The She Talks Money Pune edition was all about building confidence in women that they are capable of financial planning. When it comes to saving, investing and planning a financially secure future, women still depend on men in their lives. Be it their brother, husband or father, women often put the reins of personal wealth in the hands of male relatives. This unwillingness to manage one’s own money often stems from lack of confidence among women. The panel discussion at SheTalksMoney aimed to rid the attendees of this very hesitance. The panel was moderated by Shonali Advani and had Bharat Phatak, Ramma Shashank, Shweta Dharap, Nilakshi Louzado and Sangeeta Lalwani as panelists.

Why women should participate in laying the financial roadmap for a family?

While they may hesitate when it comes to planning wealth, there are some specific and essential qualities which women have, that may help them ace it. Bharat Phatak, Promoter and Director of investment firm Wealth Managers, said, “I think increasingly women are becoming earning members of a family. So when it comes to joint family goals, their participation is extremely important. I also believe that women bring a different sense and a different perspective to the financial planning process. They are less overconfident, they are not unnecessarily optimistic. However, they have an intuitive sense and do not have inhibitions to ask the right questions.”

Phatak added that investment results heavily depend on your ability to define your short, medium and long-term goals

Our mothers and grandmothers have already been saving right

Ramma Shiv Kumar, Head of Financial Planning and Analysis – Asia Pacific and China Region at Syngenta Services, said that we should take inspiration from our mothers and grandmothers, when it comes to saving. She said, “A lot of times, we women keep saying that we don’t know how to invest or do financial planning. But when I go back and look at my grandmother and mother, whatever money they got to run the house, they were still able to save some out of it. They would even teach us to save by giving us little money every now and then to put in our piggy bank. There were no instruments available to them at that point of time, yet they would come up with money in times of need, from that dal ka dabba or gehu ka dabba. So it goes back to them, and we can all still do it by imbibing their lessons. It is all basically about planning and then looking to make a saving.”

Forecasting and discipline are key to successful financial planning

But simply waking up to make the right calls is not enough. Showing a certain foresight when planning your goal and then sticking to it is also important. According to Shweta Dharap, a certified financial planner, “Women inherently have this foresight to plan for future expenses. So they should first have their goal in place. Have a certain idea as to what that goal is going to look like, how big is it going to be. And women do have more accuracy in forecasting. The second important thing for successful financial planning is discipline.”

“Once you have your goal in place, you have to be disciplined in really moving towards that goal by continuously saving for it.” – Shweta Dharap

Couples may have different goals individually, so plan for yourself

It doesn’t make sense to burden one partner with the task of planning a financially secure future for two. What if your goals begin to differ from that of his after a point of time? What if the circumstances change your individual perspective on how and whee you should put your money? Which is why all women need to work on their own money themselves. Nilakshi Louzado, who runs investment advisory firm InTrust Advisors, said, “Life is actually a movable feast. There are things and ideas and goals and dreams that we start with when we step out of college. And a lot of these cease to exist by the time we are 40 or 45 years old. What we want to do or what we are allowed to do, because of our health, or circumstances changes substantially.”

“Also, sometimes as we grow old, we do so differently from our spouses. Which means that the joint goals we had when we were 22 are no longer the same goals when we are 45. Therefore, it is imperative that we are individually in control of our own money. Doesn’t matter if you are a woman or a man.”- Nilakshi Louzado

For entrepreneurs, it is important to plan in advance

Chairperson of FICCi FLO Pune chapter and jeweller Sangeeta Lalwani said, “When you have started working from zero, you have started saving. And only because you have started saving and you have a certain goal in mind, are you able to set up your business. So there is no question of being jittery about it. Though I myself am jittery about the stock market, but I still invest. I always keep in mind what my grandfather taught me, that if you have one rupee with you, 25 paise goes in gold, 25 paise goes in real estate, 25 paise goes in stock market and the remaining 25 paise is what you get to spend. This still holds true today for us. As entrepreneurs, we are taking risks. Of course, we are on loans and ODs, and of course it has to be all calculated. You cannot grow your business with just the money that you have. What are the banks for?”

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