Just like everyone else, I was also very excited about my first salary. We all start planning beforehand that what we are going to do with our first paycheque – a gift for loved ones, watch/mobile phone, treat to our friends, saving it for future or handing over the money to our parents.
Months of hard work, energy, and excitement for the salary, I received a message which says, “Your account has been credited with amount xxxxxx.” I was on cloud nine as it was my hard work and more than that I felt financially independent and liberated.
As a woman, earning our own money makes us confident, especially when we are told or conditioned to spend the entire life doing the household chores.
THE HARSH REALITY-
Today, only 64% of women globally have access to a bank account in comparison to 71% of men. In India, however, nearly half of all the women who do have access to a bank account only use it in a limited manner or don’t even use it. This reality holds to all the women in every sector – agriculture to wealthy family offices.
Women in Indian families face a dilemma when it comes to financial independence and well-being. They have to face a harsh reality when the male breadwinner of the family dies, divorce, or any other such issues.
IMPORTANCE OF FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT
Families need to be prepared for pre-empt emergencies. If a male member of the family is only the bread earner and the women and kids are dependent on him then it is a case where one has to get worried upon.
Jobs, not all the times are secure and neither is life. The women of the family have to have knowledge about the finances and should have the skill to get a job.
The standard cost of living-
There has been a rise in the cost of living in past decades. Having a good house, sending kids to a good school and living a standard life is the goal of every men and woman.
Hence, if there are 2 breadwinners in the house it automatically leads to the standard cost of living. Women who are financially liberated not only help in everyday requirements/expenses of the house but also help to meet the financial goals of the family.
To feel independent
Once a woman starts earning she does not have to be dependent on the male member of the family.
It provides women with the benefit of making decisions on their own since they can live on their terms make mistakes and learn from them. It makes women community builders and problem solvers.
To be the role model
A woman who is financially independent is a role model to everyone – a married woman for her children who makes them realize that gender biasness does not mean anything when a woman is strong and dedicated to earning.
Through social constraints, a woman becomes weak, which results in emotional struggle. Since they are financially dependent on someone other it makes them in permanent limbo. Thus, becoming financially independent leads to personal growth as they know what is right for them, where to invest, how to save and much more.
How to manage finances during COVID-19
The present pandemic has thrown up many challenges including how best to manage finances given that many have had to take salary cuts. Here’s what one can do
One of the first things to remember is that even the slightest of things and simple decisions can make a difference when it comes to finances. This is because financial stability is necessary to avoid stress. It also gives security that one is set. To achieve this, here’s what one can do.
Spend less than you earn
The COVID-19 has thrown up many challenges and hence it is important to track how and where one spends the money. It is always easy to get swayed by the lure of the glamour around you and buy things on credit cards. But remember, this amount spent has to be repaid.
If the full amount is not paid, you will end up paying a high rate of interest putting a great strain on the monthly budget. The mantra to follow: Spend less than what you earn. Save!
To manage finances, it is necessary to sit down and make a list of the expenditures. This will help cut down unnecessary expenditure and ease financial burden especially if one has taken a salary cut. One can even save up for a rainy day. Scrutinise the expenditure and separate the needs and the wants. All the family members should be part of this exercise.
This is a fantastically useful blog post helping businesses / business owners re covid19, from Triple Bottom Line Accounting. – How To Manage Your Finances During The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic https://t.co/rnZB0eLIzE
— Dr Kevan Williams (@DrKevan) March 22, 2020
They should know that they too need to contribute and do their bit in these testing times. Some fixed expenses could be Mortgage repayments/rent, school/tuition fees, transport costs, taxes and utilities like gas, insurance, electricity, water, phone and or Internet. Then there are other costs like food bills, household goods, school books and stationery, medical fees to name a few. You have to consider these expenditures as they relate to the family’s lifestyle.
Managing money will help you to avoid falling into debt. If you have existing debt, debt settlement vs debt consolidation strategies to help manage finances. Consult debt management companies that have experience in dealing with such problems.
Create a solid savings plan
An important thing to keep in mind while managing finances is to have a savings plan. Always have a solid saving plan. You can tell whether you are spending more or less than what the earning is with good planning. You can review spending habits and plan accordingly. You should have a saving buffer for emergency purposes that has nothing to do with savings plans and financial goals.
While this exercise may appear to be old, the whole idea of spending money according to what you earn is archaic but this is a good way to avoid any debts and learn to live well within your means. This way, you can ensure that there are no financial strains and one can enjoy the money earned, however much it may be. It is simple.
“We’re in limbo here”
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 9, 2020
Spend your money only on the items that you need and not on what you want. If you want to have a specific item and the earnings do not allow you to purchase it immediately, start a little saving planning on the side and buy it when you have the money.
Now, the important question is how to invest money so that you can earn a reward on the earnings on the deposit made in any investment.
Refer to our article: https://www.sillycorners.com/want-to-invest-in-sip-heres-what-you-should-know.
