Financial Independence for Women – Why is it important?

The emphasis on women becoming self – sufficient and reliant has been increasing by the day. While the numbers at the macro level may not be significant yet, at a micro level, many women have begun garnering an income for themselves over the last few decades, rather than depending on their partners or guardians.

However, finance, investments, stocks, shares, insurance and related terms are predominantly those that many women tend to shy away from. Blame it on the stereotypical upbringing spiced with enforced gender roles or the general bias that women don’t understand money and numbers (which is not true at all) – many of us women are conditioned to believe that managing finances are not really our cup of tea. There is an inherent belief that we need (in many cases) a male guide/mentor/partner to help us sort out our finances and investments.

It is high time that this narrative began changing. While there’s nothing wrong in depending on your loved ones for guidance, self – sufficiency and independence becomes real only when we learn to handle our finances too, as efficiently as we handle everything else in our lives. Financial Independence is a state where we not only earn but also create wealth for ourselves by handling our own finances, saving and investing wisely.

Here are a few prime reasons why Financial Independence is important for women:

  1. Women live longer than men:

The idea that we may outlive our (male) partners in the long run may seem far-fetched, but the above statement has been proven scientifically, even if the reasons are still debated and discussed.

If such a situation arises in our life, it only makes sense that we plan for it, rather than wait to find out which direction our life takes us on. At our oldest, having our own financial means rather than depending on our partner or our children for our day-to-day needs, irrespective of whether we have worked until the very end, is extremely empowering.

So, begin planning for your own retirement, independent of your spouse’s retirement plans.

  1. Prepare for exigencies like separation or a divorce:

When faced with a situation that may involve a separation or divorce, lot of women choose to compromise their happiness and stay with their partners, or are forced to depend on someone else for financial support – their dependency only transferring from one person to another.

Life can throw unexpected situations at our face. More often than not, our decisions are steered by how much financial support we are able to garner during testing times. Being prepared financially and having back up plans for self for such exigencies are the way to go.

Invest wisely, keep aside an exigency fund so that whatever happens in life, you are well equipped to take care of your selves and your loved ones if the need arises. With financial independence comes true independence.

  1. Be a part of the financial decision making at home:

Women today have the spot of prime decision makers in many households, except when it comes to financial planning. While this isn’t the case with all households, it is sadly the case with most!

Understanding finances and investments, having a hold over our own finances gives us the credibility to become a part of the overall financial planning of the household, whether married or single. Being aware of the exact details not only empowers us to make better decisions for the family, but also helps us understand where we can contribute significantly. Our partners can breathe a sigh of relief too, knowing that they have us to rely on!

  1. Freedom to live life on our own terms:

While many women have begun earning and can take care of themselves, not many think of saving and investing for their future selves. In spite of the personal commitments and responsibilities that we take up on our plates, having a secure savings for ourselves and a means for it to grow gives us the freedom to live life on our terms. Be it taking a break, deciding to travel, doing that extra degree, we’d be able to call the shots without having to depend on anyone else for financial support. That’s exactly what Financial Independence can do for us – enable us to live life on our own terms.

  1. Inspire the future generations to become Financially Independent:

Girls and boys learn the stereotypical gender roles from home, and from their neighbourhood. By becoming financially independent, not only do we secure our own future, but also inspire young girls to do the same when they grow up. They will face the world with the inclination of becoming financially self-reliant, without the pre-conceived notions of having to depend on their fathers, or brothers or spouses. To create a world of truly financial independent women, we need to start today.

  1. Contribute to the economy and enhance the Nation’s GDP:

When the women of the household begin earning, the spending power of the family is enhanced, thus making a significant contribution to the economy and the Nation’s GDP.

Also, while creating a support system for ourselves to ensure that we continue working (and earning in the process), we directly provide more employment opportunities to the cooks, house helps, nannies, creches and more to strengthen our support systems. This in turn further contributes to the economy.

A woman becoming financially independent is not only advantageous to herself and her family, but the society as a whole. Change truly lies in our hands, and this is one of the chances we get to utilize, guilt-free!

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