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Irrespective of whether you are a grandparent, parent, or a married or single woman - here's why every woman should have an emergency fund.
Keep financial troubles at bay, with an emergency fund! So how to create an emergency fund, then?
International Women’s Day is often a time for soul-searching as we reflect upon the joys and challenges of being a woman. While societal and cultural challenges are an uphill battle, financial challenges that women often face can be addressed with a little bit of caution and planning. Here is a guide on how you can build your emergency fund, one bank deposit at a time!
One of my earliest memories is of my grandmother putting away money in a gullak or an earthen pot. These would often be loose change from vegetable shopping or money saved from a relative coming over. In some form or shape, women have always relied on pin money or micro-savings.
Whether you are a working woman with a regular salary, a homemaker, part of a committee or social self-help group, or a businesswoman with uncertain cash flows, the importance of an emergency fund cannot be stated enough.
Having an emergency fund can gie you peace of mind, allow you to manage unexpected surprises, and ensure that you are not dependent on anyone to help you. Even if you never need the emergency fund, the same money can be converted to fund your other needs.
Women tend to form the bulk of the unorganized work force and hence emergency funds are a safe haven for any crisis.
In situations that are monetary crises, women are harder hit. Be it demonetization (think how men queued up outside banks to exchange the bulk of the family’s income) or escaping an abusive marriage. Traditionally too, at the time of marriage women are given assets that need time to be converted to cash (eg: jewelry, appliances, expensive clothes).
While urban women can rely on banking services, rural women often have only self help groups to organize their infrequent savings. For women with disabilities or queer women – often social burdens (such as travelling or finding safe housing) can be offset to some extent with an emergency fund.
Most financial planning advice guides us to save six months of salary as an emergency fund. However, this is not always a good idea.
We should think a little more deeply about emergency funds. As women, your emergency stash can help you move out of a bad domestic situation, escape a toxic work environment or even fund a small side project you wanted to set up.
Here is what you could keep in mind.
You should always be saving irrespective of a goal or not. Needs arise, be it having to replace an appliance or book last-minute flights for the family on the event of the death of a closed one. Saving with the mindset of future spending undeprepares us for emergencies. Always put money away. Be it the loose change in your purse, a SIP into a mutual fund or a recurring deposit.
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Ayushi Mona co-leads Broke Bibliophiles Bombay Chapter, India's first offline reader driven community. She is a poet and writer who evangelizes Indian writing in English at the India Booked podcast and has also read more...
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