Here are other things that you need to know
There are many ways to invest your money. Though there is a risk when it comes to investing if properly invested, it can yield benefits. Below are five reasons why investing is beneficial.
When you invest, there are always risks involved. But you will almost always receive at least some return on any money deposited. However, don’t take a big risk. Take a risk that your finances will allow. You can make as much as 15% on investment if you play the right risks. This is not an exact percentage. A lot depends on the market and where the money has been invested.
Reach financial stability
Since you get a certain percentage on investment, slowly one can reach financial stability that you always wanted for the family. You can save the money that you earned from this investment for a new car or even put a down payment on a house.
Or you can save it for your child’s higher education. You can put this in your retirement savings programme and earn even more on this money at the end. This money will free you from stress and you will be assured that you will be financially independent in your old age.
Another important reason to consider investing is that you can conquer inflation. Today, the economy is not doing too well. When you invest, you get a certain percentage more than the capital that you put down. In other words, you have more money in the end. This extra money will help to cover the costs that are associated with inflation. You may even end up with a little extra. This will help cover any inflation that you may have incurred.
Save on taxes
We all have to pay taxes whether we have a business, government job, or work in the private sector. Each of us needs to know how much tax must be paid at the end of the financial year. If you invest, you can receive a large number of tax benefits and rebates from the Government, reducing how much tax you pay in the end. You will not have to use the returns that you have received from your investments to pay tax when the time comes.
Own a small part of a company
Here is the best reason why one should invest – you end up owning a small part of the company. This may be less than a percentage, yet you own it. As an investor in that company, you are entitled to any profit that the business makes. In fact, the money you invest in a company helps it to grow. You are literally helping someone’s dreams to become a reality.
This will lead to success for you as well. As the company grows your investment grows and leads to your family’s financial stability. As an investor, you can teach your children how helping others benefits everyone as well. There is a sense of accomplishment here. You may, yourself not be a business owner but you can indirectly be one and contribute to the country’s economy.
But this needs careful planning. Do your research; find appropriate investment instruments. See what works for you and your family. Make your own investment portfolio, don’t copy others. This is a common trait amongst Indians. We follow what the other person has done.
This is a strict no-no. Each person has different financial goals. Do not do what the other person has done. Of course, one can take advice from family and friends.
But do what you need to do for your financial security in the long run. What you want and need may not be what the other person is aiming for. If you have never invested before, don’t wait. Start today. It can set you and your family up for the financial security that you are looking for.
PS: Mutual fund investments are subject to market risks. Read all scheme related documents carefully.
Is the present Covid-19 pandemic getting you down? Get happiness back
Almost everyone today is feeling stressed, anxious and Monday blues due to the present pandemic. Here’s how one can find peace and happiness
This last one-and-a-half year has been testing for all. Man is a social animal and to be cooped up at home and unable to meet friends and family for prolonged periods has stressed everyone out. So much so that people now find no happiness around them.
They see only sadness and unhappiness all around. However, it is important to break away from such thoughts. While it may take some time for this exercise to have an effect, it can inspire you to look for the good in life — things that are already working in your life now; this will make you appreciate what you have.
Ask yourself 11 questions; these will teach you how to find happiness once again. We let many things affect our lives and once we get sucked into the myriad problems, we forget to look at small things that make us happy.
Take the time to answer these questions and see how much you have to be thankful for during the present pandemic. Once you have the answers to these questions, it will shift your perspective by looking for what’s satisfying, instead of what is missing.
Let’s get cracking!
Who are the people I feel blessed to have?
This could be a family member, a friend, a teacher or mentor, or even someone new whom you just met but helped you. Name such people, feel the gratitude for having met them and how unique they are.
What things do I have right now that makes life comfortable?
Look around you; see what brings you comfort. This could be the simplest things like the bed you slept on, the roof above your head, the food you just ate or even a plant kept on your table. See what things have made life for you — a fast Internet connection and how you can speak with near and dear ones even though they are thousands of miles away. Concentrate on things that entertain you.
What qualities have I developed that I feel proud to have now?
This could be kindness or generosity or any other trait that people like about you. It could be your cleanliness or superb organisational skills that you are proud of. Or it could be that you are a good listener and friends are comfortable sharing stories with you. These qualities are valuable to have in these testing times but are often not given enough credit.
What experiences have I had in my life that made me feel better?
Sometimes. One goes through experiences that make you thankful for what you have; it could be a valuable lesson learnt or an insight that has made you a better person today. Recognising these will make you see these experiences in a good light and you will feel that it was a blessing in disguise. This could be past relationships that have ended but made you love yourself even more or a lost job opportunity that led you to discover where your true passion lies.
What are the things I enjoy and love doing?
Make a list of things that make you happy and excited as you do them. It could be reading a book or gardening or even cooking. It could be playing with your pet or even watching a programme on TV. It could be watching as it rains and sipping a cup of tea or coffee. These are simple but meaningful things that you can draw comfort and yet be at home and stay safe.
