A leading financial expert’s top advice on how millennials can save money
Roopa Venkatkrishnan is on a mission to bring financial independence to all women
If there’s one thing you notice about Roopa Venkatkrishnan, it is her ability to make you feel comfortable, even when the situation is stressful. This quality makes for an important asset in her line of work as one of Mumbai’s most successful and high profile financial advisors. Her sheer conviction in what she does helps her and her clients tide through the highs and lows of a volatile market.
Dealing with people’s hard earned money can be a huge responsibility but Venkatkrishnan goes beyond just that; in the pursuit of helping her clients become better money managers, she often becomes a part of their family, their friend, guide and philosopher. ELLE chats with Venkatkrishnan on her journey so far and where she gets all her strength and confidence:
ELLE: What was your first job like?
Roopa Venkatkrishnan: I started very young at the age of 16. My father was the biggest influencer in my life and he has been the same for many others. He would write a letter of recommendation for people and they would get jobs; they would progress from scooter to car and then a house. So, when I grew up and wanted to work, I thought he would write a letter for me as well. But when I went to him asking for one, he gave me the newspaper he was reading and said, “I have educated you and now you need to fend for yourself.” That became the biggest lesson of my life. The next day I looked up advertisements for odd jobs and ended up working at a petrol pump writing bills for INR 300 per month. That was my first job.
ELLE: How did this experience shape your life?
RV: Initially, I was quite angry with my father. I didn’t speak to him for almost two years because I felt let down. Later in life when I moved up the ladder, I realised what an important lesson that was. I learnt to be fearless, strong and have zero inhibitions. Four years ago, I lost my only child when he was 22. And I was back at work within 15 days because each and every client of mine came to me and said, “We need you”.
ELLE: What kind of clients do you usually work with?
RV: I’ve got clients from the slums of Andheri to farmers in a village that’s more than five hours away to women who are looking to start their journey towards financial independence. I don’t have any barriers. My goal is to create HNIs (High Net Individuals) rather than manage HNI money.
ELLE: You had once said that women make better money managers. What are some of the qualities that make women good with money?
RV: Women are better at managing money because they are stronger emotionally. They are stable and rational in their thinking; they expect stable returns. In most homes, women are often the primary budgetary managers and take decisions regarding major spends. Every woman who gets married aspires for financial security not just for herself, but also her children and family. In the last five to six years, I have seen more and more women become independent and invest their own money without depending on their fathers or husbands for it.
ELLE: What’s your one piece of advice to young millennials on saving money?
RV: We’re taught about making money, but we are not taught about creating wealth. Anyone can earn money, but wealth creation requires dedicated efforts. So firstly, start saving as early as possible—at least 20 percent of your income should be saved for future. And second, you don’t need large sums of money to create wealth. Even a little money, saved in a disciplined and systematic manner, can help create a hefty corpus for your retirement.
Photograph: Manasi Sawant; Styling: Saaniya Sharma; Hair and make-up: Tejaswini Balasaheb Mane/Make-up Designory Academy; Assisted by: Suhani Lotlikar (Styling); Cotton saree and blouse; both prices on request, Anavila. All accessories, Venkatkrishnan’s own.