In India, there is a low level of financial literacy, which makes managing money difficult. The challenges faced by widowed and separated women are even greater. It is quite difficult for them to learn about money management from scratch. The financial challenges single women face, regardless of their age, should be recognized and taken into account.

According to census data from 2011, there were around 7.14 crore single women in India. The numbers have considerably risen and, as of January 2022, there are 72 million single women in India. Single women comprise women who are yet-to-be-married, divorced, separated, or widowed. 

Single women in their 20s and early 30s

We are assuming you are in the yet-to-be-married category. In the last 10 years, the number of single working women has grown exponentially, and today women are working in different sectors holding different positions. 

The first thing single women in their 20s should do is clear off debt if any. If you have an educational loan, your primary focus should be to pay it off. 

Another trend found in independent women is that when it comes to money - they live in the present. They have immediate and short-term goals. The long-term goals are out of the picture. If you have started your career recently, below are must do:

  • Emergency funds: Create an emergency fund that will provide you with a cushion during a crisis which could be a loss of a job or medical contingency. Your emergency fund should be three to six months of your monthly salary.
  • Get yourself covered: Get a health insurance and term insurance plan. If your company has a health insurance plan for you, check if it is sufficient.
  • Start investing: To ensure you don't face a challenge at a later stage, you have to start investing now.

Single women in their late 30s and 40s

These may consist of single women who might have a child or are separated. Sadly, these women learn about money management the hard way. 

If you are a single woman with a child, you not only have to take care of the present needs but also plan for the child's future. If you were working, you might not have given any thought to planning for the future – your partner may be taking care of it. Now, it has become a necessity, and you do not have the option to delay your planning. Seek help from professional advisors to help you secure your future if need be.

If you have just been separated and received lump-sum alimony, you need to be careful. Without financial knowledge, you may end up investing the money in the wrong places or not investing it at all – which is also a risk. The best thing would be to invest in a liquid fund, which can give you safe returns while managing your monthly expenses. If you are not working, you should explore the possibility of working. No matter how much money you have, it may not be sufficient to live a comfortable life forever. 

Single women in their 50s

You need a regular income source at this age as you may not want to work, especially if you are in your late 50s. You would also want to protect your wealth, and hence, you need to understand the equation between risk and reward before making any investment. 

If you don't, the best option is to consult an advisor. You cannot take any financial risks at this age. You may want to invest in an annuity plan if you have a lump sum of money to invest for guaranteed monthly income.

The money you invest in equity (if any) should not be gradually moved towards debt. Make sure that the money you invest is a calculated move. 

Overcome your money challenges

It does not matter what your age is, as a single woman, you should start planning your finances. Do not delay and leave financial planning for tomorrow. Understand that the 20s are not early to start, nor are the 50s late to start. The right time to start is now. When it comes to money, do not make emotional decisions. Do it only on your own if you understand the basics of investment.