Smartest money decision: Spending conservatively, and saving and investing as soon as I started earning. I was 21 and while I had little experience managing money, I was clear about building a corpus. Having that corpus gave me the ability to move back from the US to India and start my own business without family backing, and with the confidence that I could ride out 2-3 years without substantial income.
Biggest money mistake: Not paying attention to asset allocation. When I started earning, there was an impatience to invest entirely in equities as everyone else was doing the same and times were good. I didn’t pay attention to my own risk profile.
Money mantra for women: Have control over your financial decisions and take the time to learn how to manage your money. Investments are not complicated in today’s digital age and just doing the basics right is enough. Tailor your investment plan to your needs and never deviate from that.
Gender cliché’s at work: Women are surrounded by clichés—glass ceiling, work-life balance, cultural fits in the office, the challenges of safety and travel. You can either choose to let these limit you, or you can move past them and focus on doing your best.
Letter to young women employees
From: Radhika Gupta
To: Millennial women employees
Subject: Women’s day
You are about to embark on such an exciting journey, and today, I wish I were you, just taking the first steps in my career. If there is one thing I can say with certainty is that your “work experience” will be a roller coaster ride—it will be unexpected, full of twists and turns, exhilarating and also sometimes frightening. If you embrace this with open eyes and an open mind, however, you will feel exhilarated and satisfied at the end of this ride.
Starting your first job is not a small step, but a huge leap towards financial independence and I cannot tell you how powerful that step is.
For many years, our identities as women have been daughter, sister, wife and later mother, defined in relation to someone else, but your career will give you an identity that is yours and only yours.
Regardless of how generous your parents or husband are, the power of earning your own money is unique. The small things like buying a dress for yourself without asking anyone will give you a kick (I still feel it!) and the big things like being able to start a business with your own savings will make you dream big.
Starting today, set high aspirations for yourself and your career, because reaching for the top starts with dreaming about it. Work hard towards this destination—go that extra mile on a project, ask for more responsibility, and stretch your own boundaries.
Discover your strengths and hone them well, and work hard on the feedback that you get. As I often tell my team, we are all a masterpiece and a work in progress at the same time.
Finally, you will get a lot of advice on what has worked for other people, what to do and how to be. Listen thoughtfully, but remember that you are unique. Write your own story, and I promise you the world will listen.
Good luck. Work hard and have lots of fun.