Most people have a love-hate relationship with money. They love/ hate making it, saving it or spending it and they either feel empowered by it or validated by it. For me though, money has always stood for independence. This is how I felt as a 13 year old, who did not want to ask for money from her parents and as a 30 year old Entrepreneur today, where I choose to live life on my own terms… and money definitely plays a part in making that possible. In this article I am going to talk about financial planning for women and why it’s a gamechanger in life.
The early hygiene of saving a significant percentage of your pay check and gathering and saving for large expenses, has held me in good stead today.
I come from a traditional, Tamilian-Brahmin family and like others in this community, we never discussed money at home. Later on, when I had friends who were Gujaratis and Marwaris, it amazed me that the elders openly discussed money at home (something I believe is key for an early financial understanding)~ the making of it, the saving and spending of it. As I got older though, I was offered advice primarily towards the saving of money… but I had none to begin with at that time, now did I? Yet, the early hygiene of saving a significant percentage of your pay check and gathering and saving for large expenses, has held me in good stead today.
I did a lot of odd jobs as I was studying, and all this money was carefully saved. My partner often jokes on how I am richer than him, and as we are cofounders in our business, and make and have made the same money for almost a decade, it is this early `squirelling’ that has given me an edge ??. I earned a salary only for a year, as we started our own business very early on (not something that i would always recommended), and made sure I saved as much as I could (as my parents lovingly gave me free boarding and meals). I am a big believer in constant learning and have quizzed (almost to exasperation) any financial adviser, CA and expert I find in the hope I understand financial wealth creation better. A lot of knowledge has come my way via books, and in today’s information world, you have yourself to blame if you do not take advantage of all the knowledge out there.
Ignorance is never bliss, and having money you can call your own (or knowing your share of it), allows you a seat on the table.
In my early Entrepreneur days (we ran a professional Architecture and Interior Design Consultancy) the money used to come in irregularly. There were months we received no money whatsoever, and others when there were several credits. So we got into into the early habit of taking a nominal salary and only withdrawing above that, when we could. This meant that all bigger expenses, like my first car, our marriage, the deposit for our home, our holidays, etc. were carefully planned out. While I am in no way a spendthrift, yet I am all for spending towards travel, further education and experiences. These hold value to my personally and us as a couple, and we are working systematically to add meaningful wealth to our live.
Now this is not true only if you are a woman, but especially as a woman, please do not ignore your finances or the family finances. Ignorance is never bliss, and having money you can call your own (or knowing your share of it), allows you a seat on the table. I agree this is not ideal, and there are several enlightened households I know of, where the homemaker is appreciated for her priceless contribution to the family and has a legitimate part of financial decisions. But if that’s not the case, one does not want to be in a situation 5-10 years down the line, where a broken marriage is made worse by financial dependence.
Views expressed are the author’s own