What women want – is Financial Independence

financial independence

Whenever I write something on women and money, I feel that my mind revolves around the same thoughts and just to avoid me being repetitive this time I decided to have, opinion of the people around me on “why money management is important for women?”.  My discussion with few of the women from different strata of life gave a deep insight into the subject.

The thoughts are all about “WHY” aspect of women to understand or involve themselves in personal and family’s financial planning, as “WHAT is to be done” and “HOW is to be done”, can only be looked into when one is thoroughly convinced on the Why.

Here are some of the views in verbatim. I have not edited the statements as it would have taken the essence out of it.

Sonali Pathak (Interior Designer, NOIDA)

Financial Independence is just as important for a woman as it is for a man, if you want to live life on your own terms. In this day and age there is no guarantee of a fairytale marriage, wherein the woman will be the nurturer and man the provider. More so because women having equal opportunities are no longer satisfied handling just the home front.

Also, I feel this role of homemaker should be an option one chooses rather than a “majboori” for it to be truly satisfying. The worst feeling ever is to have your partner throw it in your face, that you are living off him. I’ve met crazy amount of women, who having either not pursued a career or having given it up to be a homemaker, are so frustrated and feel so help less.

So, I guess for every woman to be empowered enough, step 1 is to have a career that provides you with the kind of money that provides for the kind of lifestyle you aspire to, and

Step 2 is to manage your finances intelligently such that your resources are utilized effectively rather being frittered away in a manner that is neither enjoyable nor sensible.

Rather a thoughtless, pointless frittering away adding up to nothing of value.

Dr. Shobha Kansal (Doctor, Mohali)

It is imperative that women especially professionals manage their financial affairs on their own. Making time for this is as important as the profession, as well as the duties of the family life. Usually, women became complacent regarding financial management and fall back on their life partners as other demands of life take over (esp. motherhood). But managing finances themselves will not only lend confidence but will also secure their future monetarily.

I will propound this advice to every married and single women. Even as a daughter, if you know the family’s financial status, then mismanagement, mishandling, and fraud can be easily avoided, if a calamity befalls.

Women should take interest in the financial investments also, so they are not easily misled. With the changing structure of the society and increasing divorce rates, financial independence and management are of the prime importance for them.

Monalika (Name Changed) IT Professional, Bangalore

Women are emotional beings. Nurturing is in their DNA. And thus, they don’t think twice when they have to compromise their well-established career for a family. Being a Homemaker doesn’t mean you have lost your independence, but the problem comes when you are being treated as someone who is contributing nothing in the family.

In my view, a woman should save enough for herself during her working years and manage the funds wisely, so she should not have to look at her husband all the time for any of her financial needs. Rather than dreaming of having a Grand wedding, women should ask her parents to gift her enough as per their capacity and she should use the money sensibly for her own personal goals.

Though this should be the responsibility of the husband to provide for her, but still one’s independence is in one’s own hand.

financial independence

Savita Sodhi (Retired, Chandigarh)

Gone are the days when husbands hand over total or at least part of salary in their wife’s hand. Now what women get is “Ghar ka kharcha”. What about her own dreams, her aspirations? A women should have separate income of her own, to remain financial independent.

In most families, if woman is earning, gives all her money to her husband or inlaws and they manage the complete money on her behalf, without involving her. She doesn’t even know where the money is being invested and how it is going to benefit her and her family. In many cases, even her name was not there in the investments. She doesn’t even earn the nominee status there.

Husband, may want to take care of his Parents with the combined income, but what if Wife also wants to support her Parents with her income?

It is important that women should take care of finances on their own and should maintain the financial investments separately from that of immediate family. Though that doesn’t mean that she should not own family’s responsibility, but there should be her own separate net worth.

Daughters should not be educated to get “GOOD” husband, rather they should be educated to have a skillful employment later in life. It is Parents responsibility to see if their daughter is independent and wise enough to take care of any eventuality (if any) happens later in life.

Women should also gain enough financial knowledge so she should not be taken for a ride by any seller or even by any family member. She has to be careful while dealing with any adviser, as even banks missell these days.

Shilpa (Home Manager, Chandigarh)

Shilpa shared a story to make her point

Avnii lost her father when she was only 18. Her family included two brothers and her mother. Brothers who were also studying as like her & mother who was an example of typical reserved kind of Indian family, who was neither well educated nor only a homemaker, did she  have any knowledge about outside world.

Since her father used to handle all the money matters himself, none of them were aware of what all monetary transactions were performed by her father. Incomplete knowledge about any assets, Insurances, Investments, Bank accounts etc. … Unfortunately, lack of such important aspects of financials pushed them into toughest scenario of financial crunch!!

Avnii’s example strengthens the point that women should play an important role in Money Management matters. They should take part in all the important discussions happening regarding financial matters.

The most important benefit of taking part in Money Management matters will be, that the fear of mishandling the financial responsibilities will get weaken vice versa you will gain more confidence that God forbidden if, at any time you are left alone to carry out the responsibilities of your family, you will face up everything with equal strength as when male support was around( Male support can be, a husband in case of spouse or a father in case of children).

You will become more confident in taking all financial decisions. In actual sense, you will provide yourself the wings of financial freedom and happiness.

 financial independence

My take:

The opinions shared above are personal and nothing to be commented upon. All these came out of their personal experiences or what they see and feel happening around.

Financial independence is something which every woman feels, women should have. Now this may mean having one’s own earning source, or having a backup to fall back on in case of any eventuality. Independence also comes from knowledge and skills which one can always use when it is necessary.

(Read: Women and money management)

I believe that women empowerment is more about freedom and communication. Women should be given a free hand, to work, the way they want to make their living, with no compulsions. And also, all communication channel should be open in the family, so she can share her opinion, discuss thoughts and views in family’s decision making. Be it financial or otherwise.

Women should come forward to learn more on financial planning, as this will not help them only but also would help the family in comfortable money management. By not taking interest in money matters, women make themselves more vulnerable to certain circumstances.

And since this is a question of our spouse, sister, mother, daughter…so we men should also take active steps to help them feel important and create such environment in family so all women   around us feel empowered and Independent.

I Wish all Women out there, a very Happy Women’s day

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