When Kshitija asked me to write my thoughts about women investors in India, I knew immediately what I didn’t want this piece to be about – A man versus a woman thing.
Investing or being involved in the process of investing is an individual decision. I know a lot of men who leave important financial decisions to their wives as I know many women who do the same.
When I was younger, I thought that money was one of the most important things in life. As I grow older, I know it is. My relationship with money has not been a smooth one. In my twenties, I treated money like a typical mother-in-law (I had a really sweet one though 🙂 ), doing what I needed to do to keep the relationship at a working level.
In my early thirties, I gained confidence to speak my mind and be myself around it. Money has now more or less turned into a best friend. I have learned to invest of myself in it, nurtured it, and watched it grow. Like any relationship, it has its moments. In the process, I have also learned to fight for it.
I have also used all the sources at my disposal – online money-management tools and calculators, articles on financial products and industry jargon, and financial advisors who care enough to understand my needs.
The 2011 census data paints a pretty dismal picture though. Just 26% of women in India say they have control over what they do with their money and where it is invested. Almost voluntarily or not so voluntarily, women in India have historically outsourced that job to the men in their lives, typically husbands, fathers and sons because of traditional societal attitudes.
My head hit the desk. I really believed the figures would be higher. What is it with women and financial literacy?
My own interpretation of this question has been that women “think” it’s a man’s job to provide them the money. Even in the case of a working woman, she will typically hand over all her money to a male member of her family. They often don’t understand the financial jargon and as long as the “job” is being done, they don’t care to know the specifics.
That being the case in most case, it’s interesting to note that the women who do work on being financially independent, do pretty well for themselves.
That’s why you need to remember this, ladies, any person, man or woman, is accountable for his or her own financial future. Take ownership and feel empowered.
Rakhee Prabhudesai is our esteemed client and our association is from the last ten years. Together we have witnessed ups & downs of personal finance cycles. She is independent decision maker and we are proud to have associated for the long time.