Updated: May 5, 2020
Personal finance is a beast for most of us because literacy around it is not something that is taught in schools. People mostly pick up spending, saving and budgeting habits as they grow or follow what their parents taught them. We have seen a generation above us spend frugally, invest and save up; they passed on similar traits to us. We also saw how gender played a role in deciding who gets to have a final say in economic decisions; those who brings in the moolah, got to set the rules. Gender stratification has somehow made men believe that they are better at handling personal finances and women are not despite the fact that women have been advising men where to buy gold from, how to budget for that washing machine, how much to pay the house help. However today, more women are taking charge of their family’s finances and men couldn’t be happier.
We spoke to a few men, and they all had one thing to say: Women you rock!
“Invest, save up. There are some things money can’t buy; life doesn’t run without the moolah. So why is it that people fear planning personal finances? Are women more adept at handling finances in a house?”
MOHIT SACHDEVA, 34, FRANCHISE SERVICES MANAGER,SUBWAY, GURGAON
I’ve always seen my mom working, and it’s the same case as my wife. They are financially independent so they support towards the home expenses and living style to a larger extent.
Growing up I saw my mom and dad making investment decisions together. My mom is retired now but she has keen interest in stock market, so much so that she switches on TV first thing in the morning to see trends and then by way of phone apps, keeps herself ahead of the game. She keeps calling banks and agents to make investment plans.
My wife too has keen interest in mutual funds and making investments. She is better at numbers than I am, so it helps to have a partner who can take care of financial planning. Everyone in the family must make an equal effort to contribute towards planning and understanding of personal finance, takes so much burden off my chest. I know my family will be taken care of in case of an unforeseen eventuality. Thankyou my life partner. I am 'coz you are!
HARSHIT CHATUR, 39, DIRECTOR OF
FINANCE-- NRG ENERGY
In the west, it’s normal to teach kids from a young age to earn their own money. When you earn your money, you realize it’s worth more than ever and can make decisions around it. I’m already teaching the value of earned money to my two daughters who are both toddlers right now. Growing up I’ve always seen women in my immediate and extended family working and being independent with personal finances. Although there can be a difference in being independent and being independent with personal finances. Many women even though they are successful may not contribute to their own personal financial planning.In my case, my sister has Albino, a congenital disorder which also causes her to have limited vision. Even with these physical restricting challenges, my parents always taught her the value of earning, saving and financial planning. She has two master’s degrees and is a school teacher. Having a pay cheque brings financial security and independence. I feel uncomfortable seeing women limited to just the household arena, unless it their own choice. Many women in-spite of being educated are made to believe that their primary duty is only to take care of family obligations. It’s not the right way, they need more encouragement. I urge my male counterparts to involve and encourage the women in their life to hold the reins of finance and economics too, trust them, they are far more capable of handling the moolah only slightly scared due to societal pre disposition. Let’s break the mould!
Ankur Mahajan, 33, Senior Business Consultant, AIA Insurance
We’ve been married for almost 5 years now. My wife and I have always planned our finances together at each stage of life so far. It is always better to have two brains than one especially where money matters. We are transparent in our transactions; share our financial burdens and our perspectives to handle the next financial goal. I feel having her as an equal contributor eases my daily life and helps me plan as a team rather than getting caught in a dilemma of whether I am right or wrong, all by myself. I don’t control the family money. We control it together as a team. However, I do see some men around me who like to have full control over their family finances and don’t feel the need to involve the spouse. They don’t worry about the lack of financial knowledge of their spouse. The patriarchal society in India has always encouraged men to be the lead breadwinner limiting women to focus on managing kids and family’s other needs. Men my father’s age never worried about lack of financial contribution by their spouse. Women, my mother’s age did not have complete lack of interest in finances; they wanted to contribute but could not do so because of lack of opportunity given by the family. They were not given the confidence to deal with finances.
I feel managing family is gender neutral and so are finances. Both can handle kids, can handle kitchen, manage family relations and can manage finances. Family is not meant to be led by a single pillar; rather every pillar is important to ensure the fort can face any weather. That’s my two cents!
Personal finance is not gender specific. Anyone can feel empowered and confident about their personal financial future with right attitude and education. Today, more couples are leaving the patriarchal values behind, working as a team trying to navigate through their personal finances which might seem overwhelming at first. Sorting personal finances can spark joy (Marie Kondo Style) and bring financial security. It’s not scary, if anything its liberating and highly satisfying.Go for it girl, go!
Ashwin Pande, 35, Programmer Analyst
There is no change in the way my wife manages our personal finances vs my mom. My wife is always busy with other priorities, be it taking care of the home, or managing kids’ schedules. But in my opinion women should know every single detail when it comes to personal finances. One must be prepared that when extreme situations like terminal illness arise; sharing financial info like bank passwords & investment plans is not something that gets to priority list, simply because it’s very difficult to share something at the point when you are bogged down with life saving decisions. I am forever grateful to my wife for sharing this load as well like a seasoned team player.