You are a financially independent woman, but are you empowered to take money decisions at home?
Sheena is a marketing head at an MNC in Gurgaon. Her take-home salary is around Rs 1 lakh per month. She is well-settled with her husband and one son. She loves indulging in the latest fashion wear and shoes. On the 3rd of every month when her salary gets credited, she goes on a shopping spree. She is also responsible for day-to-day budget management of her home – how much to pay to the maids, milkman, and so forth. However, if you ask how much she saves or invests, she has no clue. Her answer is, “Oh, my husband takes care of this stuff.”
Is she financially independent in the real sense? No, she isn’t.
In most families, it is the man of the house who is entrusted with the responsibility of key money matters. There is no issue with the husband, father, son or brother taking charge of financial decisions. It is not about not trusting the man of the house. It is not about feminism either. The question is why women don’t take the financial matters into their hands?
There could be plenty of reasons:
- It is deep-rooted in our minds that men should do all money management in the house.
- Women don’t have the confidence to take independent financial decisions.
- Women lack awareness about how savings and investments work.
- Women don’t want to bear the additional burden of finances when she is already juggling between house, job and family.
- There is a general notion that men’s brains work faster and smarter on money-related matters.
Whatever her reason may be, a woman who brings income to the house, willingly or unwillingly may not participate in the financial discussions. Life is uncertain – you never know when a tragedy will strike. To the point of being brutally blunt, have you ever pictured a situation where a divorce or partner’s death can leave you in financial tatters? Of course, emotional and physical havoc apart. The realities of life are harsh. Suddenly, you may be faced with situations where you are required to handle all financial issues on your own. So, ditch your rose-tinted glasses and be practical. Take charge of personal finance and be prepared to face any unforeseen financial eventualities.
There are plenty of online and offline resources which can introduce you to money management concepts. You can even reach out to a professional advisor. In fact, you have a mentor (man of the house!) at home itself. Why not begin your financial education from there? Find out from your mentor how and where the family investments have been made, where all physical and electronic documents are stored, and what the future investment plans are. This is your first step towards financial empowerment in the real sense. No matter how many times you are ridiculed for taking your time to grasp the concepts, don’t give up. Remember, there is a learning curve for everything.
Financial independence gives you a sense of self-worth, but financial decision making is about accumulating confidence and safeguarding yourself from contingencies.
About the author:
Smita Agrawal Omar – An ex banker, who voluntary said adiós to a high flying career to dive into motherhood. When she is not busy juggling between a naughty kiddo and a foodie husband, you can find her donning the hat of a freelance content writer and reading fiction novels to keep her sanity intact. She is a city editor at www.mycity4kids.com and also associated as a wordsmith with various other platforms.
(The author is a guest blogger at Her Second Innings. The opinions expressed are those of the author.)
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