Welcome to BlueFort Financial!
In the past years, our grandmothers would meticulously plan how best to allocate money towards rations, bills and other household expenses to ensure the house runs smoothly at all times. She would also make sure she is saving enough from that little pool of money. She always had something stacked away for a rainy day. She managed this money, effortlessly day after day for years. Over the years women have been extremely confident being the CFO of their households but have had little confidence when it comes to long term financial planning & investing.
While the tide has shifted from households to boardrooms with more and more women being seen in leadership roles across sectors, let’s look at how the numbers look,
Global Labour Force Participation: The current labour force participation for women is around 47%. In India, women in labour force is just around 19.2% (As per International Labour Organisation Report, Feb 2022)
Falling Labour Participation: The female labour participation rate in the country has fallen from 30.27% in 1990 to 20.8% in 2019 as per the data from the World Bank. This steep decline in labour force participation was highest during the fast growth years between 2003-2011. This indicates the benefits of this growth were reaped more by men than by women.
Pay Gap: In 2020, women earned 84% of what men earned, according to a Pew Research Center Analysis Report. Basis this estimate, it would take an extra 42 days of work for women to earn what men did in 2020.
By the sheer gloom of these numbers, the need for better financial planning & structuring for women becomes inevitable. While women are dropping out due to various reasons like childcare, relocation, uncomfortable work hours or simply because they wish to discontinue, it has become increasingly important for women to have control of their finances today.
While the above numbers may seem grim, there’s still some good news! As per World Gold Council, Indian women hold 25,000 tonnes of gold, which is equivalent to 40% India’s nominal GDP as of 2019 and account for 11% of the world’s gold reserve! So, while Indian women have been actively investing in this physical asset over the years, the inclination & interest towards financial assets has been questionably low.
What are some of the excuses women give themselves?
Finance is complicated – Women over the years have been managing their households with limited incomes, have been investing in gold & other traditional instruments like FDs etc. So investing is not new to women. The need of the hour is to widen their horizon and learn about different asset classes to truly diversify.
Don’t earn enough– Start small but start, nevertheless. Take a cue from our grandmoms who stacked away money inside dabbas. Use a better instrument but prioritize saving & investing.
Don’t need to, as husband/father does it – While the show is primarily run by men in most households, it’s absolutely a non-negotiable for women to at least be aware of how the finances are run within the family.
Not enough time– With their careers, house chores, child care and other engagements, women often find themselves pressed for time. Spend some time reading about concepts, speak to a friend who’s financially fluent or speak to a financial advisor you trust. Women have been known to multitask, but only when it’s on their priority list.
So after you’ve received your pay-check, budgeted for your expenses and saved some portion, identify what your goals are and start by choosing the asset classes accordingly. Then detail down to the instruments you’d like within those asset classes and start investing. Why is this important?
Financial Control: It is not so much about amassing wealth equivalent to men as it is about creating your own pool which will help you during a rainy day. Whether it’s the liberty to quit a bad job, start your own business, retire early or have a prolonged maternity break, having a separate stream of income will ensure you are able to take those calls when you need to.
Emotional independence: True liberty & power comes when you aren’t depending on anyone for your money decisions. Having your own pool of investments gives you the peace of mind and the confidence to take your own decisions.
Women make fantastic investors! Because they are patient and can hold their ground till the finish line. They do not respond to knee jerk reactions and act more calmly when faced with a crisis. They have impeccable gut feeling and know when something feels off (whether it’s a person or a company).
In 1929, Virginia Woolf wrote, “A woman must have money and a room of one’s own if she is to write fiction.” While we have come a long way from there, right from Hindu daughters getting the right to inherit self-acquired property of the father, to women making their own money, we are still not there yet. For all the women who are pursuing what their hearts are into, who are working hard towards creating a better household, community and hence a better world, please take this time to appreciate your journey and create this safety net for your own selves, first.
Ignite your feminine spark and like they say, start investing like a woman!