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Personal finance management tips for women

Last updated on: June 29, 2010 18:14 IST
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Women need to handle their finances differently from men. Mainly because of the differences in the earning patterns and priorities that women set for themselves their finances should be managed in a different manner.

The basic goals of personal finance remain the same, i.e.,

  • Ability to meet daily expenses and lead a quality life
  • Provide for emergencies and unplanned expenses and
  • Savings for life after retirement

However, the way in which men and women achieve these goals is different. While men earn money uninterruptedly throughout their working lives, women often need to take a break, especially when they have children.

Other reasons like orthodox family backgrounds, change in location after marriage, change in spouse's job location, household responsibilities etc can also require women to put their career on the back burner. We have the much debated case of Mrs. Sudha Murthy- wife of Mr. Narayana Murthy, founder of Infosys.

The couple was instrumental in building the Infosys dream. As the business started taking shape, the couple decided that one person was required to take care of their home and family. Mrs. Murthy gladly stepped aside to be the homemaker and let her husband fulfill his dream. Cases of women going abroad on a dependent visa with their husbands are not uncommon.

So, if a woman earning Rs. 50,000 per month takes a 5 year break from her job because she wants to be at home with her child, her earnings and thus savings take a hit of Rs 30 lakh (Rs 3 million). We have not yet considered any increment in her salary.

If we consider that her salary increments by 20 per cent each year, her loss of earnings will come to Rs. 44.65 lakh (Rs 4.47 million).  That's a big number. Also, when she resumes work, she may have to compromise on the job profile, position and hence salary. Therefore, the percentage of savings should be higher for women during their working life.

Besides, the life expectancy for women is higher than men. So, the amount of retirement savings for women should also be higher. Statistics show that, on an average, women live 5 years longer than men, earn 25 per cent less during their life time and work 11 years less in their careers.

Importance of having an individual personal plan separate from your spouse

It is important that women have a separate personal finance plan from her family, be her parents or her husband. With changing times the need for separate finances has increased. The rise in divorce rates is alarming. The surety of life is also lower with increase in accidents and stress related ailments. If a woman handles her own finances she is well prepared to handle money matters individually if the need arises. Knowledge of different investment avenues, savings and expenses is important to run a family. A separate personal finance portfolio will prepare a woman to face financial challenges.  Also, she will not have to bear a monetary loss in the event of a divorce.

Finance products and benefits that cater to the needs of women

There are many products that are created for women. For example, insurance companies have special policies for women. The country's banking system has several products launched for the female audiences. Our tax system also relaxes the tax bar for women. Income up to an amount of Rs 1,90,000 is not taxable for women. This limit is Rs 1,60,000 for men. Here are a few products catering to the needs of women:-

Product Name


Provider name

Jeevan Bharti Insurance policy

The policy does not lapse in the event of failure to make premium payments for a few years. It covers critical illnesses related to women

LIC of India

Smart Privilege Account

The bank offers automatic insurance coverage for critical illness related to women. The debit card linked o the account fetches discounts on certain products from Lakme Beauty Salon, Dominos etc

UTI Bank

HDFC Women's Advantage debit card

The card offers various advantages like discount on locker fees, insurance packages, free bill payment services etc


Home Loans

The bank offers low interest rates to women – 0.25 per cent lower rate than prevailing interest rate.

Punjab National Bank

A personal finance plan for women should include the following:

  •      Regular Income – even when women take a break from their careers, it is a good idea to earn income from working a few hours a day. Taking tuitions, teaching a hobby etc are common ways to earn a regular income even when one is not working full time.
  •      Keep an emergency fund. Do not touch it unless it is a real emergency.
  •      Save and invest as much as you can. Invest in 'high return' investments. Some part of the savings should go in to stocks and mutual funds as they have a high earning potential. Look for women oriented products.
  •     Time your investments for known expenses likes children's education or marriages
  •     Demarcate clear boundaries with your spouse for routine expenses. It will be easier to determine personal monthly expenses and hence monthly savings.
  •     Track your savings and investments regularly.
  •     Have a financial plan. Save as much as you can at an early age when you have limited responsibility.

Assuming you plan to save 50 per cent of your income every month and wish to invest in different investment products, you could compartmentalise your investment into various risk categories:

Life Insurance policy 1

10 per cent of savings

Life Insurance policy 2

10 per cent of savings

Health Insurance policy

5 per cent of savings

Fixed Deposits, NSCs, PF, PPF, Emergency funds

45 per cent of savings

Stocks and mutual funds

20 per cent of savings

Gold and other jewellery

10 per cent of savings

You can change the portfolio as per your risk appetite. Life Insurance is a must. However, it is advisable that you set aside the money for making premium payments even when you are not working.

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