Look around and you will find strong, independent, successful women like Indra Nooyi and Sheryl Sandberg featuring in various lists of “Most Powerful Women” globally and climbing the corporate ladder. Such women inspire more and more women entrepreneurs to step forward and make it big. Often, we have seen and heard industry experts speak on women and the need for being financially independent. You must also have read numerous articles and research talking about how women tend to be more financially disciplined than men. But then again, it’s almost a “fact” that they spend more on “unplanned” shopping sprees. Nothing wrong with that, but at the end of the day, do you keep track of your expenses? Are you aware of your credit card swipes? Can you cut back when you need to? Taking charge of your credit life is an important aspect of being financially independent.
Start building your credit early
Don’t wait for a big event such as buying a house or for a situation when you need funds. Chances are, you will get rejected due to an absence of ‘credit history’ or a ‘low score’. If you are earning your own income, start building your credit history by taking a credit card. Good credit behaviour will ensure that you have no credit-related problems in the future.
Understand the rules of credit
Don’t leave it to others to tell you when and which loan to take. Understand your requirements, the details of the products from the bank and take your decision accordingly. Take into consideration all factors such as the loan amount, tenure, interest rates, other fees and charges, etc.
Offers and schemes for women
Banks have from time to time introduced various schemes offering concessional interest rates for women, especially for housing loans. If you are planning to take a loan from these banks, make sure you understand the scheme in detail and all the terms and conditions. Compare this to the regular rates and check if you benefit in the long run.
Stay credit healthy
If you already have a credit facility to your name, it is important to ensure that you pay off your dues on time and show good credit behaviour. Don’t keep unnecessary credit cards. If you already have one and are planning to take another, ask yourself if you really need it. If you are planning to take an unsecured loan (such as a personal loan), take it for the right purpose and always be sure that you can repay the instalments on time. It is important to continue this so that you stay ‘credit healthy.’
Remember – plan your finances, watch your cash flows, keep your limits reasonable, track your expenses and pay your dues on time – always.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Satish Mehta is the Founder and Director of www.credexpert.in – a credit and debt counselling company that provides end to end customized counselling to individuals by handholding them through their credit life cycle.