What desires, big or small, do I have in the past that I am already living in right now?
Sometimes, you desire something. And these have come true in your life. Concentrate on these and remember them; remember the happiness you felt when you realised this dream once it came true. It could have been cooking or art class or desire to start your own blog or go to a place you always wanted to travel to or take up a course. It could also be opening your first savings account or starting on a diet.
It could be anything that you had on your bucket list and that is now ticked off and it now gives you a feeling of accomplishment and happiness.
What unique things do I like about myself?
Look within. Look at things that — trait or ability that you like most about you. What makes you unique and who you are? It could be a laugh that others find funny or having a great memory making it easy for you to retain information. It could be your ability to make people comfortable and open up to you; it could be that you have great navigation skills that come in handy. Look for characteristics in yourself; feel proud of them once you recognise what a genius you are.
What made me smile or laugh today?
Laughter is the best medicine. Before you go to sleep try and recollect three things that made you laugh or smile today. It could be something that you came across on Insta or a post on Facebook or even a funny programme on TV or a conversation with a friend that brought a smile to your face. Or it could be the relief that the rain Gods brought with them. Notice these subtle things around you. Remember, it is the small things that bring joy on a daily basis.
What things worked out for me this week?
Instead of thinking of things that didn’t work out, look at the positives over the week. Look at how you managed to complete the work assigned to you or a compliment that you received from someone on work well done. It could be that you finally cleaned your wardrobe, something that had been pending for ages. It could be weekly cleaning of the home. Or buying groceries or even cooking a special meal for the family. You will see as you accomplish these tasks, things start to move forward.
What kind of help have I offered?
Have you helped someone this week? What good have you done for somebody? Offering help to a friend in need, assisting a co-worker on a project, giving directions to a stranger, offering food to the hungry or donating old clothes to charity can bring happiness and a feeling of accomplishment in you. Besides helping another person, you bring positive energy in you.
What do I appreciate about life in general?
This will give you a broader perspective of your life. Note things that feel good about being alive today. It can be as mundane as the sun rising every day or beating the heart. Notice the magic in your life. Feel how blessed you are that you have such a beautiful life and that you are alive to witness it firsthand.
Remember, each of the answers to the matter of the above question and is counted adding to your happiness. With time, it will be easy for you to know how to get happiness back every time you get those blues. Make it a daily habit to focus on the good that is in your life!
Want to invest in SIP? Here’s what you should know
Before one blindly invests in SIP, there is a need to know what your financial goals are and what is the mode of investing? -help you to invest a stipulated amount in a particular mutual fund scheme
There is a rule of thumb when it comes to investing. Usually, Indians go with what their friends or family recommend. But each person has different financial goals. Hence, no two investment plans can be the same. But before we start, here are some interesting facts on SIP plans.
One of the biggest difficulties in equity investing is when to invest or where to invest? While investing in a mutual fund solves the issue of where to invest, SIP plans help to overcome when to invest. Remember, SIP plans involve disciplined investing irrespective of the state of the market.
Reduces average cost
One can start investing a fixed amount regularly. Therefore, one ends up buying more units when the markets are down and less when the markets are up. If you are not comfortable with dealing with market trends, avoid lump sum investments when the markets are rising. SIP tends to average out the cost of an investment portfolio.
Power of compounding
The returns you will earn from your invested amount will be re-invested, and thus increase your principal amount. Starting an SIP will help to grow investment with the power of compounding as you invest a fixed amount.
Does not strain daily finances
A SIP plans allow us to invest very small amounts – as low as Rs. 500 a month making investing easier. SIP plans, therefore, become one of the ideal investment options for a small-time investor. If you want to accumulate savings prudently, opt for a larger SIP amount. However, one must research before starting SIP plans. If unsure, consult a financial advisor.
There are two subcategories
Active funds are actively managed. The manager picks stocks as per his choice. These are considered to be more aggressive. The fund manager, along with analysts and researchers, actively engage in research, buying and selling stocks to achieve the best possible returns. A passive fund is a type of fund in which the fund manager and his team do not actively manage stocks.
Before choosing the best mutual fund to invest in, you need to determine the financial goals, investment horizon and risk-bearing capacity. Age, income, financial commitments all add up to risk capacity.
Also, instead of focusing on the last one-year top performers, investors need to go a bit deeper to select the best mutual funds to invest in this year. This is because the funds that did well last year may not continue their performance. Assess the mutual fund performance across one, three and five-year periods.
Ask these questions:
- What is the mutual fund expense ratio?
- What is the portfolio churn rate?
- What are the portfolio composition and their underlying concentration levels?
Remember, there is no one best mutual fund to invest in which is suited for SIP. Start with any ticket size that does not burn a hole in your pocket. Choose from different types and varieties of mutual funds to choose from.
PS: Mutual fund investments are subject to market risks. Read all scheme related documents carefully.
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