Women need to plan for their retirement more than men need to – because they work for a lesser period and live longer. Longevity is not always a boon – so the woman who lives longer will have to fend for a longer period. Also with women having fewer children there is no guarantee that there would be a child living till they live. It is not uncommon to see a 82 year old living all alone – as her son/ daughter has pre-deceased. All this means that a woman should have MORE money, and better money management skills than men if they have to retire well.
However they do have some major obstacles towards achieving this goal:
1. They study less: Academically women do better, but even in communities where education is important girls are NOT encouraged to study to their full potential. Do not get me wrong, they will go and do their MBBS…but then MS, MD or McH …looks difficult, because it takes too much time. ‘How can we find a boy more educated in our community’ is a question ALL GIRLS face – sad but true.
2. As a corollary of studying less, they earn less: If you assume that an average Bcom earns less than an average CA…just apply that logic across, you know why women earn less.
3. Women do not take themselves seriously: Many women say ‘Subra I am not the primary provider, my husband should do all this’. Junk. If you know this is important do this. Many men cannot think beyond current consumption. It is women who think about the larger and longer implication things. I know many men would like their wives to get more involved, but women do not. Happily it is changing – but too damn slowly.
4. Women in the US work about 12 years less than their male counter parts – In India the gap could be greater. Yes we have seen Chanda Kochhar, Shikha Sharma, Ashu Suyash, …but then these could be the exceptions.
5. Women take breaks: Whether it is a child bearing and child rearing break or a break for nursing an ailing relative it is the woman who takes the breaks. This again upsets her career…and therefore the earning cash flows.
6. ‘Cooking is a woman’s job and finance is a man’s job’: Investing myth 101 refuses to go off! ‘My dad /husband/….handles my money is an oft heard statement. Why o why? Come on women if you can run a house, you can look after your money. Honest to God, it is easier.
7. Women earn, and are money ignorant, therefore gullible: I see relationship managers in banks regularly get women to buy the worst, and most expensive insurance products. Whether it is a woman earning Rs. 400,000 investing Rs 10,000 p.m. or a woman earning 45,00,000 investing Rs.1 L pm…it is the same.
8. Not knowing where to invest, so doing nothing is a common characteristic of both men and women.
9. They love gold and treat gold consumption as gold investing. Stop fooling yourself. Gold ornaments will be of no use when you retire.
Women please realise that a lot of you will be single at some stage – not married, not marrying at all, divorced, widowed, ….etc. Not sure how many of you remember SD Burman’s wife outlived her SON RD by 15 years…Risk is when you are not prepared for such eventuality.
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