Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you would be wealthy, think of saving as well as getting”, and in the current scenario, this is as relevant as ever. When it comes to financial planning and wealth management, many of us are clueless about it. Not because we don’t care, but because we usually have somebody doing it for us. Most often, that somebody is a husband, father or brother. When it comes to financial independence, women take the back seat, and this needs to change.
We spoke to Ms. Priyanka Bhatia, the Co-Founder and Lead Consultant of Women On Wealth. Women on Wealth is a company that imparts financial guidance and education to women and helps them start their journey towards financial freedom.
Here are the 6 golden tips that Ms. Bhatia gave us on Wealth Creation and Financial Independence for women:
The first step to gaining financial independence is having an end goal. “Women should know where exactly they want to be down the line. Only when they have some idea, will they be able to work towards it”, says Ms. Bhatia. Women need to think about what they will need money for. Will it be for retirement? For their childrens’ education and marriage? For a rainy day? Only once they know can they begin investing and diversifying, and that is very important.
Ms. Bhatia says, “Warren Buffet started investing at the age of 11 and I cannot stress on this enough. The earlier one begins, the better off they are, and the more they will have in the long run”. She advises everyone to start financial planning and investing as early as they can. Whether it’s with their pocket money or first pay cheque. Older women should not be disheartened by this either. There is no age limit to investing and even they can start at any time. Ms. Bhatia also encourages older women to inculcate the habit of saving and investing in their children from a young age.
Ms. Bhatia was very adamant (and rightfully so) on this point. She says,
In our culture, Finance has always been a male dominated field. Women are never involved in it and that needs to change. We need to be teaching our women about Financial Planning. It is ironic that we champion the cause of women empowerment, but never bother giving them the means to empower themselves. Money is vital, and I believe it is an important tool to gain empowerment. Finance is NOT a gender role, but a life skill!
Many married women are oblivious to money management and financial planning because it was their “husband’s responsibility”. Ms. Bhatia stresses on the fact that this mindset needs to change. She says, “A married woman’s financial independence is extremely important. If they aren’t earning an income, they can still save from the monthly stipend they get for household or their personal expenses”. They must have a separate and independent account in addition to their joint accounts. Ms. Bhatia recounts how she has come across many women who are either stuck in bad marriages because they have nowhere else to go and are heavily financially dependent on their husbands. “This needs to change”, she adds.
Ms. Bhatia stressed on this point a lot. She said that many married women fear starting or even taking interest in financial management because of the stigma it comes with.
Women fear being called “money minded”, “devious” and tagged as “selfish”. They fear that their families won’t take it in the right spirit and misinterpret their intentions. Some are scared of hurting their husband’s ego and having them think that they (the husbands) are being doubted or snubbed. This is a wrong mentality and women need to get past it.
In fact, Ms. Bhatia has had cases where the husband is willing to teach his wife about finances, but she refuses to learn because it isn’t her job to know it. She adds, “Women need to understand that their financial security is of prime importance, even within a marriage”
Ms. Bhatia believes that financial planning cannot be learnt overnight. She says, “The first step is learning about it, second is practising it to perfection and third is building a focused and determined attitude towards it”. She adds that financial education isn’t taught well in schools and colleges, and what is taught cannot be applied to real life. Only when women learn about finances, will they know how to deal with their money and diversify in different investment avenues. “With the right financial education, there is potential for a 100% return on investment within a few years!”
If there is anything we should take away from Ms. Bhatia’s words is that women NEED to be financially educated and independent, no matter their age or marital status.
Are you managing your wealth in the right way? Let us know in the comments.