Financial services platform, ETMONEY unveiled an investment report based on financial insights collated from its rapidly growing female user-base spanning 1300+ cities. This report debunks myths about the financial behaviour of Indian women, and can help us gain a deeper understanding of the underlying factors that have paved the way for the success of women investors in India.
With Women’s Day being celebrated this month, this report will work as a catalyst in driving women to invest and secure their future.
Santosh Navlani, COO, ETMONEY in an exclusive chat spoke on the report and how women today have become more independent when it comes to their investments.
What are the factors which impact the financial securities of working women and how do they look at the available services?
Women account for around 19.9% of the total labor force in India. The new crop of independent working Indian women no longer want to be dependent on their spouse’s income, and have a strong intent to contribute to the financial well-being of their families, and themselves. This increased awareness regarding the importance of financial independence has led to more women re-evaluating professional & personal choices with a view of their financial circumstances.
Women in general have a different outlook towards saving, it is always family first. Has that attitude now changed to financial security for self?
Long-term investing has always had a ‘family-first’ mind-set for both men and women. The specialised financial needs and goals of women weigh in while they are choosing to invest. They prefer to have their own independent source of income, while having a safety net in case of emergencies that may compromise their family’s lifestyle and aspirations. Hence, while long-term investments would remain family-centric, it’s the planning for the rainy day that we see more aware behaviour in Women than men.
What is the difference in the way a man saves as compared to a woman especially in India?
The larger contours between them remain the same – it’s always family-centric, planning for short-term, medium-term as well as long-term goals. The difference comes in how they choose products or asset classes. While women are more balanced in their approach – they will have some safer assets first like ETMONEY’s SmartDeposit, then tax-savings and after that their steady long-term investments via SIPs. Men on other hand may have more aggressive portfolios to begin with & they may leave Tax-saving on the side till last minute. We also see once women start their investing, they tend to buy Health Insurance faster than their male counterparts, maybe due to securing a cover for their maternal families than anything else.
Have financial institutions today started looking at women only schemes? What has been the response?
We believe it’s the mix of asset classes with respect to investments that can be customized to one’s life-stage, responsibilities, time horizon and risk taking ability is enough of a start than going around creating new investments products altogether. For example, due to Women’s penchant for Gold and its importance of hedging one’s portfolio due to an uncertain future, Women may invest in a Multi-Asset Mutual Fund Scheme that offers an automatic 3-in-1 product comprising Equity, Debt, Gold whereas males may prefer an active allocation management between these 3 asset classes. So it’s more about how Men & Women may choose to invest than these products being suitable or unsuitable for Women. However, when it comes to Insurance, there definitely are possibilities of creating women-only policies and there are products available in the market as we speak.
As ETMoney what are your initiatives? Let it not be just for Women’s Day but has been your approach to this whole issue?
At ETMONEY, we have always looked at simplifying the financial journey for Mobile-first Indians. Simplification is as much a need for Women as much it is for Men. However, where we differentiate and look to create value in how we offer products to different segments of the market, including Men and Women. We take an education-first approach via our content marketing initiatives through ETMONEY’s Youtube channel, our blog as well as Quora where we educate via answering real questions people have. This has been our primary initiative to expand the market & make more and more people realize the need of Investing for their long as well as short-term financial goals. Besides, we invest in Product Design continuously to bring unique way to interact with us & access financial products….be it paperless onboarding, video-based KYC, one-time set-up of standing instructions for automatic SIP payments via our EasyPay feature, not to mention an upgrade we will be introducing in next 7-10 days on Aadhaar-based standing instruction set-up where people who don’t use or never used net banking but can still set-up a mandate for automatic SIP payments as long as their bank account is linked with Aadhaar.
Has the Indian society in general now opened to women looking at making time for themselves, investing for self and her health first? Your thoughts?
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a great leveler where men of house have come to realize that they are a couple team as much as outside as much as they are inside the house. Many men may have helped in household work, pitched-in to help their children attend online classes or took turns on many other chores to have others take rest or find downtime….for the very first time. The families that have acted mature have found their balance that Women need their downtimes and time to look after their health and invest in themselves. We hope that Women investing behavior we see in ETMONEY is a reflection of the larger change of the emerging equality that is unfolding in overall lives of Women in the society than just a small change in their financial lives.