The finance industry is a notoriously male-dominated field and it takes a lot of hard work and determination for a woman to succeed. It is common for women to be intimidated and ignorant about finances. However, female entrepreneurs’ and finance experts like Aparna Ramachandra have made great strides in this field and helped educate women about finances.
Vibhushita would like to introduce Aparna Ramachandra, the Founder Director of Rectify Credit, and India’s first Credit Repair Company. She is an Equity research analyst focusing on the US stock market, specializing in consumer durables, industrials and the technical sector. Aparna is a columnist and her articles have often appeared in the Mint and Femina magazines in India. Aparna is also an avid cyclist, marathoner and loves to travel. She will talk to us today about finances, her experiences in the industry and why understanding our finances is so important.
1) Aparna could you tell us a little bit about yourself I am a certified financial planner and am currently based in Mumbai. I am the founder and Director of Rectify Credit. I have been in this business for the last 10 years. I am a South Indian and can fluently speak and translate nine languages. 2) What motivated you to become a financial planner? One day as I was browsing the Internet I happened to come across the CFP program and I felt I wanted to pursue further studies in this field. But what really motivated me to become a certified financial planner were my life experiences. After going through a personal crisis, I realized there was a systematic way out of problems. Creating, building and preserving wealth is a fascinating journey. I wanted to work with people to build a healthy working relationship with their money. So, I completed the CFP program and began to make holistic financial plans for individuals. My intention was not just to sell financial products and gain commission, I really wanted to help people. I have been really interested in retirement and tax planning. I have found that these are two very touchy topics that people want to avoid. People always want to believe that no bad can happen to them and that they are immortal!! That’s how I decided to become a CFP in India. 3) Have you faced any bias in this field? No. Women are inherently perceived as trustworthy and tend to take fewer risks. But I find that women clients need lot of pep talk and cajoling to believe in themselves. The conditioning that women are not good with numbers is sadly a deeply rooted feeling. Men are taught to “be the know-alls”, and resist asking for help.They rarely accept that they don’t know something or they have goofed up the investments!! 4) Do you feel that women need to learn more about their financial situation? Yes. I would like to put it this way, all of us, men and women need to know their real financial situation. I am a firm believer and I repeat it at every platform, “Finance can never be outsourced”. You have to be involved and aware of what is going on. 5) What are you doing about increasing awareness? I work with individuals and corporates in creating awareness about finance. I conduct financial literacy programs and do financial counseling. 6) Why should people hire a financial planner? I don’t think everyone needs a financial planner. If someone is diligent and already knows why they are doing what they are doing and is clear on money matters, then he or she doesn’t need a financial planner. Moreover, someone who wants to risk it all and blow up all their wealth also does not need a financial planner. So, the two extremes on that scale do not need a financial advisor. Having said that a planner sees the situation objectively, analyses and offers professional advice. 7) Are you involved in any community programs for women’s empowerment? Could you give us an example. I have been associated with NGO’s that work with women self help groups in Mumbai. I would like to share a success story. I had a lady client who was a young, single, pediatrician. Her father and brothers would take care of her investments. In one of my workshops she sought my advice. We figured out that there were lots of impractical and incorrect investments done on her behalf. It took her 6 months to stand up for herself and tell her family that she will manage her own finances. Today I am glad to share that she decides her investments and is an aware spender. 8) Any other thoughts? I would like to see more financially literate and aware customers. People with fancy degrees and fat pay check come with risky investments gone awry or credit card defaults I feel sorry for them. These days when there is an information overload I don’t see why people choose to be ignorant. To me laziness and ignorance are a fatal combination. Thank You!