TomorrowMakers

These small steps can help women become the skipper of their financial voyage.

Financial activities women can undertake without any assistance

A significant aspect of women’s confidence surrounding money matters stems from a cultural narrative. Today, more and more women are empowering themselves with knowledge and taking charge of their financial decision-making. The best way to build confidence and gain financial independence is to start with the basics of financial and investment planning. 

Here are some fundamental aspects of money management, which every woman can breeze through.

1. Opening a bank account

The days of filling tedious forms, getting references from existing customers, and moving from desk to desk at a bank branch are long gone. Thanks to the digitisation of banking channels and a streamlined KYC process, opening a bank account takes just a few hours. In the case of most private banks, women can now open a new bank account from the convenience of their home.

Many banks also have accounts specifically designed for women, with features such as waiver of certain charges, preferential rates on loan products, complimentary insurance cover, offers and discounts on lifestyle products, and more.

Related: 9 Important things to keep in mind before you open a savings bank account

2. Starting fixed and recurring deposits

Making a simple fixed deposit or starting a savings plan via a recurring deposit has become very convenient. You can use the bank’s mobile app or netbanking platform to do these in just a few clicks. Some banks also have an IVR system, wherein you can make deposits on call by following simple instructions. Alternatively, if you are visiting a branch, all it takes is a signature to get your savings started. How well do you know about Fixed Deposits?

Related: Is RD your go-to investment option? These better alternatives deserve your attention too

3. Investing in mutual funds

Mutual funds are among the most potent investment tools for women. Many options are available for varying financial goals, savings budget, and risk appetites. There is a wealth of information and research material available online that helps you assess the right funds for your needs. Options range from debt, balanced, and blue chip to aggressive mid-cap and emerging business funds that can be leveraged to create your custom portfolio.

More importantly, you can invest in mutual funds online via a Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) for as little as Rs 500 monthly. Patience is a virtue women are endowed with, and coupled with a disciplined investment approach, you could compound your wealth to last long into your sunset years. 

Related: Important things to consider when investing in a Mutual Fund

4. Buying insurance

Buying health insurance is one of the fundamental pillars of financial planning to ensure you and your loved ones can get the best medical attention without depleting your savings. Depending on your needs, you could select an individual health plan or get an insurance policy for family members that covers your spouse, dependant children, parents and/ or in-laws as well. 

A higher life expectancy and generally better health parameters make insurance premiums for women cheaper. The health insurance premium expenses incurred towards self or the insured family also offer tax benefits under section 80D up to Rs 1 lakh, helping you bring your taxable income down.

Related: 5 important reasons why women need life insurance

Going the whole hog

It is estimated that women drive about 70% to 80% of all buying decision in an urban household, but may not be the ones signing on the dotted line. Putting your name out there is not only great for self-confidence, it can also have financial benefits for the family. 

For example, women tend to be cautious and responsible, exhibit a lower risk profile, and have better credit scores. This makes getting any kind of loan cheaper and easier. If the family is looking to buy a car or a house, having the woman of the house as a primary applicant can result in substantial savings on interest repayment. Entrepreneurial women also have access to various microfinance initiatives aimed at improving affordable credit and business loans.

Despite big strides, women still lag behind men in financial empowerment. It is important that you seize the opportunities available to you today so that young girls in the future can follow by example. See how financial literacy can empower women to develop a financial identity

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