Nov 27 2013

Contribute to family finances, do not increase your troubles!


Indian Working Women - Contribute to family finance

Image courtesy suphakit73
/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Nowadays lot many families are double income families. Women’s contribution towards family finances is a very common thing. The extra money that comes in the family eases lives in so many ways. It also affects the quality of life – the things the family can buy, the schools children can go to, the luxurious holidays and travels that are possible.

On the other hand, the stress in double income families is many folds too. Year after year the stress keeps on increasing. One adverse, unintended side effect is the deterioration of health of the working woman as years pass by. Blame it on genes, lifestyle, one-off accidents, stress or something else. The reasons are many. Even then, it is so unfortunate to see so many talented women dragging themselves at work despite mounting health problems.

There are many reasons as to why on personal level a working woman chooses to continue to work regardless of health issues. One main reason though is financial responsibilities.

Take the case of Lata*(name changed). She proudly shouldered all financial responsibilities on 50-50 basis with her husband. Her income was sizeable and together they purchased big flat in the city. Few years down the line, she underwent a miscarriage. She did take few days off and rested well. Though externally everything seems okay now, her health has become fragile. For some or the other reason she finds herself at the doctors. The whole house comes to a standstill when she does not keep well for days. The whole routine is disturbed affecting the entire family. Yet it is important to carry on. She knows she has to get up and go the day she feels little better. She cannot think of not being able to fulfill the financial commitments she made earlier.

The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do. ” - Michael E. Porter

If you have EMIs going out of your pocket, you have to continue your work. There are no short cuts available. A little thought in planning the contributions towards family finances can make it a blessing for the family and not necessarily a future trap for the working woman herself. Even though today the desire to work is as strong as iron, it may not be the only thing needed to get you going decade after decade. There will be bumps far higher than we appreciate them to be.

Understanding your career helps in all aspects.

Smartly contributing to family finances is one important aspect. Following are some effective yet in-future-less-troublesome ways in which working women can contribute to family finances. These ways also help make the financial matters much easier for the family and bring in the comfort the extra money can.

Contribute to payments and onetime purchases

There are lot many onetime purchases and payments you can help in to shoulder the financial responsibility. Always look for these. Festive gifts to friends and relatives, Children’s fees and school material, groceries, utility bills, travel, outside food and what not. We need money every day, every hour now. Sum it all up and it is a big amount too. Contribute there.

Buying household products

“You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain”
- Miyamoto Musashi

Use your money to buy different household products. You can either do cash down payments or short term loans for 6 months to couple of years. If it is not an urgent need, you can even opt to save some amount first and reduce your loan amount. There are numerous options available now a day which help you to keep the tenure short.
If you are just starting out your family life and you need to buy many products, plan these one or two at a time. Clear the loan if any and then go for the next ones. Plan one after another.

Contribute to down payments

In the case of big purchases like car or house one person’s effort may not be sufficient. Down payments in such purchases are big amounts. You can contribute towards the down payments. This way you can contribute significantly and yet stay away from decades long tenures.

Contribute to pre-payments

In case of big purchases one more way to chip in and reduce the load is to contribute to prepayments. Many a time lending companies charge some fee if you opt for a prepayment. If you are in two minds about whether to pay this extra amount or not, weigh it against the sorry state in which you might have to slog at office for years later. It helps to be debt free as early as possible for anyone.

The most important thing to remember is to stay away from long term financial contracts. Avoid long term loans to the extent possible. This is not to avoid financial responsibility. This is to leave scope for the numerous ups and downs in a woman’s career which in turn affect the family too.

Remember there are no quick fixes when it comes to possible financial miscalculations.

Realize that financial debt for few more years to go does not give you much freedom on work front if health issues arise – during pregnancy, after childbirth etc. Lifestyle diseases also get out of hand sometimes. You have to think ten times before you can opt for change of work, transfer, a job change or a career change altogether. One may not have much choice left than to continue as it is! Find ways to contribute to family finances that do not tie you down financially for more than 2-3 years. If you are already having minor health issues to face every day, try to reduce that time period too. This sheer awareness will reduce the worry of one major aspect if in future you choose to reconsider your work options.

If you are already into long term loans, do not lose heart. Now is the time to take stock and apply this awareness. Discuss with your financial advisor and your family. Take your spouse, family into confidence. If you cannot eliminate, reduce liabilities to manageable levels. Of course it is easier said than done. Working with your spouse and/or family on this is sure tricky but not impossible. Start to slowly move things accordingly.

Contributing to family finances in the right and effective ways will not only help you but the entire family in the years to come. Having a healthier you around them will be a far greater treasure for the family!

The Dalai Lama when asked what surprised him the most about humanity, answered, “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived”

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