WOMEN EALTH ELLNESS
...was the focus of the financial planning workshop, which urged them to take stock, plan and invest
On an average, women outlive men by at least three years. This was the first piece of information shared at the financial planning workshop by I Thought Financial Consulting exclusively for women. Setting the context for the rest of the eye-opening session, the company’s financial planner, Samyuktha Vibhu, and investment strategist, Rashmika D Prasad, spoke about the need for women to take ownership of their finances and be aware of their investment options because at some point they would have to be responsible for their own finances. There is also the fact that men tend to stay longer in the workforce than women which means women live longer with lesser time to earn to sustain themselves after retirement. A study conducted by a financial advisory firm found that women earned 0.4% higher returns than their male counterparts when they understood how to go about investing. In an Indian context too, most women leave the responsibility of handling the finances to their husband, father or brother. The common perception is that men deal with money better. However, it has been found that women are more disciplined investors and that once they start, they are more diligent about their investments than men. The advisors at the firm also admitted that they had noticed numerous times that women tend to have a positive impact on investment decisions made by their partners. Yet, women often hesitate to take ownership of their finances because they either do not have enough knowledge or don’t get the time. Further, there is also the added concern in cases where they are homemakers and feel it is not their money and so they do not have the authority to take those decisions. There is also a looming fear of making a mistake that compels them to hand over the responsibility of their finances on someone else. The workshop strongly advocated for women to educate themselves more by taking stock of their actions, understanding their aspirations, planning and setting goals, preferably with the help of an advisor who could understand their needs and risk appetite better to be able to guide them. The advisors emphasised the importance of planning as a tool that helps to review cash flow, assess one’s net worth, optimise tax benefits all the while managing risks and helping to meet financial commitments and aspirations.