Throughout my life, I have seen educated independent working women refusing to take control of their money matters. Before marriage, they are dependent on their father to take financial decisions and then after marriage the baton is transferred to their husband.
I never understood – Why? Why are women, even those who are well educated and holding positions of responsibility, so quiet when it comes to their finances? Do we voluntarily take a back seat in matters of finance or do we get bogged down with numbers and complicated calculations?
Probably, it is conditioning.
For centuries, we weren’t allowed to be financially independent. We have been told that women don’t understand money matters and should stay away from them. And, as it happens with any 10-year-old, who doesn’t understand algebra, lands up being scared of it. The same thing applies to us.
But, we women are the world’s best caretakers.
And, when it comes to saving our families, we are never scared of anything. We have fought with Gods as per ancient Indian mythology to safeguard our family members then handling financial matters is a much easier battle to fight. And, my friend Reshma’s story is no different.
*Disclaimer: I requested Reshma to share her story with the much larger audience, who can be inspired. But, she hushed the idea as she doesn’t think her story is worth inspiring. But, in a world where women still don’t find themselves in the driving seat of taking the financial decisions, I think her story is quite inspiring. Now, I’ll leave it up to you to decide.
How I met Reshma?
As I was planning for a summer vacation in Iceland, I rang up my travel agency for a booking. And, I was connected to a highly spirited girl called Reshma. Within a matter of minutes, she was able to design a perfect package as per my needs. Her efficiency was almost addictive and before I knew I became fond of her.
One Life is all we got
Later, I came to know that she was a star performer and was doing really well at the agency. Reshma like any 20 something is a fun-loving girl with a good head on her shoulders. After her graduation, she took a gap year to pursue dancing and worked at this travel agency. where we met first.
After a year, she went back to study management and joined post-sales team of an IT major. After bagging a well-paying job, Reshma was now able to follow her travel fancies and make her wall of souvenirs. Something she would often tell me about while booking tickets for me.
She never had to bother managing finances much. Her dad had a great business. And, she used to depend on her dad to manage her savings, which he would usually put in a PPF account. All was going great for Reshma until a personal emergency struck her.
The Connect That Happened After a While
It was almost a year that I didn’t speak with Reshma as I got busy with my life and kid. As I got a birthday reminder to wish Reshma, I dialed her number. Reshma quickly gave me updates on her life and my heart went out for her after hearing what turbulence had hit her family in the past year or so. It was a relief to know that worst was over; Reshma had fought tooth & nail to fix the situation to save her family.
It was actually Reshma’s dad who suffered a sudden major loss in his textile business. All his profits, life savings got wiped off in trying to cut losses. Things came to a crashing halt and his only option was to set up the business again.
Being the eldest child, Reshma had to take charge.
She stopped all her lifestyle expenses and supported the family to sail through the money crunch. From taking care of the monthly expenses to being the rock for her dad, who also had to battle emotional downsides, Reshma did it all. Beaming with pride, she told me she also took a business loan to provide fresh capital to her father, so he could start business again. Additionally, she also picked up the financial intricacies of her dad’s business and supported him in all ways possible.
Her father’s business took 6 months to find feet. She had quite a few learnings about money matters and sought help from one of her bosses to understand the realm of financial planning better.
A few things that she learned are:
- Loans are much more expensive than they seem, and we are better paying them off earliest. Reshma is saving aggressively to pay back the business loan she has taken.
- Her father’s textile machines and material can be insured to cut losses in case of any untoward incident in future.
- Investing in PPF alone is not sufficient. It fixes your sum for 15 years giving only 7.6% return (as per current rate). There are many other options to invest in giving superior returns. Reshma recently received her performance bonus and invested it in an Equity mutual fund.
- In addition, Reshma has started a SIP in a mutual fund since keeping money idle in a bank account will make it lose value to inflation.
The story so far
From a girl who never wrote a cheque herself to changing fortunes of her family, Reshma has had the most eventful journey last year. She will never forget this journey, which has given her the prized souvenir of financial awareness. Things are picking up with her father’s business and Reshma continues to do well at her work. And, I could tell after speaking with her that just by appreciating finance, a more confident Reshma has an edge over her peers and an exceptional future ahead.
I wish we, women, don’t wait for the emergencies to make ourselves financially aware. We don’t wait for the tough times to tell us how critical is it to develop financial understanding.
We develop it because that’s the most powerful weapon that one can use to change the world!
More for I for Her: Her Story Of Being An Ordinary Woman Among The Extraordinary Men In Corner Offices
Like Reshma, if you would love to make yourself financially aware, please follow www.momeywise.com
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