Its funny for a woman adviser to wonder whether men should trust women with financial decision making?
How is she making a living? I sometimes wonder too.
Only about 23% of working women and 10% of non working women participate wholly in the financial decision making of their families, according to this report.
Fortunately I have been in the 23% and God gives me the best clients any adviser could have. I have never felt discriminated.
While I was reveling in God's kindness, a Whatsapp message went viral. Most of these messages go unread (like the mails I send out). But I received it over and over again from 50 of the 73 groups I am a part of, so I read it.
It was about a young Chartered Accountant who lost her husband to a tragic accident and had to run from pillar to post to put her finances back in order.
I thought this was a manipulative message and it meant to scare the hell out of you. Or maybe a sales pitch by an insurance company.
But in the midst of a lot of drama, this message did drive home a point that made sense (like my mails too). That women should progressively involve themselves in matters of money in their families.
There is a piece of data from the GOI and others private sources that is very unnerving –
Do you even know what this means?
Assuming an average deposit size of Rs.2 lacs, almost 8 lac men (or women) worked their backs off to save up money and invest them in small and regular instalments. They dreamt of using this for their kid’s future, to buy a family asset and secure their retirement someday.
And…… like idiots, they kicked the bucket without telling anyone about it.
No one comes to claim these deposits, because no one alive is aware it exists.
I hear some men say "my wife is out of all matters related to finance. She doesn't understand all this. I will make the decisions for her as well".
If I insist that they hold the investments jointly between them, they say, "No problem, she will sign wherever I ask her to".
That to me sounds like parents who complete their kid’s home work.
Let me tell you 2 common and 1 uncommon but all 3 good reasons why you should involve your family (specially the women) when you make key financial decisions - irrespective of whether the lady of the house is employed or not, has studied accounts or arts, watches news channels or saas bahu soaps.
Every year on an average, girls score more than boys in the board exams. This I hear is not because they know more (they may), but because they take the exams differently – they think through before penning the answers, they cross check before submitting the papers and maybe they have better handwriting.
This natural inclination to be organised and meticulous can be smartly used for the benefit of the family. She is a beneficiary of the activity of wealth creation, why shouldn't she be involved?
She can give the right perspective to many decisions because she understands the impact. She is fully capable of taking on a little more responsibility with matters of money, if you let her.
This is obvious and has been established in the statistics above and in the viral Whatsapp message – loud and clear. If you can trust an insider, a family member, someone who has a stake in the wealth so created - isn’t that better than trusting an outsider or worse still trusting no one at all?
A few critical risk mitigation strategies in a good financial planning activity include - Holding assets jointly, proper nominations, planning cash flows with each other’s consultation, both partners being aware of what the assets and liabilities of the family are, and both the partners agreeing on how the assets have to be used or how the loans have to be repaid under all circumstances.
Imagine an alternate scene here - you sit with your spouse and revisit the journey you have had so far - the sandwich and tea you shared while talking for hours during your dating days. Scraping through enough for the down payment of your first home, the puja you did for your first car, settling the hospital bills when your kids were born.
And then visualize a future where you will build considerable wealth, you will use it to live a good life, you will gift your kids and grand kids generously, you will travel and see the world, pursue your interests or give back to society.
How pleasant…. Planning for this sounds to me like planning a nice, long holiday.
I know, not all conversations all the time go this route. But taking each other into confidence on something as intimate as money matters is almost romantic. And it is definitely very respectful.
I usually ask the woman to be around for our meeting. They stay involved as long as we are discussing kids, lifestyle, goals and even expenses. The moment we start talking about investment options and risks they ask 'would you like some tea?' And if I say 'that will be nice' they are gone. The tea comes but they don't.
There is a reluctance among the women to involve themselves even if the man is keen to see them involved. I would someday research this in painful detail. But I do have some interesting insights to share which I will do in my next post…
Meanwhile, what is the scene at your place? Are both of you involved in money decisions? Share your thoughts and experiences below.
If you came here through Facebook or LinkedIn, and would not like to miss my posts that may get lost in the terrific traffic these two social media sites enjoy, subscribe to my mail list here.