Indian women actively participating in finance is still a rare phenomenon; in fact the same trend can be seen worldwide as well. While they may be good at handling household expenses, when it comes to taking major decisions pertaining to financial investments, they somehow take a back seat. It has been observed that women themsleves are often reluctant when it comes to managing financial assets of the family. This trend I feel must now change.
Interestingly, in Indian mythology we worship Laxmi and Saraswati, both of whom are women. The former is the goddess of wealth and the latter, goddess of wisdom. Therefore, I feel the learnings of wealth management are in the DNA of every woman. However, sadly since our society has evolved in a male-centric manner, wealth management is also seen as a male dominion.
Wealth is created in name of the son and not the daughter. Marriage expenses and jewellery are provided for the daughter. Thereafter it is the daughter’s husband who dutifully maintains the wife and it is often not expected that she will also need some financial freedom. Similarly, in stock broking business there are very few women, since a large capital is required to set up the business and financial assets are not created in name of the girl child.
However, involving women in family finances is important as it often turns out to be productive. Men may be good at earning money, nonetheless it does not translate to them being good many managers. Every class of financial asset requires continuous maintenance for it to stay productive and contribute to the family budget. Women on the other hand have more patience that helps them manage finances in a more calculative and better fashion. I will briefly explain how alertness increases returns on investments.
Since women are safekeepers and often better at remembering, keeping custody and track of financial investments is often their strong point. This very skill is something that women need to encash and make the most of it. And this kind of activities are possible only with little care and knowledge.
Financial planning is very important to protect the future for every family. Taking care of unforeseen circumstances like prolonged illness, permanent impairment needs planning. Many families are wiped out due to these events. We often see in movies where the woman of the house sells her jewellery in times of family emergencies. Such situations can be avoided if some funds are not only set aside but also invested wisely.
Children today have lot of aspirations and peer pressure makes them spend a lot more than what a middle-class family can afford. Making children understand about family finances is important. On the other hand, women can supplement the family income by understanding the management of financial assets. It is a silent contributor; if common sense management tactics are used to get continuous returns from financial assets it will eventually be helpful in the long run.
One needs to learn to earn. Learning about investments is very easy in this era of the World Wide Web. Thousands of sources are available, right from newspapers to magazines to finance websites and even videos exclusively dedicated to personal finance. Taking that first step towards educating oneself is important. Once you take that first step, you will realise how exciting the world of investments is.
I have been hooked on to the markets for over 35 years and no day has been dull or boring.There is something always happening, new learnings come your way all the time. Every woman can light the lamp of knowledge and Laxmi, the godess of wealth will be at your doorstep.
The author is the MD of Asit C Mehta Investment Interrmediates