You shell out cash and swipe a credit card every single day, but money can still be a taboo subject. We are in 2019, and it’s time to normalise conversation on money. Not just while sitting with an investment advisor or banker but while catching a coffee with friends. Yes, that’s right. Make wo money ki baat part of any gup shup. Four friends talk to us about how they started (and succeeded) in normalising the conversations on money matters.
Kiran Manral, ideas editor at SheThePeople, Ketaki Sathe, a freelance consultant, writer Sejal Mehta, and author Sukanya Venkatraghwan caught up. Between their chat on paintings, work day and food pangs, they had a pitstop on money. Why are we conditioned from beginning to not focus on our money? In fact do we even call it our money or are shy to stake claim to it?
“As a culture, women are told what to do with their money and men are the ones who know what to do with their money,” observed Sukanya. “This is the culture that we have born into.” Ketki put another filter on that saying women have traditionally ‘assumed’ roles under the social construct of society, where “women take up the domestic role and men manage the financial matters. But the truth is they are excellent in managing the money in the domestic domain. Our mums did it for years.”
Are women shy of managing their own finances?
At work, we are naturally able to deal with all the money matters but when it comes to our own investments we find it difficult to manage,” asked Sejal. Agreeing with Ketaki, Sejal added that while “women take care of household and manage several different accounts but they still shy away from ‘serious investments’ for life or retirement.”
With changing times, women are thinking of managing their own money. In fact more and more women are taking interest in it as well. What is helping is the rise of investment options, when earlier only a single bank deposit exist. Now women can pick smaller investments as a starter even if they are shy.
As Sejal notes, it’s about making a start. “ Now when I am able to manage my accounts on my own easily, I do not understand why was I afraid of it.”
As a culture, women are told what to do with their money and men are the ones who know what to do with their money – Sukanya
Some women have male partners or advisors who genuinely help women in understanding and managing money while others have started learning and managing their accounts on their own.
Do you feel the need of taking financial advice from someone?
Advise is never a bad idea. We are all not born experts. Realising that women are a key market and important investment community, the four friends agreed that getting professional support to manage money is a good idea. Ketki suggested a good financial advisor who can on an average level plan the investments and expenditures, that ensure we all keep up with our current and desired lifestyle.
Sejal mentioned a step before investing would be budgeting and planning through some personal tips. “ I have a ledger where I note down all my spendings and keep a track on how much I earn and how much I can spend.”
Do you have the fear of not having enough?
More than saving the money that has been earned, some expressed the fear of losing it. This fear often affects the present lifestyle and the future too. “Don’t get tensed about the money that you don’t have. It adds to the stress of how to manage that money. Concentrate on what you do have and how you can manage it,” Sukanya said, sharing learning from her mother.
Kiran and Sejal said it was important to keep up investments to one’s lifestyle. “We are used to a certain level of lifestyle and will not accept anything less than that.”
Watch this video for more on this fun, relevant and important conversation.