Your smartest money decision: Investing in equity right at the start of my career, by studying sectors and companies, probably worked for me. Women in India generally tend to leave money in bank accounts and ignore asset classes that fetch higher returns.

Biggest money mistake: In 1991, I invested in a particular sector, thinking it would do very well. But when the market sank, so did my entire portfolio. That was when I realized the importance of diversification.

Money mantra: Being a responsible investor is the key. If you are single, start panning early and prepare for a rainy day to take care of yourself and enjoy the same living standards as you grow older. If you are married, be an equal in contributing to building your family. Financial independence is not just about earning but also contributing.

Gender clichés that women face: Women don’t understand math, or the man of the house takes charge of finances, are a few common generalisations.

Letter to young women employees

Dear ladies,

As a young woman, the most important thing is to pursue what you like doing the most. This will ensure that you stay committed and passionate. If you want to build a successful career, take charge and don’t be dependent on others.

From an early age, inculcate financial habits such as opening your own bank account and managing it, or develop an interest in investing in various asset classes such as equities, debt, real estate and gold.

Growing up, my father insisted that I do all the bank work, accounting and filing of tax returns on my own. That helped me become independent.

I would urge all women starting their careers to dedicate 2 hours a week to understanding and managing their finances, just the way you allocate time to party with friends.

When you manage finances prudently, you will have more avenues to explore or invest in for your future.