Finwise Person Sketch – Start Early, Learn from Experience and Stay the Course – basic ingredients for a financial fairy tale!

Finwise Person Sketch – Start Early, Learn from Experience and Stay the Course – basic ingredients for a financial fairy tale!

In the last couple of years, we have featured a few people in our Finwise Person series on International Women’s Day, giving you a sneak-peek into their approach to money. As part of our financial planning practice and even otherwise, we have had deep conversations with quite a few people on how they manage their finances. What stands out from our experiences is two things.

 

One, while many have managed to put themselves in line for a financially-secure future, only a few were necessarily financially aware or savvy from the word go. Most of them learnt along the way, from parents, peers or other personal experiences, to craft a path towards a financially-secure future for themselves.

 

Second, while many have got on this path, by design or by default, most are still playing catch-up, and only some have managed to get ahead in the journey towards financial security. Through adequate and diligent planning, they have secured their futures, outsourced their risks, and made provisions for estate planning too.

 

Our featured Finwise People have generally managed to clear both the above filters – gaining awareness as well as taking necessary actions to secure their futures. It is also interesting to understand how they traversed this journey, and our previous story on Mrs M did just that.

 

We are today featuring a detailed sketch on another Finwise person, and it is only a coincidence that this is also a woman, it could also be a Finwise man or a family, hopefully soon. This time we feature Uma Vinay Gathani,  an entrepreneur, who is 58 years old. She is financially savvy and has managed to secure her future as well as generously support her kith and kin who have not been as fortunate or well planned.

 

If you are thinking many people would tick these boxes, think again. While the number of people who do so are few, they are significant, and we would love to cover all of them. We understand though that not everyone is comfortable discussing their journey with unknown people, and we are very grateful to Mrs M and Uma who agreed to share their personal stories. The purpose of sharing these journeys is to encourage and motivate more people to take active interest in their finances and embark on their journey towards financial fulfilment.

 

We go back to the beginning to understand what Uma’s earliest experiences were.  We have noticed this could have a significant influence in the way we deal with money in our lives. She is the youngest among 5 daughters and was born and brought up in a well-to-do family. Her father was money wise and took it upon himself to provide financial security for all his daughters.

 

When she was young, she gathered that while her father did reasonably well for himself, he had many obligations and too many people to think of and hence was not very good with investing his money and prioritizing his own future needs. As a child she remembers her house was always filled with guests, some close relatives and some acquaintances. Her father was generous and took it upon himself to help people as much as he could and her mother was a warm, kind, and hospitable person making every visitor feel totally at home. She does not remember even one instance where her parents expressed any regret for not having any male child or dissuaded either her or her sisters from doing anything due to their gender.

 

When she was all of 17, she was pursuing her graduation and her college timings left her with a lot of free time. When an opportunity came her way to take up a job, from 11 to 5 (she was done with college by 10 am), her parents gave her their blessing and were happy that she was occupied doing something productive. Her first job meant she had a salary and she could do exactly as she pleased with her money. She spent most of her money on eating outside and some small indulgences on top of it. Her mother encouraged her to travel comfortably and even paid for first class train tickets. The job was never about income for her or her parents.  

 

Her earliest experience with savings was a local reputed chit fund, enrolled by her father in her name, and when she eventually completed her graduation and took up a job which paid better, she decided to start contributing towards the same. She did not have any pressing need to start saving, her only objective was to fend for herself and not become another responsibility for her father who already had plenty of people to worry about. While she started small, she was consistent with her savings right from when she started earning.  

 

She married into a Gujarati family young and was fortunate to have supportive in-laws who encouraged her to continue to pursue her career after her marriage. When she had a daughter, she was able to continue her career without a break, thanks largely to her mother and mother-in-law who supported her by taking care of her daughter in her absence. With new responsibilities, she started an RD and invested in FDs whenever she had a surplus, while she continued with her chit fund.   

 

Her first foray into building assets was buying a house, which came naturally to her as she had seen her father attach a lot of importance to real estate as an asset. She was clear in pointing out that she did not have any plan, and never thought of retirement or savings. She believed in enjoying her now, and in her early days would often deplete her entire financial savings to splurge on a vacation or something which took her fancy.  She also said that earlier she had no concept of emergency fund or saving up for daughter etc. When quizzed if she would do things differently were she given a chance to live her life again she said and instantaneous, emphatic “No”,  her retort was “we made some beautiful memories and if I were to do it all over again, I would do the same”.  That said, she strongly feels that savings should begin early, and one should be consistent to be able to enjoy one’s sunset years with-out any stress.

 

Her only form of savings was real estate since she purchased her parental home from her mother and since she was busy paying it off, she did not have much to invest in any other asset. When she realized she had to move beyond real estate, she decided to diversify by investing in stocks. Unlike now, nothing was digital, and she had to depend on a broker, she realised that she would have to outsource this to someone else since she did not have the knowledge, the time or inclination to manage investing on her own.

