How to embrace financial independence: Being Women
Small steps make a big difference
Women are increasingly embracing financial literacy and independence with zeal and eagerness. We see that most of us have the utmost freedom to access resources and we have a strong support system backing us. But this is not the story for the majority of women as several barriers limit women their access to and use of financial services.
In this article, we will enlist simple tips on how you as a woman can embrace your financial independence.
Opening a bank account is a sine qua non
Having a personal bank account as soon as the age permits are essential to gain financial independence. The Government of India also realized how important opening a bank account is for the whole economy and the progress of society so they came up with — Jana Dhan Yojna.
Jana Dhan Yojana- which brought around 43 crore people under the formal banking system in India, of which more than half of the beneficiaries are women!
Financial empowerment at the household level
We cannot deny the positive impact financial security has on a person’s emotional wellbeing. So we have to stay cautious and filter out things that could weaken the foundation of financial empowerment.
Let us look at an example that may weaken the foundation of financial empowerment at the household level-
Opening Joint bank accounts: particularly in the case of women and minors are commonplace. But what happens is -these accounts are continued even after the minors turn 18. Although this may not suggest malicious intent on the part of family members, we see that young- adults and women are held accountable for even minor expenses.
This micromanaging by family members is not helpful as it can weaken the foundation of financial empowerment.
Digital literacy and financial literacy go hand in hand
Our country along with the changing world is embracing digitization. Banking and the way the finance world operates have changed drastically. It has become easier to make payments, apply for loans sitting in the comfort of our homes.
But studies suggest that there is a huge digital gender divide. Women are less likely to know how to operate a mobile phone, use social media or avail financial services online.
Gender digital divide is defined as gender biases in technology products, the technology sector, and digital skills education.
Although there is an assumption that the gap will disappear by itself as digital technology becomes more widely and easily available, the reality is men and women engage differently with the digital world. The social norms which hold women back will not loosen the grip on their own.
Small steps make a big difference
Every individual be it a boy or a girl should be taught how they can be financially independent. Education and training related to finances are a necessity. It should not be postponed to a time in the future when you reach adulthood. You can start early on!
One small step through which the habit of goal-setting, managing finances can be instilled is — by having an open conversation about managing savings and expenses with family members.
Have an open conversation about money goals
Women find it difficult to share and discuss their financial goals with their families because they are still considered “secondary” in financial matters. So it is imperative for family members to encourage and support women in the family.
Everyone including minors can be invited to observe conversations that are related to setting financial goals with family members.
Prioritize financial independence
It is important for women to prioritize financial independence early on in her life. Earning should be a top priority on the financial to-do list.
Studies suggest that women who are not able to/allowed to earn an income find it harder to leave an abusive marriage.
Achieving financial stability should not be an obligation of the “men in the family”. Everyone (including women) according to their capacity should strive for that.
Income and budgeting
With the rising inflation of commodities, and the growing list of “must-haves”, securing and growing personal income have become the need of the hour.
When the payment is secured next thing which needs attention is budgeting.
Budgeting helps you to keep track of your income, expenses, savings, and investing.
Credit is one of the pillars on which the modern economy stands. Having access to credit will allow you to pay for your college, your home, your mobile phone, and your dream car.
Earning and maintaining a good credit score is important as lenders will look for your credit score and then determine your eligibility.
Women constitute around half the world’s population and their participation and contribution in the advancement of the economy is a must. If we want our nation to grow and if we want our society to prosper we will have to take steps to empower and encourage women to gain financial independence.
“Define success in your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.” -Anne Sweeney