By Hena Mehta
I’m often asked what inspired me to start a platform that powers personal finance for women. While there are plenty of rational economic reasons, there’s also a completely personal one: My mother. She taught my sister and me the value of independence, financial or otherwise.
After speaking to various mothers, young and old, here are a few financial tips for young mothers, who are just beginning their tryst with money:
Inflation makes smaller amounts feel redundant, but take a well-worn leaf out of your mom’s book and save everything you can, even when it feels feather-light. Money and interest have a cumulative effect, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how it all adds up.
Make every rupee count
From squeezing the last drop of oil out of its pack to giving auto drivers the exact change, our moms would make the most of their money. Every single rupee that’s saved is piggy-banked for a greater cause. Women of our generation are more lenient with the purse strings, but here’s a lesson worth remembering – a rupee saved is a rupee earned.
Budget, budget, budget
At the beginning of each month, with enough organisational skills to govern a small country, mom would allot a fixed amount to innumerable expenses – school fees, salaries, groceries, holidays, pocket money…you name it. Budgeting doesn’t just help us plan our expenses, but also our savings.
Keeping track of your expenses and investments is a time-tested way of ensuring a healthy bank balance.
Buy only what you need
You’ll often find our parents disapproving of today’s consumerism. In their day, each purchase was carefully considered, and impulse buys (not to mention buyer’s remorse) were rare. Today, we swipe our cards for things we don’t really need (or bring us joy) and end up compromising on the things that are essential.
Splurge on what matters
Despite being conscious about money, mom could quickly turn into an out-of-season Santa Claus, surprising us with that toy we’d been mooning over. It goes to show that with the right kind of financial planning, we’ll always have money to spend on the things and experiences that count.
A few decades ago, the stock market was considered too risky, and women would let their savings accumulate in a bank account. These days, young moms aren’t content with the minimal interest that this option offers. While retaining some money in a bank account, they’re always looking for ways to earn higher returns. The focus has shifted from protecting savings to growing them.
Fund your own dreams
The previous generations of mothers put everyone else first, often diverting their personal savings to fund their family’s needs. But learn to prioritise your financial needs as well. It’s heartening to see young mothers saving for their children’s education while also shoring something away to pursue another college degree or buy a car for themselves.
While securing their children’s future, today’s moms are also investing so that they can pursue their own hobbies and goals.
Spread out your investments
While assets like gold and real estate still offer great returns, there is an increasing number of financial instruments to choose from. Some have greater liquidity, (think stocks and shares), allowing us to convert them to ready money easily. Others, such as mutual funds-cum-life insurance policies, offer add-on benefits. Today’s young mothers have enough long-term investments to fund their child’s education and short-term deposits that can double up as an emergency fund.
Consult a financial advisor
Women are taking financial independence seriously enough to trust experts to grow their money. If you are new to investment but are keen to finance your life goals by using a range of financial instruments, consult a professional to help you create investment plans that are specific to your needs.
Over generations of women, the approach to investing and the tools have changed. What hasn’t, is the importance of a mother’s involvement in the family’s finances.
Opinions expressed are author's own.
Hena Mehta is the founder and CEO at Basis, a platform that makes personal finance and investment accessible and inclusive for Indian women.