Amisha Vora on why women should take an active interest in personal finance
For long, women have regarded investment and finance as a responsibility for the men of the household. Some have kept away assuming that it is beyond their comprehension.
The fear of failure and subsequent rebuke is yet another reason for not taking an active interest in monetary matters.
Scratch the surface and an alternate reality emerges. Running a household has always been the woman’s prerogative.
They have been doing this generation after generation, displaying remarkable ability to beat inflation and strike the best deals with shopkeepers and vendors.
The roles traditionally assigned to men and women are no longer cast in stone. Women now pursue careers in erstwhile all-male bastions such as engineering, banking, piloting aircraft, and the armed forces. And in these times of diminishing gender disparity, acquiring new skills and knowledge doesn’t hurt.
You never know when such learning can be of help. The fear of failure is all in the mind, because, from failure comes learning and success.
Having established the reasons for women to take an active interest in personal finance and investment, here are a few tips to get you going.
Begin by taking stock of your finances. Forewarned is forearmed. Make a list of all your investments, recoverable assets, liabilities, loans, EMIs, and so forth.
Apart from determining your current net worth, this exercise will draw your attention to poorly-performing assets and to liabilities that may have been overlooked.
The next step is to set your financial goals. A goal brings clarity to the purpose and motivates you to work towards it. Target-setting must pragmatic and time-bound.
Factor in your personal and family goals such as education, travel, marriage and housing, emergencies such as medical treatment, and eventualities such as retirement.
A goal allows you to take a harder look at existing investments and bring discipline to investing. Based on your risk-taking ability, you may wish to reallocate funds to financial products that offer better returns. Or consider steady but conservative returns.
Investment and expenditure go hand in hand. Take a hard look at your expenses and eliminate wasteful expenditure. Remember the adage, a penny saved is a penny earned? It still works.
Unlike the past when the options were limited, today’s investing scenario offers a wide range of products ranging from fixed deposits and stocks to mutual funds, commodities, currencies, real estate, bonds, alternative investment funds, portfolio management services, and more.
Seek professional advice.
With the multitude of responsibilities each of us shoulders, managing your investments single-handedly can become a bit of a challenge.
A qualified investment advisor can draw your attention to opportunities you may be unaware of, and provide sound advice devoid of sentiment.
There is no loss of face in doing so. Think of an investment advisor as your financial health professional. Just as periodic health checks ensure our physical wellbeing, a review with your investment advisor at periodic intervals (say, every 3-6 months) can keep your portfolio robust and in line with your financial goals.
Such reviews lead to corrective action, where necessary. Remember that the smartest investors can err once in a while. What matters is the long-term goal you have set for yourself.
Here’s wishing you the best with investing and a Happy International Women’s Day. Take care!
Disclaimer: The views and investment tips expressed by experts on Moneycontrol.com are their own and not those of the website or its management. Moneycontrol.com advises users to check with certified experts before taking any investment decisions.