Monday, April 20, 2009

Why Women are find it difficult to handle MONEY?


Women, have worked the ascending way in the professional ladder, have been the toughest cookies in board-meets and the brains behind successful entrepreneurial ventures, but
when it comes to handling the fruit of it all – MONEY — we mostly fall flat on our faces! Like the first time you might be sitting down with a bank statement and you’re just struck with a strong sense of foreboding, as if you’re getting into territories you’re not suppose to be in! And your instinctive response is ‘I can’t do this!’
Barbara Stanny, author of ‘Prince Charming Isn’t Coming’, elucidates, “Society has taught us about money by not teaching us – what psychologists call ‘learned helplessness’.” Shreejita Basu, 25 years, says, “I’ve never had to think about money while growing up. My parents always took care of it and I just took it for granted, that all my life, my finances would be looked into by someone else.” However, the problem arises when you have to take the financial reins of your life.

The numbers game…
Dr. Anjali Chhabria, consultant psychiatrist, explains, “It’s been socially and culturally accepted that women are not expected to handle money matters. More often than not, if a woman ever handles monetary issues, it is usually enforced upon her because she doesn’t have a choice.” Like Sanghamitra Ghosh, media consultant, opines, “I’m bad with numbers and neither am I interested in understanding financial decisions.” Also, money can often turn out to be a cause of friction — the evil monster — between husband and wife leading to ego hassles. So, financial responsibilities usually go into the husband’s kitty.
But one cannot deny the fact that it’s a woman who by far is the first victim of shopping. To that, Dr. Chhabria has a justification too. “Yes, women do have the impulsive streak, but so do men. Most women go on impulsive shopping, more so, because women feel they are entitled to spend. Whereas men are more conservative with money.” On a lighter note, Dr. Chhabria chides, “If women are shopaholics, men are alcoholics!”
Getting into the act…
To genuinely become smart with money — whether you are single, married or living with a partner — one needs to
get to the point where one can say with total conviction that ‘I can do it myself’. Shedding some light, Dr. Chhabria iterates, “Women, so far, had a mental block about being able to monitor money. The moment you are thrust with something, you get scared. Now of course, things are changing and women are gradually learning to accept the role of managing money.” A pre-requisite to being money-savvy is a trace of independence that emphasises the idea of not wanting to depend on anyone else, be it sibling, children, etc for monetary aid. Also, the imperative question to ask yourself is, ‘At the rate you’re going, will you be able to retire at 50 or 60, or whenever you plan to do so?’ Shanghamitra points out, “All my money-related decisions are short-term.” So, basically, a lot of women live on just dayto-day finances, thinking there will always be opportunities to plan later. But Dr. Kanika Mitra, psychiatrist, advises: “It’s recommendable to think of the worst and plan life backwards. That way, you can be prepared to tackle any situation.”
Also, today’s double income marriages and partnerships imply shared financial responsibilities, so the days of ‘leaving it all to someone to handle’ is numbered.
Women have the edge…
Dr. Mitra adds that emotions and the company you keep also deeply influence how
you manage money and what you expect from your lifestyle. And if emotional intelligence is an empowering tool, then women sure have an edge over men, as they are natural born multi-taskers. As Monisha Bhatt, 26 years, claims, “I allocate my earnings according to my needs. So I make sure that I invest accordingly and not end up spending unnecessarily.”
The trick lies in establishing a balance between must-have and good-to-have and exercising prudence in living within one’s means.
MUST KEEP IN MIND… Get information and opinions from financial experts to be smarter about choices Make use of all the special facilities offered by banks like women’s bank accounts etc. Learn to plan for long-term needs

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