Why society discounts the financial acumen of women

What is Financial Acumen? Let’s start with a few questions; if you are a girl, how much financial literacy do you have? do you follow markets regularly? and how vital are you in your family’s financial decision making? And for men readers, how crucial are women in your family/society when it comes to taking part in financial planning? Now let’s get into the topic.

“Give a woman a dollar, and she can put it to good use. Teach her about how money really works, and she can change the world,”Linda Davis Taylor, CEO and chairman of Clifford Swan Investment Counselors

What is Financial Acumen?

Financial acumen means you have the basic knowledge of financing you need to understand and make decisions strategically.

The lack of financial literacy can lead to a number of pitfalls. Such as accumulating debt, either through poor spending decisions or a lack of long-term preparation. This in turn can lead to poor credit, bankruptcy, housing foreclosure, or other negative consequences.

From the past…

This world has been a male dominated world, where men run the society and women follow him. Since a girl childhood is treated and trained to know household chores, stitching and crafts, dream about marriage and kids etc. Although, in case of boy childhood the parenting was different they were trained to be head of the family, take care of family in monetary terms, would go and meet outside world and knew the markets and rates.

These were societal rules from the beginning. The status of women was inferior compared to men, as education of the women was considered to be lighter way and their only job is to get married and have kids, hence there were handful of females who are well educated and when it comes to financial literacy, worldwide, 35% of men are financially literate, compared with 30% of women.

According to the Reports

The U.S. Department of Education reports that 3.8 million American adult women possess literacy skills below a “basic” level. The basic level refers to reading, writing and math skills at a third-grade level. This lack of education makes it difficult to understand bank statements, credit card agreements and other financial documents.(Source:According to U.S. Department of Education)

Due to lack of basic financial acumen and education among women, these factors restrict them to analyze the financial information properly caused poor financial planning which ultimately affects their saving & investment decisions and the wellbeing of the family as whole. Moreover, Lack of higher education among women creates problem in understanding the basic concepts of financial literacy like computation of compound interest, analysis of inflation, risk & return trade off and portfolio diversification etc.

Present

Nevertheless their condition is not improved much, they were always under the influence of their parents before marriage and their husband after marriage. Whereas some problems such as domestic violence, dowry, sex selective abortion, are still prevalent.

Women generally leave it to their spouses, fathers, brothers etc, believing them to be financial experts. Leaving all the decisions to spouse may leads to trouble they may not imagine event like widowhood, divorce, spouse’s incapacitation, etc

In addition a video by Paytm India showing how women are a step backward as compared to men in financing. Source:Financial Equality.

How one can be financial literate:

In other words a minimum basic level of financial acumen is very essential for every woman so that they can live their life according to their own choices.

  1. Use technology as tool, to track daily expenses, bill payments, budgeting where excel would be helpful and easily available. Apps like M tracker, Money control, Tax calculator, Splitwise, Digilocker etc.
  2. Know the basic about financial markets through online courses, asking experts, following news or updates. For example: Current gold rates, Current stock rates for investing in stocks or shares, Insurance policies, Interest rates, Real estate etc
  3. Set up separate savings fund for retirement and emergencies. Savings should be part of your monthly budget and include separate funds for retirement and emergencies.
  4. Have list of long term and short term financial goals. This may lead you to take steps towards big vacation, or dream home or retirement.
  5. Filing tax returns on your own
  6. Recognizing credit traps, secured versus unsecured debt, along with interest rates changes, can greatly impact your budget and credit score.
  7. Books like Rich dad poor dad, The wealthy gardener, financial freedom contains basic financial knowledge.

Other ways:

Women have enormous potential to contribute towards the growth of the economy. A financially independent women can be a great source of economic development.

  1. Educating girl from beginning, letting them know the importance of financial planning, will help them to handle financial hindrances alone.
  2. Involving them in family financial decisions and asking their opinion. If you have a working partner, try to share risks, discuss long term financial goals and invest together wisely.
  3. Recognizing government resources that provide schemes or educate women with bank rates, provident funds, tax returns.
  4. WIFE (The women’s Institute for financial education) is a non-profit organization provides guidelines on cost of living, retirement planning, taxes, divorce and widowhood.
  5. Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER), a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing long-term financial welfare for women, with a focus on retirement security.

To conclude women status has been improving these days. Now women were given freedom & right such as freedom of expression & equality as well as the right to be educated.

 

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