Basis Member in Focus: Shanmuga Priya - Taking Finances Into My Own Hands!
“I remember as a child I would go to the ATM with my father. He would click a few buttons and money would come out of the machine. That was so exciting. When I was in the 4th standard I had a piggy bank. I would save about 500-600 in a month but really didn’t know that this was called ‘savings’. My father was the only earning member in the family and I remember that when I was in my 6th grade, we relocated to Pune. When I was in my 8th grade I noticed was that our expenses had suddenly shot up. This is when I started looking at money and finances.” “In 11th grade, I read a book - Rich dad, Poor dad. It opened my eyes to a lot of realities that we often ignored. Like the fact that just simple saving isn’t enough. Inflation is a very real thing. You have to make money, make money for you!”
“In my 12th grade, I lost my father. That’s when everything fell onto my shoulders. This was the true wake up call for me. None of us at home had bank accounts. This is when I realised the importance of planning your future, understanding money and so much more. What’s more, we had relatives who would often come and ask us about our finances. This made me uncomfortable. If they had no intention of helping, they needn’t know about our money situation either. But I did have 1 relative who was helpful. He helped me understand about FDs and Mutual Funds.” “I started looking at household expenses and repayment of the loans we had outstanding. Since we had always been living on rent, I already knew about the nuances and was able to manage. I soon went to engineering school and that’s when I realised that one must always have assets in one’s names. The rent we got from the properties we owned helped us manage the expenses of the household.”
“Over the years, the hunger to understand finances grew within me. My sister is good at managing money, I have been teaching her. I have been learning all this myself too! I wanted to start earning as soon as possible so that nobody can question my decisions, nobody can comment on what I do with my money and how I save it. Most often I have noticed that people tell you things as they know better. But they don’t. They are often looking at how they can get the better of you. That is a situation I never want to be in. Sure, I have made mistakes in the past that I wish I hadn’t. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that I am constantly learning.”
“Very few women assert themselves when it comes to money. Very few women stand up for themselves. If you are not allowed to make decisions, how can you ever learn? Being ‘allowed’ to work or make decisions for oneself is not the same as independence. This is often mixed up. I am constantly looking at ways I can break out of this injustice. This is how I found Basis, through a friend. The fact that you don’t have to rely on anyone to make decisions for you or you don’t have to feel embarrassed to ask a question is something that struck me. Basis has huge power to change how women perceive their finances. Especially during COVID.”
“We all need this. Even for my mother, she is a Masters in her subject but when it comes to money, she doesn’t feel confident. I want to help her achieve this confidence. I want her to not be embarrassed about making mistakes. The world expects people to know more these days. That isn’t possible if you’re not allowed to make your own decisions. What I choose to do with my life, who I choose to speak with everything is about independence. I will enable my mother to become financially independent one day. Things are changing, slowly, but surely - and that’s what I look forward to!"
Priya today actively uses Basis before making her decisions about finances and hopes to inspire many more women to start making their decisions independently!