More than a motivation , it was a push by my husband. The message was loud and clear - “ Just take the plunge. Either you will drown , or you will flap your arms and swim your way out.”
I lost my father-in-law 7 years back. It was an untimely death and this tragedy was a wake up call for all of us. My husband was relatively young and unaware of any of his dad's investments and possessions. As was my mother inlaw. In fact till date we are discovering his investments. I think for me , personally that was a profound moment when I felt that God forbid if anything happens to the family patriach, how helpless and abandoned the rest of the family feels. I had this niggling thought since then but it was only a year and a half back when I finally took charge. We are a young family with young kids which made it all the more crucial for me to understand “what we possess” and plan a better future for our kids.
How did you mentally prepared yourself for getting into the field of finances when your children were so young ?
I would like to answer this question in 2 parts – Firstly, how did I prepare myself for this field -
Despite having studied Engineering and MBA from India's finest college , I always feared FINANCE (yes-in capital letters). My natural disposition is to write , having written a few articles for the economic times (despite the fear of finance). Sitting behind the desk and crunching numbers was never my cup of tea.
I was really apprehensive initially. But , the good thing that my husband did for me was that he engaged an in-house wealth advisor – a young dynamic lady, about the same age as me, to apprise me of the universe of financial assets and brush up my fundamentals of finance and economics. The comfort of peer to peer learning can't be bargained. I was never hesitant to ask even the dumbest of the questions from her. A 5 day learning seminar organised by one of our wealth advisors got women from sizeable family offices under one roof. That session too helped a lot in learning various aspects of the world of financial investments. I started reading financial papers such as such as MINT religiously . I took it all as a challenge and the diligent me left no stone unturned to augment my knowledge on this subject.
Today I am very comfortable managing the portfolio. In fact there are days I am excited, then there are days when I am nervous, days when I feel lost but never a day when I feel like giving up.
Secondly , with regards to children being so young , I would like to say that as a woman and more importantly as a mother , I feel it's imperative for one to have an understanding of one's finances and wealth and steer the wheel in the right direction. A very simple example : My investment in a stellar large cap fund , keeping a 5 year horizon , shall fund my 13 year old's college education.
Do you need to have financial understanding ?
The kind of kick that you get by knowing what you have , what you 'can' have is fantastic. The sense of ownership invokes pride. The security of knowing what all you have created is to comforting. It is humbling , enriching , gratifying.
For those women who have a lackadaisical approach to knowing their finances , if me saying this helps in anyway – Trust you me , it's the most liberating feeling in this world.
What are the obstacles which you have faced till date ?
My own fear has been my biggest obstacle. The fear of embarassing my successful husband by asking his team of geeky wealth advisors a dumb question was the biggest deterrent. The fact that my husband had proved his mettle in his field while I was starting from ground zero was so unnerving. However , Bhanu (I should have mentioned his name earlier) – my husband was always so supportive and so encouraging and that really allowed me to push my envelope. He maintained that “ You don't have to think about my image or my achievements and make it a hindrance in your learning. You are a bright woman with enviable diligence. Give yourself time.” And thats what I did. Gradually I began to stretch myself and with every monthly meeting , I grew more confident and self reliant.
How do you balance out everything ?
Balancing comes easy to me. I am super planned and organised person. I plan things to a T. I swear by my “daily planner”. I have an hour by hour break up of all that I want to accomplish in a day of 16 hours (8 hour beauty sleep is non-negotiable). It is my ability of being so methodical that is reflected so aptly in my portfolio as well.
What made you successful in your field ?
Disciplined approach to all aspects of life – be it health , wealth or relationships and desire to continuously learn is the key behind my small but very sweet success in the Family Office.