A lot of women feel skeptical about trusting professionals with managing their money. When it comes to financial matters, we all prefer to listen to those close to us, placing trust in their experience and intent. We think that since these people know us, which is why they would have the best of our interests at their hearts. However, we must understand that plain intent can’t make up for experience. Besides financial experts are duty bound to help you aren’t they, and provide the right guidance and find solutions for your financial problems? To break the myth that good financial advice can only come from near and dear ones we asked five women to share the best financial advice they ever received and how it changed the landscape of their present and future.
Ritika Singh, Founder and CEO of Kontent Factory says, “One of the best financial advice I have received is to ensure savings every month, no matter how small it is. If, for some reason you are not able to save for a couple of months, make sure you compensate for that over the next 4-6 months.”
But how does one ensure these savings? “An interesting financial hack is to keep any one account that you never withdraw from,” says Singh, adding, “All the surplus money that you get as birthday gifts, interests, paybacks go into that account.”
“Always think long term, that would give better returns. And never ever be misled with easy/high returns. There is always a price to pay. And remember, allow your money to make some money for you.” – Ritika Singh
But we do not prioritise taking advise. The reason may be that we either don’t have a foresight as to what our long term goals are or we aren’t confident in our own capabilities.
Meghna Nayak, who has her own zero waste fashion label called LataSita recalls how her own approach changed. “It took me a long time to go out and get financial advice, since am not much of a planner. I also look at it from the other way around, like if I have such earnings only then will I do xyz things. But my advisor made me realise that nothing is impossible and with proper planning you can achieve all that you want to.”
So what was the best advice that her financial advisor offer her? “My financial advisor advised me to spread my investments in debt and equity according to my goals and age. We don’t own a flat or family house and my mother is a single mum who is still renting. Speaking to an IFA made me understand that it is indeed possible for us to own a place, with proper planning. He told to plan for long term and work backwards from there. To really think about my goals no matter how idealist or outlandish they may come across. You need to see this dream or set a goal and then work backward accordingly.”
Financial advisors not only help you plan properly, they also give you a sense of confidence in your own investing skills. Aprajita Mehra, a radio jokey for Akashvani FM, was hesitant in handling her own money. “Handling money is something that has always bothered me. Although us women take care of all household expenses, we are never really in the position to be the decision makers when it comes to big amounts of money in a house. But when I started earning myself, I decided that I wanted to use my earning for my goals.”
Speaking to an IFA made me understand that it is indeed possible for us to own a place, with proper planning. He told to plan for long term and work backwards from there. – Meghna Nayak
But with the help for some guidance, she is a much more confident investor now. “There is always this hesitation about investing in Mutual Funds in most people, coming from conservative backgrounds. Likewise I was also skeptical about where to invest my money and I always used to opt for traditional investment tools earlier. But my advisor encouraged me to go for SIPs which are monthly investments and it really suited me, because it was convenient. And once that started happening, I knew I was saving without the burden of making a huge investment with a lump sum amount. So I started making 2-3 SIPs for myself, for my son, with an aim for whatever I wanted that money for. For example, if I wanted to take a trip etc. It was like setting a small aim in the future and then putting that money to realise it.”
Author Riti Prasad, who also works as a Business Unit Head at a company on the other hand, had a very clear picture of her financial goals in her kind. And she was looking for someone who could understand that vision.
“I was looking for somebody who could advise me on how I can save money for my future and how I can build a corpus for my children’s education in future. So I had created a file of objectives and from there I wanted somebody to guide me and work with my current expenses and lifestyle.
I approached a consultancy service where they looked at my current and expected future expenses and they advised on how I need to invest my money in various funds, in terms of whether I need to go for a retirement fund or SIP or should keep my money with a traditional investment tool or something else. So the best thing my advisor did was to put my current methods of investments into perspective and then advised me to get out of my comfort zone. He encouraged me to opt for schemes like mutual funds. He made it a point to ask me first what my risk appetite was. He really understood my psyche that I didn’t want to take risks.
My advisor encouraged me to go for SIPs which are monthly investments and it really suited me, because it was convenient- Aprajita Mehra
Another valuable advice he gave me was when my bonus came in. He told me to put the entire sum into a corpus which will keep multiplying. He said I didn’t need it right now as I was doing well with whatever salary I got in hand. He had seen a pattern of how every time I got a bonus I ended up putting into something, like I would buy something or put it in gold etc. He said there was no need to invest it or spend it every time and I should put it in the corpus.”
For Mrigakshi Sharma, Co-founder of Wealth Lab, the advice wasn’t specific to any goal or strategy, but it has become a mantra she swears by and often passes on to others. Says she, “One of the first, and perhaps the most significant realisations I was brought to by my financial advisor was that time is indeed money. The risk appetite of the average investor is far greater in her youth than at any other point in living. Hence, starting young allows one not only to explore investment avenues that are characterised by high risk and high return, but also to reap the benefits of the same over a longer period of time. It also promotes an appreciation for delayed gratification even beyond the financial aspects of life. This was incredibly valuable advice and I fervently preach it to all my fellow post-millennials.”