 

Some of her initial experiences were bad and she lost a large sum, when she trusted someone to handle her stock portfolio, and leave aside appreciation, she lost even the entire capital invested. That is when she decided to stick to simpler products which she understood. She started out with mutual funds by making a small beginning around 10 years back. She kept investing consistently and was able to diversify her portfolio.

 

While she is not a great believer in having a plan and sticking to it, she has a nose to sniff out risks and stays out of complicated products. She is able to sleep sound at night knowing that she is doing her best to ensure her lifestyle is not compromised post retirement. When asked why she was generous in helping others, she said it is the dual effect of genetics inherited from her father and a husband who believed that money is only a means not an end.

 

When we look back at her journey what strikes me is even though she may not have had a written-down plan which she followed meticulously, she was mindful of the fact that there will be a tomorrow where she may not be able to generate an income, and she was diligent in stashing away something for the future.

 

Her choice of assets have evolved with time, and it is smart to start with something you are familiar with and then look out for other options. She quickly realised that having all eggs in one basket, in this case real estate, was not desirable and hence diversified into financial assets.

 

Importantly, most people would be deterred by an initial setback, but she was able to look it in the eye and continue on her financial savings and wealth-building journey, by ensuring that now she relied on someone dependable but continuing with the process of investing.

 

She has also been prudent to ensure her risks were outsourced and she had sufficient insurance to cover any contingency. And despite having an only child with clear succession, she has embarked upon making a will and tying all the loose ends together.

 

All in all, this insight into the life of someone who has managed to take active interest in her financial wellbeing, recognise her limitations, persevere even when she was let down  and make best use of the resources available to her, makes for fascinating reading, as well as inspiration for others who are traversing the same path, towards financial security and well-being.

 

And this can also be comforting for someone who has not yet given a serious thought to getting his or her financial life sorted. Because, it is never too late, and a few years of consistent savings and focus can make a world of difference.

 

 

Finwise is a personal finance solutions firm that helps both NRI and resident individuals and families plan for their financial goals, follow their passions and achieve financial independence.

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For advice, please reach us at getfinwise@finwise.in or +91 9870702277/9820818007.

The Finwise Couple series – In celebration of International Women’s Day – 3

The Finwise Couple series – In celebration of International Women’s Day – 3

Our third couple are equals in every sense. Amish & Trupti Jasapara are doctors and both are in corporate practice. Amish is Senior Consultant at Fortis Hospitals and Trupti is Senior Consultant at SR Mehta & Sir KP Cardiac Institute. And in their personal lives, both take turns – whether it is in managing the various expenses of their family or in funding for their goals of the future.

 

As Amish says, “As doctors who face the same challenges every day, there was no way we could have been anything but equals. Trupti has single-handedly managed the family and has taken decisions without hesitation, when I took a sabbatical to study in Germany. She is a prudent investor and her involvement has meant that we have not added unnecessarily to our lifestyle and have saved before we spent. We both ensure we are on the same page before we embark upon any new investment/expenditure.”

 

On being asked about when they discovered the need for professional advice, Trupti had this to say “As doctors, if there is one thing which is in short supply, it has got be time. Lack of proper knowledge of investments, some losses incurred and shortage of time directed us towards getting professional help for our investments. Finwise through their systematic analysis helped us understand that healthy financial goals are a reality.

 

Their being professionals themselves, they didn’t have to hesitate when it came to seeking professionals when planning for their future goals, including their retirement. Having done that, they are now able to spare valuable time on other aspects of their personal life – scaling further heights in their professional careers and enjoying the small pleasures in their present, without having to feel guilty about it.

 

Finwise is a personal finance solutions firm that helps both NRI and resident individuals and families plan for their financial goals, follow their passions and achieve financial independence.

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For advice, please reach us at getfinwise@finwise.in or +91 9870702277/9820818007.

Celebrating the Men too, this International Women’s Day!

Celebrating the Men too, this International Women’s Day!

Its International Women’s Day on March 8th, 2020, and we can think of no better time during the year to reach out to you, to share a few inspiring success stories of people who are on the path to financial independence and well-being.

 

 

Last year, we shared stories of some successful women, who over the last few years, started their journey with Finwise and took charge of their financial lives to make it more secure for themselves and their families.

 

 

Conventionally, one would argue as to why we need a specific day in the year to celebrate Women? We should be doing that through the year, and we agree fully with the sentiment. Our monthly columns (published on Moneycontrol.com) on women and how they can handle money problems and achieve financial independence, is testimony to that fact.

