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Women & Financial Planning

Monday, September 26, 2016
By Sonia Notani

Sonia Notani
Chief Strategy Officer, IndiaFirst Life Insurance Company Ltd.

‘Planning’ is simply bringing the future into the present, so that we can do something about it NOW

Traditionally, women have dealt more with the present – daily chores, seamlessly run households, bringing up children, ensuring homework and school discipline amongst others. Planning has been restricted to the household budget for the month. However, they have proved to be extremely adept in their budgeting with something to spare for a festive splurge. Then, why is it that women shy away from taking control of their own financial future?

In India, the percentage of women with graduation degrees has doubled from 2008 – 2014, while women’s income has increased by more than 20 percent over the period. These improvements in socioeconomic conditions have led to an increase in the number of working women, thus driving potential. This change in socio economic environment is not only restricted to the elite society, but in fact three million micro, small and medium enterprises in India today have full or partial women ownership; and women’s entrepreneurship has been growing at more than 4 -5 percent annually!

Greater financial stability and career prospects for women are allowing them to accumulate wealth and assets, creating a burning need for inculcating good financial planning into their lives!

Women need to make a realistic assessment of their potential and risk associated with their loss of income. The first step to financial planning is estimating your worth and protecting it. Women need to buy sufficient life insurance cover and health insurance cover to protect themselves and their families from unforeseen contingencies that can affect their livelihood and lifestyle.

Women need to plan for short term cash flows (eg. School fees, house repairs), medium term needs ( eg. buying a car) and long term goals (eg. child education, retirement, loan repayments etc). A combination of financial instruments support these needs ranging from liquid funds, to money back insurance plans and child plans; to name a few.

Women need to come to the forefront and dream big. There is nothing wrong in wanting a secure future and a house on your own name. It is imperative for women to plan for their retirement with equal focus as that of their present needs. Today, women are working very hard to establish themselves in all walks of life and it is important for them to provide for their own long term economic well being. Financial independence is best form of empowerment and freedom. It leads to a progressive society and a bright future for all involved.

Women need to make conscious decisions regarding their financial plans; which may range from including life cover for themselves to health care needs of their own parents and education needs of their children. While they provide for the present, women need to also prepare for the future by assuring their retirement with a secure and safe pension plan. Irrespective of age, each and every woman needs to take stock of her financial well-being and the best time to start planning… is now!

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