Research shows that women make much better borrowers. According to Shalini Warrier, Executive Director and Business Head, Federal Bank, women borrow carefully and repay promptly.
In an interview with MintGenie, Warrier said that more than the investment amount, it is the timing that matters.
Q. What money advice would you give to young girls, students and newly working women?
The simplest advice would be “Start small but start today”. The power of compounding is something all of us are familiar with and this is particularly true for financial planning. Hence, it is imperative that all investors – notwithstanding their gender – start today. The amount is not material; it is the timing that matters.
The second piece of advice would be to ensure we keep a balanced portfolio. As they say “Do not put all your eggs in one basket” and similarly, it is important to ensure that investments are spread across multiple avenues. Today, there are many opportunities available for investment and we should take advantage of the same.
Q. What does money mean to you?
In my view, money is a means to an end, not an end. I have always believed in the maxim that one should work hard, and monetary rewards will follow. Thirsting only for monetary rewards has never been in my genes. Having said that, money and its significance are very personal and differ from person to person and I respect that.
Q. For some reason, finance is still considered a man's industry, take us through the beginning of your work in the financial sector and the challenges you faced.
In my view, this is a myth. Finance is not really a man’s industry. The banking industry has proved, time and again, that for the right person, irrespective of gender, success will come.
I joined a bank as soon as I qualified as a Chartered Accountant. I have been a banker all my working life and have worked across multiple disciplines and many geographies. The challenges were primarily around keeping myself abreast of the changes happening in the banking industry and culturally assimilating myself into the geography I was posted in. I see these as opportunities, rather than challenges. Through hard work, dedication and a strong urge for learning, unlearning and re-learning, I do believe I have been able to progress in my career.
Q. Share with us a piece of advice you always follow when it comes to money.
I will never invest in something that I do not understand – that has been my mantra. A lot of people do come up and provide advice on areas to invest in; I do listen to them, but finally, take my own decision based on my research. And, doing research is not difficult in today’s world; information is at one’s fingertips.
The second tenet I follow is that I should have a balanced portfolio; spread across cash, near cash (like fixed deposits), debt and equity funds.
Q. How do you think men and women differ from each other when it comes to handling money?
Research shows that women make much better borrowers. While the sample sizes are small, it has been seen, time and again, that women borrow carefully and repay promptly. I have personally seen that, and it is true across various strata of society. Women strike a more conservative balance between risk and reward.Women have a greater orientation towards saving and can therefore help to provide a stable liquidity base for banks. Women take more time to make decisions.Women make decisions differently than men. They tend to want more information and be more thorough.Women are very smart and prudent when it comes to money.
Q. What do men need to learn from women on the money front?
In my view, men and women should learn from each other. There are many types of investors in this world, and we can all learn from each other. Having said that, men usually tend to overestimate their abilities around planning and investing, thus leading to overly risky investments. They could learn from women who tend to be more measured and careful.