We have seen our homemaker mothers, aunts keeping aside some part of the family's disposable income in rice containers in the kitchen to create an emergency fund to combat any sought of unforeseen contingencies.
Ensure that you have substantial bank balance or a short term investment to make up your contingency fund. Park your funds in a portfolio which will offer you quick liquidity and easy accessibility during times of need.
Financial protection is important
Your life is important and precious to your family. It is important to financially protect yourself via life insurance and health insurance plans. It is prudent to cover the risk of life and health through risk mitigating insurance plans.
Insurance companies offer lower premium rates to women as compared to men. Life insurance policy will ensure that your loved ones are financially compensated in case of an unfortunate events like death, disability, accident, etc.
Insurance policies can also serve as an instrument to meet important financial goals like maternity, kids education, savings, retirement, etc.
Females are more prone to some critical illnesses which, if diagnosed, will create a setback for the entire family financially and emotionally.
The treatment and health care costs can be aggravating; so it is important to have a health plan to combat the financial implications related to your health.
Starting early will offer you higher coverage and lowest premium payouts along with gender rebate.
There are specifically designed life and health insurance plans for women offered by insurance companies, which caters to all kinds of perils under a single umbrella plan.
Stay consistent and review your investments periodically
It is important to invest your money in where you can get better than fixed deposit returns instead keeping it idle.
Set your financial goals first and invest your money accordingly based on the tenure of your goals. Don't simply abide by the investment patterns of your peers or friends.
Every household has its own set of income, assets and liabilities.
It is important to understand your own investment strengths, constraints and risk appetite to ensure the right investment instrument.
It is important to choose the investment accordingly and be consistent in your savings.
You may consult a financial planner or the web to know about the various types of investments available in the market.
Take out time to review your investments in a time bound manner rather only remembering the maturity/redemption date of the investment.
Analyse the investment trends and ensure that your cash flows are rightly invested.
It is important to save first and then spend rather spending first and then saving.
Consistent and disciplined saving habits will take you a long way, ensuring a secure future and giving you a feeling of contentment for doing your bit for your loved ones.
Photograph: Jacob Morgan/unsplash.com
Shikha Verma, content strategist for ComparePolicy.com, has authored four books on insurance and taxation for Pondicherry University, Pudduchery and Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai.