Does someone else manage your money? Here's how you can take charge
Trishna walked into a frenzied mood in her office. Almost everyone was glued to the television. The big news was that a large infrastructure company had defaulted on its interest payments (the company had borrowed money from the banks and had failed to repay), and resultantly, its shares tanked. Everyone was discussing how the fall in the share price would result in losses. Some even heaved a sigh of relief that they sold their shares a few weeks ago when reports of something amiss in their financial position started making the rounds.
She wondered if this affected her, but had no clue, as her husband took care of all their money matters. Trishna got busy with work till she got a call from her husband that their holiday fund had lost 25 per cent of its value because of the recent development. Trishna was baffled that she knew nothing of her investments and lost money. This loss got her thinking, how could she have a secure financial future when she doesn't even know her current financial position, and what measures should be taken should such a situation arise?
While women have soared ahead careerwise, many of us still lag when it comes to managing and planning finances. Do you also have a spouse or parent who currently handles all your finances? Are you contemplating owning your finances? Your money dictates the choices in your life and not knowing about your money means not being in the driving seat of your life.
Money conversations with your family members are critical. Whether it is convincing your parents that you are ready for financial independence or guarding your interests in marriage. Watch how a real-life couple's equal participation in financial planning helped them sail through tough times. In any case, it never pays to be a damsel in financial distress.
Here are some pointers on what you can do to get started in taking charge of your money.
1. Educate yourself
Taking charge of your finances cannot be an overnight exercise. There is always a learning curve involved. Become financially literate so that you are capable of handling your finances. Read regularly to understand various investment avenues - follow a few financial blogs, perhaps even take a financial management course. A good place to start is the learning modules on the Basis app.
2. Expense management
You know how much you make but do you know how much you are saving? Get involved in your expense management - discuss these with your spouse or parent. Take a hard look at your expenses. You may find unnecessary and avoidable costs, which you might realise on paying closer attention. Once you know how much you have every month to invest, you can allocate investments accordingly.
3. Access, assess and analyse
To know where you have to reach the first step is to understand where you currently stand.
Access - From net banking IDs to Demat IDs and passwords, list down all the places your money is currently invested. It can be across banks, across Demat accounts, and even across Asset Management Companies(AMCs). Vault all your IDs and passwords securely, tools for this very purpose are also available now.
Assess - If your parents or spouse have this organised, it's a plus. But if not, then get down to assessing your portfolio. Call in for bank statements for account balances and deposit balances.
Analyse - Analyse your current portfolio. Categorise your investments and ask yourself these questions - do you have diversified investments? Or do you have several overlapping investments in similar instruments?
4. Goal management
Identify your financial goals. If you are married, discuss common goals with your spouse – buying a car, a house, funding for children's education, and retirement, to name a few. But also make sure to incorporate your personal goals – travel, further education, or maybe even planning for a sabbatical or other personal aspirations. Map these with your existing investments. Goal-based investments on Basis are intrinsically linked to your life goals.
5. Investment management
Goal mapping is the crucial step to chalk out a financial roadmap, which may involve rebalancing your portfolio. Do not hesitate to consult a financial planner if you find yourself getting overwhelmed. Once you have a financial roadmap in place, set up your investments, including any standing instructions to your bank or mutual fund house.
Investments, especially long-term ones, are something we should keep track of with a knowledge-based approach rather than sentiment-driven actions, but you must not lose sight of your finances. Be current with your knowledge of the market scenario to take advantage of any lucrative investment opportunities. Any change in income, significant expenses, or goals should also be incorporated in your financial roadmap.
Earning money is one part, but managing your earned money is what can make you truly financially empowered and independent. So, ladies, roll up your sleeves and gear up to take charge of your finances!