By Hena Mehta
I’m often asked what inspired me to start Basis, a platform that powers personal finance for women.
While there are plenty of rational economic reasons, there’s also a completely emotional one – my mom.
She taught my sister and me the value of independence, financial or otherwise.
I inherited my feminist streak from her, and everything she instilled in me has been funnelled towards making Basis an engine for the financial empowerment of women.
A sizeable portion of our clientele is women under 35, and many of them are mothers.
Whenever we sit down with them to strategise, I’m always struck by how they don’t just plan their financial futures, but their family’s as well.
A mother’s financial intelligence is central to her family’s stability.
Mothers have a knack for making the most of their money. In celebration of Mother’s Day, this month, we’ve compiled money advice from moms of every generation. It’s sensible, timeless and dependable, just like moms themselves.
With Mother’s Day around the corner, I thought it would be good opportunity to remind young mothers, who are just beginning their tryst with money, of a few financial tips from moms of the previous generation, and share a few from today’s young moms as well.
Moms of yesterday
1.Start small: 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.
2.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.
3.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.
4.Buy only what you need: You’ll often find our parents tsk-tsking at 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.
5.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.
Moms of today
1.Invest: 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.
2.Fund your own dreams: The previous generations of mothers put everyone else first, often diverting their personal savings to fund their family’s needs.
These days, perhaps because we women have higher disposable incomes, we’re learning to prioritize our 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.
3.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.
By creating varied investment, 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.
4.Consult a financial advisor: Women are taking financial independence seriously enough to trust experts to grow their money.At Basis, most of our clients are new to investment but are keen to finance their life goals.
By using a range of financial instruments, we create investment plans that are specific to each client. While they’ve inherited the art of multi-tasking from their moms, today’s mothers have successfully developed a skill of their own – delegating.
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. So, to all the moms out there, more power to you!
(The author is founder and CEO at Basis, a first-of-its-kind platform to make personal finance and investing simple, accessible and inclusive for all women)