Smartest money decision: I went against the conventional wisdom that as one ages, debt and balanced schemes should form a major part of one’s investment portfolio. I stacked mine with equity schemes instead; the best investment decision.
Biggest money mistake: I once made a bad real estate investment. I was gullible enough to believe everything that the real estate developer promised. What I learnt is that important thorough due diligence on a project and the developer is important. I also learnt that each asset class has its rewards and risks.
Money mantra: Normal good investment practices apply to men and women alike. It is important that we understand the basics of personal finance and make sure we are involved in key financial decisions of the family.
Gender clichés: In my career spanning over four decades, I have never encountered any biases about my gender. However, I understand that several women face biases when they resume work after maternity leave. Managers often doubt a young mother’s career ambitions and her willingness to take up challenging assignments that require stretched time commitments.
Letter to young women employees
Dear young colleagues,
This day reminds me of my very first day in office in ICICI (Bank), 43 years ago. I had no particular desire of pursuing a career but within a short span of time, I became a workaholic, and that continues till today. As I reflect on the reasons for this transformation, I am confident that it was because I could completely identify myself with the purpose of the organization—financing the industrial development of India and playing a critical role in shaping the financial architecture for modern India. It is, therefore, important to identify yourself with the purpose of your company.
There will be many challenges along the way, but challenges should push you to stretch outside your comfort zone, take on new opportunities, gain new skills and continually learn and develop. So take control of your career and invest in yourself.
It is a great time to build a career in financial services in India. Technology is transforming the industry in many new ways, which will offer you plenty of opportunities to move into different roles and build a long-term career. And as the young cohort of today, you must know that you will be changing this world of work even more.
However, to succeed in whatever role you choose, develop a passion to win and be a leader in your field. At the same time, you will need to be flexible in your approach and sensitive to the people around you.
It is also a great time for women to build career in this industry. Compared to the environment four decades ago, when women hardly participated in the organized workforce, today more opportunities have opened up.
Financial services companies are more diverse than ever, offering an equal opportunity to every employee. You must also do your bit by promoting and helping other women in your networks and make their voice and opinions heard more to ensure an equal voice at the table.