R. M. Vishakha, MD and CEO, IndiaFirst Life Insurance. Photo: Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint
Smartest money decision: An ability to invest according to need and tenure, based on my assessment of risk, requirement of liquidity and time of liability, have so far worked for me. I have been able to optimise (not maximise) returns and have liquidity.
Biggest money mistake: A staff welfare association was building flats and I was told it was open to non-staff also. I paid a booking amount and never got an allotment. On reading the rules, I found only staff members were eligible. Trust but validate.
Money mantra for women: Save compulsively. See your ability to manage your portfolio and your financial discipline before deciding on an investment. Have a life insurance policy to cover for the future earning potential. Homemakers can be insured for up to 100% of the sum insured of the primary earning member to protect their dependents.
Gender clichés: The simplest mantra that I can give is: self-esteem. Terms like “nagging”, “nitpicking”, or “emotional” are often used to describe women. Through effective communication and demonstrated behaviour, convert these into remarks like “excellent in follow-up”, or “detail-oriented”.
Letter to young women employees
From: R.M. Vishakha
To: Millennial women employees
Subject: Women’s day
I am delighted to see all of you take the first step to form an identity for yourselves. You have taken the first step to maximise your individual potential and grow to be professionals, creating a complete and personally-fulfilling life.
You will have multiple challenges since society is still very slow in changing its view on the role of women. The conditioned response is to still think that a woman needs to first be a homemaker.
It could be that some of you may not “need” to work to support families. However, a “want” to work is always more powerful at a workplace than a “need” to work. The first requirement to deal with the conflicting pressures that you will face is self-respect. Value yourself and the work that you do. Understand that you might face bias just as you might also have a bias. Face it and deal with it without compromising on your self-respect. Professionalism is about being focused on delivering on your role and expectations, without seeking undue favours or advantages based on gender. When you are a professional and committed, you will earn respect and create your own identity.
There are regulations in place to protect you from harassment. Use them wisely to create an empowering environment. I welcome you to the organisation and look forward to your diverse perspectives and viewpoints that will make decisions more wholesome, leading us to the next level.
Wishing you the strength and fortitude to chart your career path and soar towards your aspirations.