“Oh yes! I do have a financial plan but it is mostly limited to what my accountant tells me,” says Joanna Lobo, a young urban Indian woman writing for a leading national newspaper.
While Joanna may seem content with her financial independence, she is never satisfied with the standard of life her money offers her.
According to the HDFC Life ValueNotes Life Freedom Index survey, Joanna isn’t the only one. Most urban Indian women are sceptical about their ability to live life independently.
The survey reveals that only 13% of urban women are extremely confident about the adequacy of their financial plan. However, a majority of them have a level of confidence in their plan adequacy which falls short of being 100% adequate to meet all their lifetime needs.
In Joanna’s case, she admits that it is her financial planning and management activity which is the limiting factor in her pursuit of meeting her desired standard of living.
“I think my financial plan is adequate. It has helped me save tax, create savings I can count on in case I need it,” she says, but adds, “There are times when I feel I can be a little less frugal while living but then given the rising costs of everything, it makes sense to save.”
Though most urban women may have knowledge about the financial products available, the gap between event awareness and product knowledge indicates that there is mis-alignment in their financial planning.
“My financial plan includes generous investment in mutual funds, fixed deposits and insurance, of course!” Joanna says.
But according to experts, Joanna like many others is going down the path most people fall for.
Urban women, be it from tier 1 or tier 2 cities, have a long way to go before they achieve a complete sense of adequacy and are fully confident about living their lives independently, with dignity and by meeting their desired standard of living. “My financial knowledge is weak. I do think every woman needs to have her own financial security, independent of anybody,” Joanna says hesitantly.
“But I think it is important that I improve my knowledge as I want to be able to live off what I earn, without depending on anyone. Further, It is my money and I can spend it the way I want and on what I want,” she adds.
Ms. Padalkar joined HDFC Standard Life in August 2008 after a seven year stint as Executive Vice President-Finance at WNS Global Services, an NYSE listed leading global business process outsourcing company. Vibha's key achievement during her tenure at WNS was to lead a team that successfully completed the Group's IPO on the New York Stock Exchange in a short span of six months. Prior to WNS, Vibha was with Colgate Palmolive India.View Complete Profile
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