Personal finance is a crucial aspect of one’s life, and it affects everyone differently. However, women face unique financial challenges that require a different approach to managing their finances than men. In India, women have traditionally been subjected to systemic barriers in accessing financial resources, which has made their financial journey more challenging. We will discuss the ways personal finance differs for women in India, including detailed examples and comparisons to traditional personal finance tips.
The first significant challenge that women face in personal finance is income disparities. Women in India earn 19% less than their male counterparts for the same job, and only 22% of working-age women are in the workforce. This gender pay gap can have a considerable impact on women’s financial security and stability, especially for single or divorced women. Women need to consider their earning potential when creating a financial plan, which may require them to be more frugal or pursue alternative sources of income.
Moreover, women’s career paths often involve more breaks for childbirth or taking care of family members, which results in lower long-term earnings. It is essential to consider this aspect while creating a financial plan for the future. Women should plan their investments and savings according to their earning potential and career path. For instance, they may choose to invest in high-yield savings accounts or fixed deposits, which provide a more stable return on investment.
Saving for Retirement
Retirement planning is another significant financial challenge for women in India. Women have a longer life expectancy than men, and they tend to outlive their partners, which means they need to save more for retirement. Also, women save for their children’s future needs too. However, due to the gender pay gap and career breaks, women often have lower retirement savings than men. Therefore, it is crucial to start planning for retirement as early as possible.
Women should aim to save at least 10% to 15% of their income for retirement. They can choose from a variety of retirement plans such as National Pension Scheme (NPS), Public Provident Fund (PPF), and Employee Provident Fund (EPF). Moreover, women should also consider investing in mutual funds, which offer better returns on investment in the long run. Women should also be aware of the tax implications of their retirement savings and plan accordingly. Women get several schemes from Government which are specifically targeted to women and girl-child welfare, and women need to take maximum advantage of such schemes.
Insurance and Health Care
Women in India face unique health care challenges, which can have significant financial implications. Women often have higher healthcare expenses than men due to gender-specific health issues such as pregnancy and childbirth. However, most insurance policies in India do not cover these expenses adequately, and women may have to pay out of pocket for medical expenses.
Therefore, it is essential to have adequate health insurance coverage for women. Women can opt for health insurance plans that cover maternity and childbirth expenses. Moreover, they should also consider critical illness insurance, which covers the expenses of specific diseases such as breast cancer and cervical cancer. Women should also invest in life insurance to provide financial security to their dependents in case of an unfortunate event.
Debt management is another crucial aspect of personal finance that women should pay attention to. Women may sometimes have higher levels of debt than men, primarily due to family debt or their unique situation. This debt can have a significant impact on their financial stability and ability to save for the future. Women should aim to pay off their debts as soon as possible to reduce their financial burden. They should prioritize high-interest debts such as credit card debt and personal loans. Moreover, women should avoid taking on unnecessary debt and be careful while taking out loans. They should ensure that they can afford the monthly payments and interest rates before taking on any debt.
Investing in Assets
Finally, women in India should aim to invest in assets that provide long-term financial security. Assets such as real estate, stocks, and gold can provide a stable source of income and capital appreciation over time . However, many women in India are hesitant to invest in these assets due to cultural and social barriers. It is crucial to break these barriers and encourage women to invest in assets that can provide long-term financial security.
Real estate is an excellent investment option for women in India, as property prices tend to appreciate over time. Women can invest in a home or a rental property, which can provide a source of passive income in the long run. Some state governments allow for a lower sales-deed registration charge for women property purchasers. Moreover, they can also invest in stocks and mutual funds, which provide a higher return on investment than traditional savings accounts.
Gold is also a popular investment option for women in India, as it is considered a safe-haven asset. Women can invest in gold through exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which track the price of gold and provide a stable return on investment. Traditionally, gold has been utilized both as a long term asset for security as well as for jewelry. Gold also has been a good hedge against inflation or rupee depreciation against US Dollars, as its prices are tied to USD in international markets
In summary, personal finance differs for women in India due to various socio-economic factors. Women face unique financial challenges, including income disparities, saving for retirement, health care expenses, debt management, and investing in assets. To address these challenges, women need to plan their finances carefully, considering their earning potential, career path, and family responsibilities. Moreover, they should be aware of the various investment options available to them, such as real estate, stocks, and gold, and aim to invest in assets that provide long-term financial security. By taking a proactive approach to personal finance, women in India can achieve financial independence and security.