Don’t be a damsel in financial distress
Updated: Mar 10, 2020
“Hey Dipika, let me give you some blank cheques, please handle my money?”
“Can you transfer some amount to my bank account for an emergency?”
“Can you invest my money for me, I don’t know how to do it?” “I have no time to manage my money, can you just take care of it?”
Let’s assume this was my husband asking me these questions. While this sounds like it should make me feel very powerful, it reads red with signs of financial imbalance in the relationship.
In some of our realities, as women, we are not in charge of financial decision-making. This can happen either on account of our own acceptance of circumstance, saying “I don’t know”, or being raised in an environment where we are accustomed to not being in charge of our money.
As a community, women are stepping out to make powerful choices these days, choosing to stay single, choosing to get married “late”, and choosing to walk out of bad marriages. However, all of these decisions need to be backed by one thing: financial security.
Not too long ago, I was speaking with someone who mentioned, in a casual manner, that until the age of 28, she had never operated her own bank account. Being a working adult, her parents handled access to her bank account and she was given “pocket money” to spend.
While this may not seem like a big deal in the short term., an adult with no knowledge of handing her bank account can be risking a lot, especially in the case of unexpected life events.
“Dad, can you manage my money?” is a fair ask, but honey, it’s time to learn to manage your own money.
A lot has changed in the last decade. We’re now making payments online. Investing doesn’t need a trip to the bank anymore and loans are available at the tap of a button. Things don’t look the same when it comes to investment options either, investments that paid high returns 10 years ago, don’t do so now. Which means we might need to take that extra effort to educate ourselves on our wealth-building options.
If you aren’t making your own financial decisions, then they are as good (or bad) as the knowledge of the person making them for you. A point to ponder: whoever you are turning to for help has likely taught themselves about investing and there is no reason you cannot do the same!
So, don’t accept the status quo, and stop saying “I don’t know”!It truly only takes a few steps to equip yourself with basic financial hygiene, knowledge and practice:
1. Put aside some amount of money for yourself every month:
I say “some” and don’t define an amount, because I cannot define an amount for you and I am no fan of formulas. If you were to ask me, write down an amount that you think might come in use for an emergency, let’s say that amount is ₹ 30,000 and work backwards to see what changes you need to make to get to that ₹ 30,000. Make changes in your life that you lead you to ensure that you have built that fund for yourself.
2. Learn Learn Learn:
We’re in times where you don’t necessarily have to pay to learn concepts of financial independence, talk about money more, ask questions, read about money and participate in sensible conversations. On the Basis app, we have bite-sized learning modules on investing concepts, regular updates on information that will impact your investments and a community where you can interact with other like-minded women to solve all money-woes together. Start with the basic learning modules on the app, and I promise, it will change the way you manage your money today.
3. Know how to access your money:
Is it your first instinct to ask someone else to handle your money? Do you depend upon a bank official or agent to keep track of your investments and payment dates? Whether you open a bank account or invest for tax savings, find out all about it from end to end. What returns to expect from an investment, are there any fees involved in investing? Is there a penalty on withdrawal? What are the risks? Know the answers, ask the right questions.
To start with, a simple Excel sheet can help you keep track of all your investments, their investment dates, maturity dates, nominee details etc.
4. Digital economy:
Most of us now use digital payment tools, however, let’s use them sensibly. It’s now possible to walk out of your home with only your mobile phone and manage to shop for anything from vegetables to laptops. But sometimes such expenditure can be ‘invisible’.
I personally keep a limited amount of money in my bank, mostly just expenses for that month. This holds me back from purchases that are impulsive and not important.
5. Don’t let your relationship status define your relationship with money:
You need to establish a good relationship with your money. The one column I mentally keep checked is financial security. This didn’t change when I got married. Your individual needs and goals as a person do not go away because you are in a relationship. I urge you to have open money talks with your significant other.
Did you know that women have a better approach to investing? And whatever aspect you don’t already know can be learnt or discussed. In the end, the one person who is best to deal with your money is you.
Your money is your business. Download the Basis app to get started and live life on your terms.