Imagine someone like you, who have a job or engaged in business to support your family. Now think for a minute about the following questions:
•Who has all the information and knowledge related to your financial life?
•Where are your insurance policies and health cards kept?
•Who knows about the FDs and other investments that you have recently invested in?
•What are the passwords and other important details of your important accounts?
•What is your agent’s and planner’s phone number?
•Where are the details of your income tax returns?
•Where are the bank locker keys? Are they in the top shelf of the black almirah or in your office or office drawer?
•Do your children know about your work and how much you earn?
•Does your spouse know about your financial life?
•Do they have a clear picture about how you are placed financially?
NO! In all probability, you are the only one who knows.
Here are the top reasons for it:
There are many men who do not involve ladies at home in the decisions regarding insurance, investments, retirement planning, banking, budgeting, etc. On the flip side, from time immemorial, women do not take much interest in a personal finance. The same applies to Children. Parents feel a little uncomfortable telling their children these things, as they feel that the children are still young and such information will create unnecessary psychological pressure. Parents feel that children should start learning about finance applying that knowledge once they get a job and start earning and it’s not the right thing to do.
Our mind is designed to think about good situations and not dwell on situations which are uncomfortable. However, life is not always fair and sometimes that when it is too late. A lot of women never learn about banking, insurance, investments, how to get their money to grow and related topics throughout their lives. They are smart, have good jobs, are earning well, but they never learn about money. Then some day, when sadly, things go wrong – for example they lose their husband because of an accident or some other reason, apart from emotional pain, there comes a bigger pain in life, i.e. taking care of the children’s financial needs and overall finances. By then she has no idea how to invest money to ensure that children’s education is funded, her retirement is secured, etc. She suddenly finds herself in a very tough situation and has to rely on others, (relatives, friends etc.). This is not good situation. Ladies! Children! Please learn about money, even if you don’t like the thought of it…Learn the bare minimum, enough to enable you to take charge of things so that no one can take advantage of your situation.
Involve your spouse
One should involve them in every decision to be taken in one’s life. So the next time, you think about financial planning
or insurance, talk to your spouse about her needs, in case of your sudden demise. Don’t shy away, feeling that taboo in this country. You have to plan things well and understand her needs. Also while planning for retirement, take her advice and views on what your standard of living is likely to be better after retirement, what your (and her) post retirement plans are, etc. She will give you many suggestions and it will help in planning.
Teach your kids about money
Similarly, Financial Education for Children is as important as their regular education. You can start teaching your children the basics of money, so that they become more aware, more responsible and think more realistically about finance. Initially, teach them banking basics: how banks operate and what it means to earn interest on an amount. You can also buy them some games which teach investing. But one thing which can help to make one’s financial life stronger, more robust, is never paid any attention to: and that’s simplifying one’s financial life.
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak” – Hans Hofman
Create Master Document
Now, to make a simple financial life, you should create a master document, which contains all the information in it. You will have all the details that you need at one place. Store this document at a place which everyone is aware of and in reach. This would solve your problems and also act as reference material for yourself in many cases. Once you do this, you just need to make sure that you get it updated in once a year, if not more frequently. This document will contain-
• Important details of your personal life
• A list of important documents and their locations e.g. passport, driving licence, PAN card, ATM and Credit Cards, Health cards etc.
• Important instructions for your family to carry out once you are no more. For instance, the insurance claim process, steps to selling off some property, claiming the bank account, investment, etc.
• Important contact details of people like your agent, lawyer, your planner and your stock broker etc.
• A list of all your assets and liabilities
• All your investment and bank details
Each and every person has his own way of defining what’s simplicity means to him and one can have his own check list of things, which if completed, can make his financial life simple. You should make sure that you define it for yourself, using whatever takeaways are relevant to you from this article.
Make a list of things which will make your financial life simple. Your list could look like this:
Learning about personal finance
Understanding each product in your portfolio
Keeping all your documents properly
Reading blogs or articles on financial matters It can be anything.
It’s your list. Just create one!
Involving, educating and teaching your spouse and children about personal finance not only accelerate your financial life, would make even better personal relationships among your spouse and children. It leads to make life happier forever.