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Last Updated : Jan 11, 2019 08:40 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Financial planning: 3 actions that are a must for separated women

It is important to keep in mind that as per the law, you are either married or divorced. There is nothing in between

Moneycontrol Contributor @moneycontrolcom

Prathiba Girish

It is true that the basic steps behind becoming financially secure through financial planning remains more or less similar. It consists of taking stock of your situation, understanding your goals and drafting a plan which helps you travel with ease towards your goals, while taking care to minimize the effect of unforeseen incidents which can derail your plan.

That said, women who are single or are in the process of getting a divorce are in a peculiar situation which demands that their priorities be substantially different than that of a conventional family where two adults are involved. I would like to share three important actions that such women need to take to empower themselves financially.

Make a Will

When dealing with clients I have realized that the process of getting a divorce can be long drawn and one which could lead to considerable frustration & financial strain. I distinctly remember a client who had a case going on for five years when she first met me and thought that it would end soon, but it took another 3 years for the divorce to be finalised.

It is important to keep in mind that as per the law, you are either married or divorced.  There is nothing in between.  In case of a demise during the period, when you are deciding or awaiting judgement you remain a married woman in the eyes of the law. Without a will, your assets will be distributed as per the law.  In case of Hindu women, it will be split equally between the spouse and children. It is, therefore, extremely important to make a will the moment you are clear on your intentions.

Insurance

Normally life insurance is stressed on to minimize risk for the children’s future, in case of untimely death of an earning parent. In case of single women without dependents this not required. If you have children to think of and the father is taking care of their education and you both have sizeable assets which will eventually pass on to the children, the quantum of life insurance required is reduced largely. I remember a client who had a house and sizeable amount of financial assets who was evaluating a huge life insurance.  After discussing the need, we came to the conclusion that she would be better off paying the premium for increasing her health and critical illness cover.

With a spouse there is a backup plan if you were to take ill and hence have a temporary loss of income, since there is someone who can supplement or find a way to sustain. In case of a single woman, that safety net doesn’t exist.  It is therefore necessary to ensure you have adequate health cover and your family is aware of it. Again it may be very important to have a good critical illness as well as accident insurance. These take care of you in your life time if things go wrong. Lack of adequate planning in hiving off these risks could make anyone’s plan haywire but in your case this could have a disastrous effect.

Power of attorney

Let’s assume that you have done all of the above and you have sufficient liquidity to take care of yourself when you are seriously unwell.  How is anyone going to access funds from your bank? Spare a thought to this and ensure that you have a joint account with your parents/sibling for your emergency corpus and/or have a power of attorney to ensure that your funds are accessible in a situation you are not able to operate your account/investments.

Financial Planning is a customised process and for it to be effective, one cannot follow a one-size-fits-all approach. Yes, planning your investments is important and is usually the only thing which come to mind when we think of putting our finances in order. Women who are single or getting divorced need to take special care to mitigate the above risks that are unique to their situation.

The author is a certified financial planner and is the founder of Finwise Personal Finance Solutions.
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First Published on Jan 11, 2019 08:40 am
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