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Simply Save Podcast | Financial independence for women is the need of the hour: Family lawyer Mrunalini Deshmukh

It is important for women to have separate savings and investment accounts over which they have exclusive control

March 03, 2022 / 08:18 AM IST

Allowing spouse to take complete charge of their investment decisions figures among the key money mistakes that women make.

Financial planners say that despite being diligent savers, women tend to let the male members of their families take calls on how the family’s savings should be invested. And, this is a mistake even women who draw income and are financially-aware tend to make. This can prove to be a costly mistake in future in case the marriage heads towards a breakdown.

Also read: Do not leave joint finances to your husband. It is your money too

Financial disputes are often the cause of marital crises, irrespective of whether the woman is an earning member or a home-maker. “When the wife is a home-maker, she may not be drawing a salary, but she is looking after the house and taking care of the children. If the husband is the sole earning member, (this status) makes him a controlling person. In extreme cases, the wife (even if she is earning) trusts the husband to do all the financial dealings for her,” says Mumbai-based senior family lawyer Mrunalini Deshmukh who has handled several high-profile separation cases. Marriages are based on trust and can suffer a blow due to financial decisions that may seem unfair to one of the partners.

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Therefore, women, besides contributing to family’s expenses and future goals, should have separate investment accounts too. You can, after a healthy discussion with your spouse, decide the proportion of your income that would be directed towards family’s needs and the portion that would flow into your own accounts. “Financial independence for women is the need of the hour. You must be able to at least survive on your own. Trust between husband and wife is important, but that should not stop you from having a separate investment account over which you have exclusive control,” she says. This will not only prevent disputes at the time of divorce should such a situation arise, but also help maintain harmony during marriage.

Also read: Dear lady, be aware of your legal inheritance rights

Independent accounts are also a must for home-makers. “Just because she is not paid does not mean she should be financially insecure. She invests her time and energy for the family’s well-being. She needs her own finances,” adds Deshmukh.

Besides investing for yourself and family, you should also ensure that you have a Will in place, even if you are young. “Under the Hindu Succession  Act, for example, if the husband dies intestate, then his mother, wife and children – all are equal claimants to the his assets. If the woman dies, it’s vice-versa. It is advisable for both parties to ensure that they have a Will,” she says. This will ensure that your assets are transferred only to beneficiaries of your choice and not to other family members.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Mar 3, 2022 08:18 am
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