Increasingly, we find women marrying in their early 30s or deciding to not marry at all – reasons could be varied and many. However, furthering career goals and achieving financial goals that they set out for themselves do top the charts. And yet we find the independent, ambitious, financially (more-than!) secure women of today nonplussed when it comes to managing their own finances.
So while we have our women climbing the corporate ladder or turning around startups, we have a good number dealing with financial stress… not necessarily stemming from “lack of finances”, but quite often from “managing finances” to ensure that they are invested not only for today but for their futures – allowing them to enjoy the same (or even better) lifestyle – independently.
More often than not, I have been part of conversations with women (single or otherwise), that revolve around: “My dad/brother does my investments; I don’t really delve into it as long as the returns are fine”; “I take care of my credit card bills, rent, shopping… but building my investment portfolio is what I’d rather leave with my CA”; “Well, I am single so why would I need insurance or protection… who needs the money after I am gone!”
I believe, women – married or single – must take on “Single” mindset when planning their finances. Of course, taking assistance from experts/advisors/family is fair, but decision-making should be yours, to help you tide over all phases of life. The objective is to be independent holistically; be accountable for your financial risks and gloat happily over your returns (and sometimes quietly regret as well!!).
Single women are at a slight disadvantage and possibly, stress over more about financial security since they do not have a spouse’s income to supplement their own. At the same time, they may have fewer people to bear financial responsibility for as well. So it kind of evens out?! Having said that, their retirement planning are theirs alone and they are solely responsible to make their dreams true – of owning a home, a car, or taking a world tour.
Let’s then quickly get to some effective (and doable) tips to manage finances to help you ease your stress!
1) Start saving early and frequently:
Your retirement age seems far away, right? But you cannot procrastinate on planning for it! You ideally, should start saving as soon as you begin earning – even if it is a small amount.
2) Be financially aware:
Be educated on basics of finance – investment options available, risk versus returns. Consult experts on the subject, speak to financial advisors, and take your own financial decisions to gain confidence. It is okay to be conservative in investing money but then that will yield reasonable returns and not a windfall! The idea is to KNOW that and make informed choices.
3) Be selfish:
You need to look after your retirement funds, your basic requirements before looking after the needs of your friends and family. It is essential that pull your own financial liabilities first before extending a helping hand to others (including parents and kids); simply because they would expect you to do so too!
4) Think Health Care:
It is a statistical fact that women live longer. So, it goes without saying that their health care needs will be higher and financial planning for the same will be needed as well.
Of course, there is one more option (if you are a fatalist!).
“Leave things to chance and hope that it will all work out well in the end.”
Yes, I was kidding there.
Single or otherwise, women must take charge of their finances – be aware, invest and reap happy returns! You are a role model to your colleagues, friends, your children… and by your own admission “not a damsel in distress” but “empowered and informed”. So be THAT.
Be your financial decision-maker. It is never too late to being financially wise.