A majority of Indian women still believe that gold and property are the two major and only source of investment. However, financial planning is much more than investing in commodities and Indian women hugely lack in investing or planning their finances in an organized manner. While there could be several reasons for that, experts say that self-reluctance and dependency on male members of their family limits women from financial planning.

At SheThePeople.TV’s new series, She Talks Money, we intend to create awareness about financial literacy among women in tier-two cities across the country. Experts in financial planning and top women leaders talked about their journeys through financial planning and the tools women can use to manage their money better and save for the future.

In the series’ first edition in Jaipur, Archana Surana founder of ARCH Design Institute, spoke about her journey through investments and how she got around to start it. “When women know that the money is somebody else’s like their father’s or brother’s, then there is definite reluctance. But when it is your own money, that’s when you take your first steps towards becoming financially-savvy. So it is important that everybody is self-reliant.”

But Pratima Khicha, director of Parul Advisory, who has 20 years of experience in finance, said that while women do save money in all capacity, when it comes to investment, there is a lot of inertia. “Women see that gold, property clothes are the kind of investment that is tangible but investing in stocks and mutual funds is paper money and not something that generate short-term benefits. There is not a lot of risk associated with mutual funds, and as time changes, women should start thinking of investing in paper money also as it grows over time,” said Khicha.

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In the past few years, mutual funds and SIPs have become extremely popular. While a lot of people invest in these kind of schemes, the women’s number is fairly low. There is also a lack of education and awareness among women about financial planning. This happens because society conditions them to grow up in a protected environment. Women generally leave money matters to their husbands, brothers or fathers.

Chartered Accountant, Ashish Modani, points that three to four decades back, women were dependent on men as they were mostly homemakers. “The moment women start thinking that financial planning is not their cup of tea and there is somebody else who is ready to take charge, you simply give them the authority to manage your money,” said Modani.

Just like you take some time out of your daily schedule to invest in your health that will help you lead a longer life, you must take some amount of your wealth that can be invested for long-term financial gains. Investments are like kids. They don’t grow every day. They grow over a period of time with necessary effort

Surana agreed with Modani’s point and said that when she founded her institute, she felt that it was important for her to work towards the growth of her company and not planning her finances. “When you are an entrepreneur, you invest in business first. You lose and learn. I have kept patience and perseverance and that’s what has helped,” she said.

Modani’s tip for women to take a step forward in financial planning is, “Just like you take some time out of your daily schedule to invest in your health that will help you lead a longer life, you must take some amount of your wealth that can be invested for long-term financial gains. Investments are like kids. They don’t grow every day. They grow over a period of time with necessary effort.”

Khicha feels it is important that women should open their mind to financial advice. “Be aware about what’s going on in the financial world and seek experts’ advice without any bias.  Learn how we can invest.”

Today, with technology, everything is available on the internet and it is so easy and convenient to start financial planning. The only thing that women and the society around them need to do is encouragement and motivation to plan a better future.

More Stories by Poorvi Gupta

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