Citi India’s Shinjini Kumar: Financial goals should be similar for both married and single women
Your smartest money decision
The smartest money decision I made was to buy a house. I did not think about it as an investment but in retrospect, it created a sense of security.
Biggest money mistake
Our emotional decision to purchase a second floor apartment as our son had a fear of elevators. I should have given more thought to this important financial decision than I did.
It is important to have an independent view of your life goals, including general themes like ‘the age until which you would like to have a predictable income’ or ‘the lifestyle you would be comfortable with’. Financial goals and aspirations should be similar for both married and single women.
Gender clichés at work
Women are too soft or too bossy—this comes from the reality that there aren’t enough women bosses for the stereotype of a ‘normal woman boss’ to be formed. So they are either pegged to other men in the office or women who are homemakers. All individuals have unique styles.
Letter to young women employees
From: Shinjini Kumar
To: Millennial women employees
Subject: Women’s day
My dear young ladies,
Congratulations on making a decision that will define the rest of your life: your outlook, relationships, pursuit, victories and regrets. Maybe you grew up with the weight of parental expectations to excel and beat the boys. Maybe you grew up with your brother carrying that weight while you quietly built your own ambition. Maybe you never encountered resistance to your ideas. Or maybe you were curtailed by what was ‘allowed’ or ‘acceptable’ for a girl.
But that does not matter. Every step you take will present an opportunity to build yourself to be the person you can become. How you take advantage of these opportunities will determine what you look back on and shout ‘hurray’, or with regret.
My advice to you is to not hold back. Enriching your world, workplace and personal lives happens one step at a time and making simple contributions of efficiency, ideas, teamwork and execution take you in that direction as much as turning the lights off before leaving your office. I do hope you will find the opportunity to be responsible, and successful professionals.
Money by itself is a rather inadequate goal. But it is a remarkable enabler to most goals. It is important to know this early and use money as a tool to shape your journey. I have met many young women who have used their independence and earnings to travel, to become entrepreneurs or to take time off to nurse an ailing parent or handhold a child and then return to work. These women and their stories fill me with great pride.
I hope you will all make me proud by leaving your own imprint and deciding your destiny. The best blessing I have ever heard is what I wish for all of you—may you make the most of what you have.
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