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Coffee Breaks With ISLM: 12 Reasons For Women To Be Financially Independent


Coffee Breaks With ISLM: 12 Reasons For Women To Be Financially Independent

ISLM Writer: Nivedita

It’s that time of the year, ladies. Now that I have your attention, let’s focus on finance.
Yes, a financial year has ended, giving way to the beginning of another one. Yes, this post is dedicated to Women and Finance. Let me tell you that this is the first of a series of posts on Women and Finance in general.

Let me begin with a disclaimer of sorts first. When I say financially independent, I don’t mean that each of us should work a full time, permanent job, because our choices are based on our circumstances, to an extent.

Women who have the time to work a full time job can always do so, however that may not be a good option for new moms, staying away from their families, with no one to take care of the little one. Also, this problem magnifies, if the baby finds it difficult to adjust in a crèche or a day care. So there cannot be a ‘one size fits all’ solution. Hence, financial independence could surely refer to any work that a woman can do to earn money. It could be a small business, teaching students at home, taking part time classes at institutes, freelancing, consulting and so on. And the salary/money earned could be paltry, but nevertheless, it’s your hard-earned money.

So today, let’s see why women should be financially independent. We’ll examine the pros in this post. The cons will be discussed in the next post.

Financial Independence: The Pros

1. Utilize education and skills: Majority of women today are blessed with a good formal education and the required skills to earn. Utilizing the education and kills to earn a decent income for yourself is the first step to increasing your confidence. When you earn money on the basis of your education and skills, it subtly tells you—that You CAN. This assurance is important for your self-esteem. Period. J

2. Self-confidence: Self-confidence is paramount in whatever you do in life. All transitions in a woman’s life requires her to believe in herself and it is this confidence that enables her to achieve the most difficult things in life.
Be it, migrating to a new city for higher studies, job, living alone, doing the regular tasks of cooking and taking care of yourself, remaining alert and being safe, take important decisions related to jobs, handling tough situations at work, marriage, balancing work and home, pregnancy, schooling and so on—these are just some of the difficult things in a woman’s life. It is confidence only that helps her to tide over these situations with lesser stress. Oh yes, a confident woman is admired by one and all.
Of course, this does not mean that money = confidence. But yes when you earn your first pound, it gives you a different high altogether and that’s a fact.

3. Being a busy bee: Heard of the proverb—Idle brain devil’s workshop? Our brains function best when they are put to work and what better way to use it to increase your income?

4. Role model: A self-sufficient woman becomes a role model for her near and dear ones. My paternal aunt was the Head of the Department of Nuclear Physics, in a reputed college in Kolkata (she began her career in the 70s) and to inspire me to study hard and do well, my dad always took her example. Women who have carved a niche for themselves become inspirations for many people around them.

5. Inflation and rising costs: We all have been complaining about this. However, we can tame it and realize our dreams of buying a home, providing good education to the kids and other such wishes with help of a dual income.
Let’s face the bitter reality now. All of these may or may not affect you, but who knows! (God forbid!)

6. Unstable Jobs: Recession is a reality today. We have seen the enormous joblessness in 2008-2009 and know enough about it now! In such times, a dual income helps you bring stability in your personal life.

7. Life:  There’s no tomorrow, really ladies, life is extremely uncertain to take it for granted. Sadly many of us do! Sudden deaths due to accidents, heart attack, cerebral attack cancer and divorce are some of the shocking realities that women face today. My cousin sister’s husband died suddenly due to stroke a year ago, leaving behind two little kids. He earned quite less and had paltry savings. My sister has no prior work experience, but now she has to work anyhow! According to the National Marriage Project (US), a woman’s standard of living can drop up to 27% after divorce, while a man’s standard may rise by 10%.

8. Women live longer: On an average, women outlive men, which means women need retirement or substantial savings to live a decent life and pay for increasing medical expenses. Your savings could be used for these purposes and your father/husband/brother/mother/s savings could remain intact, thus ensuring a smooth financial life.
Historically, women lose their husbands at 65, and about 25% of widows are poverty-stricken two months after their husband’s death.

9. Less paid: This is a sad and strange reality that has been acknowledged by the Hollywood actresses and I’m still looking for the reasons. This means we need to keep earning, saving religiously and aggressively for our retirement. Sad but true!
In 2008 dual-earning relationships, 65% of women worked roughly the same amount of hours as did their spouse, but only 27% of them received equal weekly earnings and 57% received less earnings than their partners.

10. Overall financial freedom and prosperity: Who doesn’t want to live a prosperous and comfortable life? And I’m sure we as women too will love it. Your income could ensure that you and your family live a comfortable and prosperous life. I know money cant buy you happiness, but sadly money helps you buy most of the things in life, and that includes food and clothes.

11. Financial literacy: It is usually noticed that though women are experts in budgeting and running the household, when it comes to taxes, most of them dislike it.
On March 31st, a colleague of mine had a deduction of 40k. I said—‘Hello, were you dreaming the whole year?’ She was clueless. Then I told her to wait for the form 16 and then e-file to claim the excess tax. She was jubilant and exclaimed—‘What can I get it back?’ I just smiled and said—‘Yes, with some interest too.’
Similarly, I advised my maid to open a Recurring Deposit of INR 100 (she earns low wages) in a nationalized bank for expenses for her children.

Earlier, I cared less about money and taxes. But I decided to take charge when I began my career, and today I not only know about finance, I can easily suggest ways to minimize taxes the smart way to others. I have reaped benefits and that’s how I paid taxes of INR 300 only this year. Happy me!

12. If you are financially independent and knowledgeable too, you can easily suggest ways of handling debts and other financial crisis to family and friends with relative ease. Also, financial independence, enables you to fulfill the wishes of your grandparents, parents, siblings and kids. Lastly, India has had enough of negative women related events. Let’s celebrate their brilliance and excellence too, in addition to their beauty!

So dear ladies, please think of ways to maximize your talent and potential. Each of us is blesses with skills and talent. Tap into it for your sake and make yourself a priority too, as it’s not a crime to love yourself. Before signing off, I’d like to cite a few examples:
  • My yoga instructor is a stay at home mom, and a Yoga expert. She takes classes thrice a day. Two batches are for women and one for kids. She charges a nominal amount but what she is giving in turn are beautiful bodies, calm minds and happiness all around.
  • A lady in my society runs a parlor at home. All of us prefer going to her for the good service she provides, clean ambience and flexi time. I call her at 8pm and I’m there at 8:40pm.
  • Another Punjabi lady in my society makes and sells yummy parathas, on order.

What do you think about these ladies and their choices? :)


  1. Thank you for sharing your views Nivedita. Looking forward to your next post :))


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