Do Indian women deal with money differently? Monika Halan talks finances.


'Yes, Indian women deal with money differently' - says Monika Halan, consulting editor, Mint Money, and a certified financial planner. She talks about why women in India should keep their investments and balance sheets in order. She recently published a book, #LetsTalkMoney that serves as a DIY for personal finance. 

This is video-article is a part of a #HerMoney series with Monika Halan, that explores women in India and money. 

YourStory: Do Indian women deal with money differently?

Monika Halan: Indian women are conditioned to believe that there is no need to worry their pretty heads about money. 'It’s not for you, let the men handle it' - you can see it in household after household - the father, the brother, the husband and then the son manages the money.

Women are socially encouraged not to think about money, and when you think deeply about it it’s a smart thing to keep them away from family assets because if you don't know, you don't get. Women are bought into this narrative thinking that they are cute when they say that they have no head for numbers. It’s not about numbers. It’s about being financially independent and secure.

There is enough research to prove women actually make better money managers. Who runs the household? It’s mostly women. It’s a very complicated thing. I have done both, I have done home exclusively. I have worked. I have to tell you that it’s far more complicated to run a joint household than to just go to work.

If you can run this complicated thing called the Indian household, you can always manage your money. If you can run a washing machine, you can manage your money; if you can drive you; can manage your money. I am just saying that it’s no different. If you want to do it then move towards it.

"If you can run a washing machine or drive, you can manage your money"

YS: What happens when you get into a family where there is a father-in-law, and the husband and the women are not financially independent? What is she missing out on?

MH: She is missing out on the control of her own life. Suppose you are not earning and you are dependent on your husband. You will take money to spend from him. How does that work? How does that negotiation even begin for a woman who has worked? I cannot imagine myself dependent on a person to say 'Oh! I need Rs 5,000 now to buy something'. Somewhere I feel I lower my self-respect by asking for money.

"There has to be a monthly income which comes to you. I am important, I am doing something which is allowing you to go to work. Let me get paid for that." Photo: Pablo Heimplatz

So, women who are not working and are homemakers need to look at their own work with a lot of dignity. Running a household is a thankless job. Therefore, in our own head, we need to flip that around. Even if you are not working outside the home you need to give your own work that respect, and build your own assets and understand that all the assets being built must be in your own name also.

There has to be a monthly income which comes to you. It’s rude to say that you are getting paid for housework. I will look at it as income. I am important, I am doing something which is allowing you to go to work. Let me get paid for that. That’s my income.

On Wednesday read: What can husbands do for the household


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