Women have made remarkable and unbelievable strides over the years, gaining and scoring professionally, politically, artistically and also proving to be on par with men where intelligence and capacity for innovation is concerned. When it comes to money, however, a small financial gap still exists. After all, although women are equally qualified, the barrier exists. There can be any number of explanations – time away from the job to spend at home and care for children or too many women in the ‘lower-salaried’ category or having ‘pink collar’ employment. Nevertheless, women are still considered by many in the World to be more in control where finances and financial planning is concerned. In spite of the financial realities, women are and can still work towards closing that Investment gap.
Being away from home a great deal, one of those rare days while I was at home, I started chatting with my maid who looked teary-eyed that particular day. In the past, she had been complaining incessantly about her son who was a no-good, irresponsible fellow. That day she confessed that he had run away from home after breaking open her safe and taking whatever he could find there. She then went on to narrate how she had taken loans to the tune of Rs.1.65 lakhs from relatives and friends to support her son’s business.
As casually as I could, I asked her how she would manage to pay off her loans as I thought the conversation that day would end with her asking me some financial help (which I was prepared to do, of course). But to my astonishment she wiped her eyes and said, “I have invested in three chits. Two are run by a trustworthy finance company in my village and one, here in the city”. “Apart from this, I have some property in my name which I had bought almost 12 years back when my husband left me. These should pay off the loan and leave me with sufficient money to take care of my old age”.
From then on, my respect and admiration grew for her. A woman, with such meagre income, not only supported herself but her family too, from whom she got nothing in return. In a world where making ends meet was difficult, she managed not only to save, but also secure her life ahead.This is how Chit Funds have been adding value to people in various walks of life. It is not only popular with women working part-time and full time but also with homemakers, domestic helps etc. Investing in chits is about the easiest and wisest option for all women may it be part-time employees, homemakers or entrepreneurs. It suits everybody irrespective of their range of earning. Chit funds always give that advantage to people to invest only what one is comfortable with, starting with even as low as Rs.2000 a month.
I have at least half a dozen women friends who always complain that when a big payment needs to be done at their children’s school during midyear (which is typically the time when it is the start of a fresh academic year), they are always short of funds. The couple accumulate all their savings and yet find a deficit. During such times, most of my women friends have availed the deficit money through chits they invested in. In fact, now most of them save through chits in such a way that they are able to get the chit money right at this time of the year. Apart from making the required one-time or that huge payment at school, the chit amount, sometimes, stretches to buying new uniforms, books and meet other miscellaneous expenses kids have at the start of the year. Apart from this, with the money in hand, they can also consider enrolling their kids in some special courses like a foreign language course or some type of art. Or they can simply use them for buying household goods. The bottom line is – Investments in Chits come in very handy for all these and more.
Re-emphasizing the fact that women have made incredible progress where intelligence and capacity for innovation is concerned. Many women have dreams of becoming Entrepreneurs’. They like the idea of being their own boss rather than working for someone else and being confined to regular working hours, thus not being able to fulfil family commitments.
For those who still want to make their dream come true, investment in chits is an excellent option. Chits can help women turn their innovative ideas and dreams into a reality and help set up their own entrepreneurship. A woman who is good in designing and tailoring can have her own garment shop where she can sell whatever new design she makes and gain recognition for her skill. A woman who makes excellent cakes can set up her own pastry shop, rather than working at a restaurant, keeping irregular hours, and where maybe, her skill is not really recognized. Those good in painting or cartooning can open an office and take up freelance work. The options are endless. The first step needed to make such dreams come true is simple – Be financially independent.
To encourage women start saving – Shanthala Chits is about to start a Rs.1 lakh group and Rs.2 lakh group in the month of March 2016 which will require an investment of Rs.4,000 and Rs.8,000 per month respectively. And more so, because Women’s Day is round the corner and it’s time for women to have more financial protection and freedom.
Let us celebrate Womanhood with joy and an essence of independence this year.
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