Mr. and Mrs. Sharma are senior citizens leading a peaceful retired life. Their children are all well settled with families of their own. Mr. Sharma, being a Chartered Accountant takes full care of the family’s finances. Then, all of a sudden he passes away after a brief illness. This leaves Mrs. Sharma in a very difficult situation. Not only does she have to deal with the emotional trauma of losing her life partner at this stage of life, she also has to deal with all their investments and finances. Mr. Sharma being an investment savvy person, has a diversified portfolio consisting of stocks, Mutual Funds, Pension Plans, Insurance, Bonds etc. Knowing her husband to be professionally more qualified, Mrs. Sharma left all the investment decisions to her husband and now has no clue how to go about handling these herself.
Such situations are not uncommon in occurrence. Most of us would have seen it happening to either our friends, acquaintances, relatives and few of us would have even gone through it personally.
Isn’t it ironical that women today are educated and handle almost all the day to day finances of the family including paying the regular household bills, kids’ school fees and other household expenses ; yet very few of them participate in the key investment decisions or are even aware of them ?
Why this happens –
Finance and investments in India traditionally has been a male dominated field. Men still prefer to take the major investment decisions themselves, either because they feel the woman will not understand, or they do not want to burden their spouses who already have their hands full taking care of the house and children. Sometimes, this is also supported by the woman who is more than happy to let her husband handle it.
To stress upon the need for women to be in the know of the families’ finances, here are some statistics:
- Women live longer than men. One out of every four women are on their own by the age of 65, either by widowhood or legal separation from their spouses.
- Eight out of every ten women are forced to manage their own finances at some point in their lives.
- Women are either home makers or they earn less that their husbands and have to rely on their husbands’ pension or their children during their retirement years.
- Women face equal risk of health related illnesses as men, which have to be provided for.
What should be done –
Apart from taking active interest in the families’ investment decisions, women should save a small sum regularly every month from their monthly surplus in a disciplined manner. This applies as much for home makers as it does for working women. This helps them create a nest egg for themselves and secure their financial future.
In conclusion , a happy and successful marriage is one where the husband and wife work together as a team in perfect co-ordination sharing all the responsibilities and jointly taking all decisions right from going on a holiday to raising their children . The same should hold true for the investment decisions too, right ?