Financial Planning and Investment Management: Pathway to Independence for Women

September 25, 2015, Chennai

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Last year when I started “Women Only Workshops” for personal finance, there was mixed response from people , with whom I broached upon this subject.

One year down, I feel it was one of those soul satisfying  things that I started in my life. The response from the women folk had been amazing. This is a subject / skill that most of the women want to have. 
The question that I face most often is - Is financial independence and investment more relevant to women than to men? I get these and many more answers by interacting with women from all walks of life in these workshops. 
In reality financial planning and investment skills are more relevant to women than to men. Home makers as well as working women can derive true empowerment only if they acquire working knowledge of these skills. 
A homemaker, who is not involved in any economic activity has more at stake than any-one else. Ever wonder why traditionally women held on to their jewelry and gold! Because that was the only piece of wealth that they had  control of (Stridhan). Most of them had no rights over the property or other wealth in the family. The traditional HUF didn’t give them equal rights either. In last few decades women started getting involved in economically productive activities but the status of wealth control didn’t change too much. This left a lot of women hapless and crushed under dual responsibility of running the household and also contributing to the family kitty. 
At the time of divorce, one of my clients’ husband fleeced her of the assets which the two created jointly! There are cases where the separated spouse refuses to contribute for child support. The origin of most of the money problems lie in the fact that a lot of women perceive themselves as poor money manager as compared to their husband, father or brother. Sometimes they just realize the importance of learning the skills a little too late in their lives.
Financial planning and investment management is one of the basic skills that all the women should equip themselves with, even if they are blessed with a great husband and there is a division of responsibilities. Sharmila (name changed) separated from her husband eight years back. The estranged husband provided some support for a while and later on agreed to take care of their son, whereas Sharmila still has the responsibility of taking care of their daughter. She doesn’t get any financial support from her family and is now working with a BPO. In her naivety she invested in an apartment which is far from the CMDA limits and cannot stay there. She also mortgaged her jewelry to make the down payment. Now she is struggling with cash flows of EMI, interest on loans and rent. Pretty soon the apartment maintenance payments will also catch up. Even if she is able to give it on rent, it will not be good enough to tide over the interest payments. She is overladen with debt at an age when other goals are also catching up.
A reasonable understanding of money matters could have saved her from this situation. Like buy a readymade apartment in which she could have moved in right away or an old apartment ; so she could actually save on EMIs and have a house for old age.
Sharmila is not the only one. A lot of investors in their zealousness to find an investment opportunity which saves tax, has no risk and gives unbelievable returns get trapped in this vicious cycle of debt and interest payments. A little awareness about the principles of cash flow, financial planning and investment management can make their lives more peaceful and prosperous.
About the Author: Renu Maheshwari is a SEBI Registered Investment Adviser and founder of Finscholarz- Fee only Financial Planning and Portfolio Management Services
o   Most important goal for women 
o   Why is it more relevant to women than men
o   How to go about it

Last year when I started “Women Only Workshops” for personal finance, there was mixed response from people , with whom I broached upon this subject. One year down, I feel it was one of those soul satisfying  things that I started in my life. The response from the women folk had been amazing. This is a subject / skill that most of the women want to have. 

 

The question that I face most often is - Is financial independence and investment more relevant to women than to men? I get these and many more answers by interacting with women from all walks of life in these workshops. 

 

In reality financial planning and investment skills are more relevant to women than to men. Home makers as well as working women can derive true empowerment only if they acquire working knowledge of these skills. 

 

A homemaker, who is not involved in any economic activity has more at stake than any-one else. Ever wonder why traditionally women held on to their jewelry and gold! Because that was the only piece of wealth that they had  control of (Stridhan). Most of them had no rights over the property or other wealth in the family. The traditional HUF didn’t give them equal rights either. In last few decades women started getting involved in economically productive activities but the status of wealth control didn’t change too much. This left a lot of women hapless and crushed under dual responsibility of running the household and also contributing to the family kitty. 

 

At the time of divorce, one of my clients’ husband fleeced her of the assets which the two created jointly! There are cases where the separated spouse refuses to contribute for child support. The origin of most of the money problems lie in the fact that a lot of women perceive themselves as poor money manager as compared to their husband, father or brother. Sometimes they just realize the importance of learning the skills a little too late in their lives.

 

Financial planning and investment management is one of the basic skills that all the women should equip themselves with, even if they are blessed with a great husband and there is a division of responsibilities. Sharmila (name changed) separated from her husband eight years back. The estranged husband provided some support for a while and later on agreed to take care of their son, whereas Sharmila still has the responsibility of taking care of their daughter. She doesn’t get any financial support from her family and is now working with a BPO. In her naivety she invested in an apartment which is far from the CMDA limits and cannot stay there. She also mortgaged her jewelry to make the down payment. Now she is struggling with cash flows of EMI, interest on loans and rent. Pretty soon the apartment maintenance payments will also catch up. Even if she is able to give it on rent, it will not be good enough to tide over the interest payments. She is overladen with debt at an age when other goals are also catching up.

 

A reasonable understanding of money matters could have saved her from this situation. Like buy a readymade apartment in which she could have moved in right away or an old apartment ; so she could actually save on EMIs and have a house for old age.

Sharmila is not the only one. A lot of investors in their zealousness to find an investment opportunity which saves tax, has no risk and gives unbelievable returns get trapped in this vicious cycle of debt and interest payments. A little awareness about the principles of cash flow, financial planning and investment management can make their lives more peaceful and prosperous.

 

About the Author: Renu Maheshwari is a SEBI Registered Investment Adviser and founder of Finscholarz- Fee only Financial Planning and Portfolio Management Services

 

 

o   Most important goal for women 

o   Why is it more relevant to women than men

o   How to go about it