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COVID-19 triggers women to take greater ownership of their money: Scripbox survey

These findings are based on Scripbox’s survey with 778 women across India.

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The last year marked by crisis and uncertainty has pushed financial matters to the forefront with women, with a majority taking control of their finances. 60 percent confirm that taking ownership of their money and financial future is the key to confidence. Consequently, women are actively getting involved in financial planning decisions and are also investing more, despite being risk averse by their self-admission.

These findings are based on Scripbox’s survey with 778 women across India. Conducted ahead of International Women’s Day, Scripbox, a leading digital wealth management platform, aims to examine aspects of financial preparedness, investment behaviours and challenges around money matters of women.

This annual survey records a clear progression in women investing more and taking greater control of their money over last year, as a result of the economic impact of the pandemic. While women continue to be avid savers, squirreling away a majority of their earnings, the percentage of those who actively invest has risen by 10 percent since last year. The COVID-19 driven economic uncertainty has fuelled an increased need among women to get involved in owning their money, where they may have earlier left these responsibilities to a male member of the family or their spouse.

Given the direct correlation between taking control of one’s finances and well-being, women are taking action by getting involved in financial decision-making. 67 percent make joint decisions with their spouse and 21 percent women say that they handle them independently. The number of women who say that they have an equal say in money matters along with their spouse has doubled since last year, from 33 percent to 67 percent in 2021. Parents have a higher say among non-metro women respondents (21 percent).

Women index heavily on real life goals. Retirement is a big theme and emerged as the #1 financial goal for women across India. Retirement (58 percent), children's education (52 percent), and creating an emergency fund (50 percent) are the top 3 financial goals among all respondents. Expectedly, among single women their #1 financial goal was to save for travel (51 percent) while for married women it was retirement (62 percent). For single women, saving up for a home was also among their top 4 financial goals.

Similar to last year, women emerge as disciplined with their savings. Nearly 60 percent women save more than 20 percent of their income every month, of whom 16 percent save more than 50 percent of their income every month. They also continue to be less risk tolerant with 56 percent women preferring fixed income products such as FDs, PPF, LIC and other tax saving schemes. Unlike last year however, women are investing more in mutual funds (36 percent in 2021 versus 27 percent in 2020) and stocks (21 percent in 2021 versus 4 percent in 2020). Investing in mutual funds is the second most preferred option, ahead of buying gold and real-estate.

Women continue to self-report lower confidence in their own financial decision-making and investment acumen. 1 out of every 2 women say they don’t have enough knowledge and are confused about financial planning. 1 out of every 5 women in non-metros (20 percent) also say that they do not have enough money to put towards their savings.

Neela Kaushik, Founder and CEO, GurgaonMoms and a Community Specialist & Columnist said, “While we still find socially ingrained gender roles and other factors undoubtedly playing a role in women not actively taking charge of their money, a special focus to empower women in this space becomes all the more critical. It self-admittedly improves confidence and only good things can come from women feeling empowered, confident and in charge. The low levels of confidence in financial matters highlight the need for advisers to help women meet their goals and build trust in their own financial literacy.”

“When people embrace systematic long-term investing, they create a greater sense of well-being which stems from the confidence of being in charge of their wealth creation journey. It’s promising to see that more women are taking the reins of their financial future creating a virtuous cycle of confidence that comes from owning their wealth. Women tend to prioritise long-term growth over immediate returns and look to achieve life goals such as retirement and children’s education. Their long-term view of wealth creation lends ideally to investing, which requires and rewards that perspective,” said Atul Shinghal, Founder and CEO, Scripbox.

Methodology: Scripbox undertook this survey in February 2021 with 778 women across India. The survey was administered on women’s communities on social media, including Gurgaon Moms. Of these, 51% belong to Gen Y (25-40 years old), 43% belong to Gen X (over 40 years) and 6% belong to Gen Z (under the age of 24 years). More than 62 percent were employed and 85% percent were married.

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