 

 

We would instead like to respectfully submit that International Women’s Day need not only be about women individually. Women today are equal partners in life, whether at work or at home, and while they have fought to achieve this status, they have also been supported by a growing tribe of the opposite sex, who have actually lent credence to the theory that the “better half” is actually as good, if not better at managing money.

 

 

Over the last few years, we have come across many such success stories. While one kind is where both spouses are actively involved in planning and securing their financial future together (with, in some cases, the woman actually taking the lead), we also have the other, where the man, despite possibly being the sole or dominant earning member, consciously and actively involves his spouse in the financial decisions of the house, thereby, both literally and figuratively, “putting money where the mouth is”.

 

 

In our experience, it is this “absence of bias” in the relationship between spouses and respect for each other as equal partners, that is one of the true building blocks of well-planned and long-lasting financial and general well-being for the family.

 

 

This year, for International Women’s Day, we share journeys of some such couples over the next few days, and hope they inspire you to take similar actions to free your and families’ financial futures. Look out for the first journey tomorrow.

 

 

Finwise is a personal finance solutions firm that helps both NRI and resident individuals and families plan for their financial goals, follow their passions and achieve financial independence.

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For advice, please reach us at getfinwise@finwise.in or +91 9870702277/9820818007.

Dear woman, don’t be risk-averse in choosing your investments

Dear woman, don’t be risk-averse in choosing your investments

Last week, I did a financial well-being session at a well-known corporate, the participants being predominantly women in their 30s. While they were all keen on taking charge of their finances and made for an attentive audience, most of them were extremely risk-averse.

 

This was startling, since women, usually, are not in a hurry. They are very patient, and once they understand the way a product is built and have realistic expectations of the short-term as well as long-term performance, they wait out the turbulent times patiently and truly stay put for the long term.

 

Given this fact, it was surprising to see that most of the women mentioned earlier were shying away from equity since they perceived the volatility in the short term as risk. There are several compelling reasons for women to take more interest and understand the best options available to them when it comes to investing. Here are three big ones.

 

Read our latest article, published on Moneycontrol.

 

https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/personal-finance/dear-woman-dont-be-risk-averse-in-choosing-your-investments-4981251.html

 

Image credit: Moneycontrol

 

Finwise is a personal finance solutions firm that helps both NRI and resident individuals and families plan for their financial goals, follow their passions and achieve financial independence.

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For advice, please reach us at getfinwise@finwise.in or +91 9870702277/9820818007.

Why discussing finances is mutually beneficial for spouses

Why discussing finances is mutually beneficial for spouses

I always wonder why it is so difficult to talk about money even with your spouse. You are comfortable talking about almost anything under the sun, but talking about money seem petty and crass. To my surprise some women refuse to do it even when they have a gun to their heads.

 

Why should you wait to be pushed against the wall to have a conversation? Marriages are meant to last a lifetime and it is impossible to traverse this journey without discussing money. At some point of time in a relationship one needs to move from Mine to Ours.

 

Read our latest article, published on Moneycontrol.com

https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/personal-finance/money-matters-why-discussing-finances-is-mutually-beneficial-for-spouses-4877221.html

 

Image credit: Moneycontrol.com

 

Finwise is a personal finance solutions firm that helps both NRI and resident individuals and families plan for their financial goals, follow their passions and achieve financial independence.

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For advice, please reach us at getfinwise@finwise.in or +91 9870702277/9820818007.

Dear woman: Take these 4 small steps to be on top of your money life from 2020

Dear woman: Take these 4 small steps to be on top of your money life from 2020

It is again that time of the year to work on New Year resolutions. The word has become a joke and it is now accepted that resolutions never work. We all know that a turning of the calendar is not going to weave its magic and get you started in the right direction.

 

What I have noticed is when we endeavour to make small changes rather than daunting makeovers which require a whole lot of change, we tend to stick to our resolutions. The same applies on the personal finance front – both whether to increase your financial awareness and to improve your financial situation.

 

As a woman if you wish to make your financial life better than what it has been thus far let us without much effort, here are four simple things you can do.

 

Read more about this in our latest article below, published on Moneycontrol.

 

https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/personal-finance/dear-woman-take-these-4-small-steps-to-be-on-top-of-your-money-life-from-2020-4763791.html

 

 

Finwise is a personal finance solutions firm that helps both NRI and resident individuals and families plan for their financial goals, follow their passions and achieve financial independence.

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For advice, please reach us at getfinwise@finwise.in or +91 9870702277/9820818007.

 

Image credit: Moneycontrol

Saving for kids’ goals, no child’s play!

Saving for kids’ goals, no child’s play!

For a parent, if there is one thing that is paramount in her life and gives her the utmost happiness, it is ensuring that her children are given every opportunity to blossom into well rounded human beings, confident and capable of taking on the world. Sadly, there is usually a gap between desire and action, and most parents wake up to the task of planning for their children’s basic and higher education when there is not much time left.

