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Female Finance

Traditionally, it has been considered a man’s job to look after his family’s financial situation. As society progresses, however, we look at why it is crucial for a woman to mind her money.

We’ve all heard the stereotypes, read the stories or looked at the way our parents did it. Back in the day, it was a fairly universal truth that the man was the head of the family and was, in turn, responsible for looking after the financial interests.

These days, however, every family’s situation is entirely different from the next. Some have a one parent living situation, others have moved in with relatives of a different generation. Some families are childless, in others it is the man who stays home while the woman goes out to work, or both parents have a job. In the most tragic circumstances, a death or illness rocks even the most solid of foundations.

It is for this reason that it is becoming more and more imperative for women to learn how to look after their own or their family’s finances. This doesn’t mean she should necessarily take on full responsibility for it, but it does mean that she can feel fully equipped to deal with whatever fate or fortune befalls her.
 
There are many ways to approach money. There are savings plans with good interest rates, pension packages and investment portfolios — all of which present different ways of shoring up some money for the future. With many different plans to choose between, Woman This Month has had a look at some of the best that the Kingdom has to offer women, in the hope that it will help you find one that best suits you.

Citibank
What: Citibank offers a number of different packages, but where they really excel is in their education plans. Arguably a mother’s biggest concern is that their child’s education will be provided for. The Alico Income Builder Plan is a savings account which is designed to guarantee regular income to pay for your child’s anticipated educational expenses. There is also an additional insurance option, which can help to guarantee that sufficient funds are still available to your child in the unfortunate event of a death.

For women looking to secure their own financial future, there are a couple of good pension and wealth accumulation plans too. The Alico Income for Life option is a pension plan with a fixed premium paying term of only five years, but which guarantees an income for at least 20 years. There is also the Alico Super Saver which is more versatile and allows you a choice of investment options.

Where: They have branches in Government Road, Manama, Seef district near Al Aali Mall and there is nbso a new branch in the Lagoon at Amwaj.
Contact: 17 582-484

National Bank of Bahrain
What: NBB’s strengths lie in their investment portfolios. As they state: “NBB is selective about choosing the right investment product for its clients and is always focused on preserving capital and delivering risk-adjusted returns.” They understand that every client is different and so can explain and tailor a specific portfolio to suit each client’s needs. What is more, they have excellent relationships with international institutions, such as JP Morgan and UBS, who regularly manage and structure investment products.

The best way to organise a plan to suit you would be to head down to a branch and consult one of their advisors.

Our word of advice, though, is never invest in anything that you do not understand. If the consultant cannot explain it to you clearly enough for you to know exactly where your money is going, why and what the risks are, then don’t make the investment.

Where: They have branches on Government Avenue, Al Aali, Isa Town, Hidd, and Busaiteen.
Contact: 17 228-800

Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait
What: The BBK savings account is simple and easy to use. This is one of the more straight forward ways to invest money for yourself. You simply deposit it in the account regularly, try not to take any out unless you have to and watch as the interest rate allows you to accumulate a bit more money than you put in.

The good thing about the BBK savings account is that it allows you to have a debit card which is internationally accepted. This will mean you have easy access to your money wherever you are. However, for some women, the ease with which they can withdraw and spend money will be a drawback, so if you are prone to frivolous shopping sprees, this may not be the account for you.

Where: They have branches in Hamad Town, central Manama, the Diplomatic Area, Adliya, Budaiya, Muharraq and elsewhere.
Contact: 17 207-777

Bahraini Saudi Bank
What: Bahraini Saudi offers something a little different for those needing to make a big purchase, such as a property buy. Instead of taking out an enormous interest-bearing loan, you could choose to go the Murabaha Financing route. This is a different form of credit, by which the bank buys an item and sells it to the customer on a deferred basis, with the repayment being elicited in instalments.

This is a very popular financing technique and is widely used, although it does have its risks. Essentially it is another form of loan and you are putting yourself slightly in the hands of the bank you owe. Be sure to assess the feasibility of the repayments and scrutinise the various forms of interest very carefully.

Where: There are branches on Government Avenue, Arad, East Riffa and at the University of Bahrain, among others.
Contact: 17 228-000

Bahrain Association of Banks
What: This is not a bank as such, but an association that pools information from all the banking and financial institutions in Bahrain. It is a great source of information on the different packages offered at different places, so it is a good place to compare options.  It also has some really useful learning tools, such as the Protect Yourself from Card Fraud training documents or credit rating assessment options. There is also a useful annual report which can give you a broad overview of institutions in Bahrain.

Where: They have a physical address in Mahooz, but your best bet is to visit the website at http://www.banksbahrain.org Contact: 17 823-000.

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