As women, we get used to them. You are either a homemaker or a working mother. Too needy or too much of a nag. A helicopter mom or too careless. A good cook or a spa person. Too skinny or too curvy. A party girl, wonder woman, moody, feisty, hormonal or a tease.
These are just a few of the labels that women have to deal with every day. Its not surprising that some of these labels are reversed only for women and don’t apply at all to the opposite gender. Nevertheless, our concern is not the opposite gender rather it is about not letting these labels or any labels dictate who you are and how you function.
One of the labels that women get dealt is that says she doesn’t understand finances.
While, most labels don’t matter much, this is perhaps the label you need to be most concerned about. Whether you are a homemaker, a working mother or both, don’t underestimate your ability to understand financial matters. Financial matters are nothing but an understanding of budgeting, saving and growing your money. If anything, women in whichever role they play, understand this very well.
Planning the monthly household spend on groceries, utilities and entertainment is nothing but budgeting. Keeping some money aside at the start of the month for a rainy day, is nothing but saving. Now, you just need to make yourself aware about investing, if you aren’t already informed.
Letting go of fear
If you are called something often enough, you start believing that it is who you are. Women don’t get finances. We hear this all the time and more often than not from women themselves.
“I don’t understand numbers!”
Let’s say your house help doesn’t show up for 10 days out of 30 in a month and then when she does come, she asks for her salary because she is headed back to her village. If you can calculate her dues for 20 days from the agreed monthly salary, you understand numbers.
Bargaining at the vegetable vendor for a discount, shows you understand the value of budgeting.
You do understand numbers and don’t let any label make you think otherwise; it’s just fear of the unknown that makes you nervous.
Investing is simple
Still afraid that you won’t be able to understand investments? Think about gold for a minute. You buy gold today because you may need it 5-10-15 years later at your child’s wedding. Why do you do this? Because you think that the price of gold will increase over this period and you are being smart in buying today at a lower price. This is nothing but investing.
Now think about a typical lunch prepared at home. You have a table set with rice, rotis, dal, vegetable and/or yogurt and so on. Do you ever have only one dish for lunch? Only rice for lunch or only dal for lunch? No; you know that a combination of food and food types is a healthy diet and good for the family.
Apply this learning to your investments. Gold is one type of investment, but for the best wealth outcome over a long period of 10-15 years you need to add other investments too. These could be mutual funds or deposits or whatever else that works for you.
Your next step is to understand how these other investments work. Remember, you are not just defined by one label, you are many roles in one and you have the ability to add on more roles too.
Investing means using your money to earn more. This earning can come in the form of interest or capital gain. In deposits and bonds, it is in the form of interest and in equity and real estate it is in the form or increase in value or capital gain.
All for one
The first step towards any change is acceptance. Accepting that you are more than your responsibilities and more than the limits that defined labels add. All your different roles can be blended into the individual you are and the outcome of that is superior decision making.
Labels can’t define your contribution to your family. You are a mother, a wife, a caregiver, a daughter and many more things. In this multiplicity of roles that you have been managing so well, unintentionally you have built financial acumen too. Use that latent ability to ensure that household financial decision making is the most efficient; after all, thanks to your many roles you are best informed to ensure that choices around future financial goals are indeed efficient and in favour of the family.