 

Schools don’t prepare the children to handle finances and most families do not discuss money matters with their children, even in tehir teens. As a result, in many cases, they grow up with a large sense of entitlement, never realising the effort, planning and sacrifices which went into building enough wealth to fulfil their dreams.

 

So, apart from investing mindfully for them , it is a great idea to involve your children early in the personal finance journey. When we interact with customers, we often see how one could have benefitted by avoiding a few traps or being more conscious of the decisions made and we enumerate them here.

 

Pl read more in our latest article, published on Moneycontrol.com

 

https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/personal-finance/saving-for-kids-goals-no-childs-play-4683281.html

 

Image credit: Moneycontrol

 

Finwise is a personal finance solutions firm that helps both NRI and resident individuals and families plan for their financial goals, follow their passions and achieve financial independence.

To receive our articles through email, pl subscribe here.

For advice, please reach us at getfinwise@finwise.in or +91 9870702277/9820818007.

 

How women should plan for their parents’ financial and other needs

How women should plan for their parents’ financial and other needs

Somehow in our society, while it is an understood thing that a man needs to take care of his parents, it is not such a given for the woman. It is strange when you think of it, since equal share in property post demise of parents is accepted by all, while equal share in responsibilities not so easily so.

 

However, a woman has the same instinct as a man’s and would like to be there for her parents, financially or otherwise. So how can you plan for such debts, which in a way, can never be fully repaid?

 

Read our latest article, published on Moneycontrol.com

https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/personal-finance/how-women-should-plan-for-their-parents-financial-and-medical-needs-4579881.html

 

Image credit: Benjamin Elliott, Unsplash.com

 

Women must develop the right money mindset for a fruitful post-retirement life

Women must develop the right money mindset for a fruitful post-retirement life

When we are still working, we make so many plans of things to do once we retire. And as we get onto the home stretch in the last few years, the excitement begins to build, of course, with a few butterflies in the stomach as well. So many places to see, so many people to meet, so many suppressed aspirations to fulfil, all of course, while juggling one’s hard-earned wealth and believing that there is enough, not only for ourselves but also to bequeath.

 

But retirement is not always as rosy as you imagined it to be. The transition to retired life is sudden, and there is a vacuum of time, that has to be fruitfully filled. That vacant space has to be occupied with activities that need to be created, not only to feel gainfully employed, but also to feel good about oneself. The actual retirement, therefore starts with a whole lot of unexpected dilemmas and mental adjustments.

 

What are those scenarios that one must adapt and adjust to?

 

Read our latest article, recently published on Moneycontrol.com (link given below).

 

https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/personal-finance/women-must-develop-the-right-money-mindset-for-a-fruitful-post-retirement-life-4479141.html

 

In retirement, the role of money is to allow one to fulfil our bucket list of desires, while ensuring that there is enough to take care of our balance life-times, including exigencies. Nothing more, nothing less. Hence, as a retiree, use money to bring you happiness and add meaning to your life, while taking care that it is safely working for you as well. 

 

Image credit: Moneycontrol.com

 

Finwise is a personal finance solutions firm that helps both NRI and resident individuals and families plan for their financial goals, follow their passions and achieve financial independence.

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For advice, please reach us at getfinwise@finwise.in or +91 9870702277/9820818007.

 

 

 

 

 

Why women must constantly reskill to deal with life’s googlies

Why women must constantly reskill to deal with life’s googlies

If you are wondering what reskilling and upskilling has got to do with personal finance, think again. The best investment you can make is on yourself. Today it does not matter where you are – you could have achieved a fair bit of success in your career, you could be just starting out or you might be qualified, yet a housewife by choice.

 

We are a part of times which are changing rapidly, driven by technology, life-styles and generational leaps. While you could be secure currently, given this pace of change enveloping us, it is important to stop every once in a while, to gauge how you measure up to the changed circumstances.

 

While some of what I say is gender-agnostic, it is particularly pertinent to women, whose work-lives are characterized by self or externally imposed breaks, societal pressures and who don’t necessarily play as significant a role in family financial decisions, thereby being more “not-in-control” and vulnerable to these forces of change.

Our latest article (link given below), published in Moneycontrol, highlights the risks that women run by not upgrading their skillsets periodically, thereby not being adequately prepared to face life’s challenges.

https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/personal-finance/why-women-must-constantly-reskill-to-deal-with-lifes-googlies-4362771.html

 

Image credit: Moneycontrol

 

Finwise is a personal finance solutions firm that helps both NRI and resident individuals and families plan for their financial goals, follow their passions and achieve financial independence.

To receive our articles through email, pl subscribe here.

For advice, please reach us at getfinwise@finwise.in or +91 9870702277/9820818007.