Making smalltalk
Published in

Making smalltalk

Up, Close, and Personal (Finance)!

“Women need to do xyz to learn to invest”, “They need to have enough savings to buy whatever they want to”… Enough has been written about women and money in a third-person perspective. While the tools and tips provided to women, by mostly non-women, may be right, they usually stem from a place of sympathy rather than empathy. It is time we changed this.

I am Soumya, a graphic designer by passion and profession. I stumbled upon the world of investing when I applied to a job profile at smallcase. After the hiring process was complete, I got in and found myself surrounded by folks who were very knowledgeable about finance and stock markets. I would hear jargon on a daily basis that meant very little to me. So, I thought to myself, How do I keep up?”

In countries like India, it often happens that women aren’t taught to take charge of their finances and are indirectly taught to rely on men. I wanted to change that for myself, and working at a fintech firm was the perfect opportunity to do so.

The first thing I was asked to do was read up about the economy and finance in general on the Tickertape learn modules. I read, re-read, took notes, watched videos, but still felt like an outsider.

However, until this point, I hadn’t started to earn. This was my first job. Back in college, I would track every expense, every little 20 bucks spent on auto-rickshaw rides from the campus to the hostel and vice versa. Until I didn't.
3 years went by and I stopped caring about money altogether.

When I got a job and had an income for the first time, I was overwhelmed. I didn’t know what to do with it, how to spend it, how to track, save or invest it. I realised just how much there was to learn.

So I took charge.

I started tracking my expenses through an app again, and started learning more about investing and personal finance.

I had a DEMAT account, and several months after being in the system I finally decided to buy my first smallcase. It felt scary, exciting, and liberating all at the same time. In retrospect, it seems like a good decision that it was All Weather Investing that started it all for me!

Here are few things that I have learnt (as a woman, a designer, a generous spender) about money, finance and investing.

  • Save first, spend later — I still don’t have a fixed number or percentage that I save each month. I definitely don’t follow the 50–30–20 rule. But I do try to keep a certain amount for myself while ensuring a good chunk is saved.
  • Insurance — This could not be more emphasised in the age of a pandemic. Do invest in a good health insurance plan, if your company doesn’t provide you one. Special mention of Plum here for making their services so simple and understandable.
  • Invest in smallcases — I do not have the knowledge or the time to pick individual stocks that might work for me. So I have left this to SEBI-registered professionals who make smallcases after thorough research and analysis.
  • Invest in tax savers — This is something I have started doing recently and would prefer to only share my views when I have more information and experience. From what everyone else seems to be doing, this might be a good practice.
  • Streaming services/ monthly subscriptions on credit cards — If I leave it to myself to swipe my credit card, my credit score would be abysmal. So I did a smart thing and had recurring payments like iCloud, Netflix, etc. on my credit card. This lets me have some expenditure on credit each month without having to worry about a poor credit score from not using the card at all.

What I am doing towards building a solid financial foundation might not be enough, or even completely correct. I don’t know it all, yet.
We all start somewhere, and we start small. Hoping to learn, unlearn, and relearn as I go along this journey.

*Disclaimer: While this may work for me, it may not work as well for you so it’s important to understand your finances & plan them accordingly.

Originally published at on March 8, 2021.



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