Let us get financial acumen.

Getting aware of the pitfalls that can happen, and knowing how to avoid them.

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“I’ve witnessed a lady lose nine million rupees, and nothing could be done about it!” My bank manager Umer Malik mentioned. Immediately, I decided to learn more about this. The remark made me realize how vital it is for us to learn about the pitfalls during financial deals.

While this blog post is important for everyone, but more so for my fair readers! First, most of us women, are not given any financial stability with the men in our lives holding all the strings to finances in our lives. All the legalities are written and interpreted by the male members of our society to their own advantage. Making sure women are kept in the dark and at the greatest disadvantage in almost every situation.

Added to that is the female attitude…. “Why should I bother my pretty little head with these boring facts and figures? When I have enough on my hands, having to maintain my own figure!” She goes on to say to her dearly beloved… “You are there to deal with these things. I trust you.” Then, he goes on to die on her, or change with the changing times, and whispers from his family and friends….. Suddenly, she is all alone to fend for herself in this cruel nasty world. And she has only herself to blame for trusting the men in her life. They are human. They can make mistakes, why so, at your cost?

Secondly, when a woman does have financial control over her assets, she does not know how to hold on to these, how to invest it wisely or how to make it grow, in a halaal way. So, it was painful for me to hear how this woman actually lost ninety lacs and nothing could be done to help her. (One lac is $1000, so this lady lost $90,000)

How not to get swindled? This can only happen when we (and that includes the men too) take the time and make the effort to learn all we can about handling our finances in a mature way.

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So, I asked my bank manager Umer Malik of Bank Alfalah, in E-11, Islamabad, if he could spare some time, and I could interview him.

So, this is how the interview went:

SGN: How did it happen that a woman lost 9 million rupees? (90 lacs) what could she have done to avoid it?

UM: She (a client of the bank) went on to make a deal for her family land, which was a portion of the share given to her in her inheritance. She sold it to a relative whom she trusted. She transferred the land, by taking a crossed check. The relative has the land on his name now, and has left the country. The check bounced. She is unable to recover the money.

SGN: What should she have done?

UM:  She should have received the pay order, and got it verified by the bank.

We don’t have extradition treaty with the United States of America, we do have it with UAE. So if a Pakistani does this with a person who runs to UAE then he can be caught hold of, not so in USA.

SGN: What important information should a woman or man have while opening an account?

UM: Here are some basic points:

  1. If the woman has a substantial amount of money she should mark for e-statements. Do not have hard copies sent to home, as that has no privacy, anyone can open it and get information.
  2. She should mark a power of attorney (it can be one of her children) only a person you trust completely. Give power of attorney … go through the process … her signatures will be added to your account.
  3. Working women should avail a locker facility and put aside a will,  well before hand. Put the will in it. Otherwise, people can sabotage your will if they find it at home. A  clear headed detailed will is important about what should be done to one’s property and things after death.

SGN: What details should a woman know while opening an account?

UM: These are the different types of accounts she can open:

Current: a non-interest bearing account. No zakat deduction also. No interest.

Savings: it is interest based and has zakat deduction in which case a  2.5 % deduction can be done automatically. You should submit a zakat affidavit to avoid the zakat deduction. Yes, it is there was Sunni Muslims also.

In case of a Joint account: either or survivor to be ticked.

Foreign currency accounts: Some banks have a minimum of $500, while others have a minimum of $200 to be kept in the account at all times. It can be opened in Euro or Pounds  currency also.

Registering a business account: depends on kind of business: if you are trying to do a serious business go for a private limited account or a partnership concern as they are registered with the Government.

Sole proprietorship is a business which someone has made.

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Some important information:

  •   You need to know that when you give a pay order of one crore it has a  40 k or .4 % of the amount is deducted.
  •   While buying a plot. When you make a pay order, give a photo copy of it, to seller, and give original one when plot is finally put in your name, or at least till the name of the seller has been cancelled from the plot to be bought.
  •   If you are buying a land make sure you have it legally vetted  or checked. e.g. if you are MPCHS check from the relevant authorities. NOC and NEC to tell that it is legally cleared.

SGN: Can an illiterate person open an account?

UM:  Yes. We take a photo account. Where instead of signatures we take finger prints and take a photo of the account holder, but he would not be able to have an ATM card. He will have to be physically present in bank for any transaction.

SGN: What is the difference between a pay order and bank draft? When are these necessary?

UM:  Both are very similar. PO or Pay Order is drawn on same city. BD or Bank Draft is same thing drawn on another city. It is just to reduce clearing time. The difference between these two is hardly there.

SGN: You said once that a pay order can also be unreliable, how to avoid forgery?  Should one check with each bank first?

UM:  It should be printed. You need to have it verified, yes.

The interview was extremely interesting, so I’ll continue with it in my next blog. For now, stay  very safe from getting swindled,  because, you are a very smart, intelligent and well informed person. 🙂 Stay financially blessed also.

Note: Photographs by Waliya Najib Khan.

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