Money lessons we learn from working moms
Being a working mom is tough. You deal with work pressure through the day and heartache from having to leave your kids home. But before you give in to any kind of guilt trip, read what these successful women, all children of working mothers, have to say.
Budget it right
My mother was a teacher and we lived on a fixed income. We knew how much money was coming in so we had to plan our expenses accordingly. However, before we could spend, we had to save. My mother saved as much as 40 per cent of her salary and always aimed to try and save more. We grew up with very clear concepts of budgeting, living within the monthly salary and the importance of saving. Even though my mother’s salary was not running the home, it was not to be splurged. Though we grew up with these financial lessons, I find that my son is not on the same page. He would rather live for today than save for the hypothetical rainy day. Maybe because his generation has grown up in relatively greater financial security. Today, I am trying to balance my mother’s teachings with my son’s aspirations. So I save and invest and try to get my son to imbibe this from me. However, I also respect his wishes but rather than spend money without a plan, we use the money to create experiences and moments.
Financial Independence = Empowerment
My mother is a doctor and worked with the government, watching her with her patients I saw the difference that financial independence can make to a woman’s life. Because most of her patients – rural as well as urban women – were financially dependent on their husbands, they had little or no control over decisions that impacted their own health and life – issues like birth control for example. So for me, being financially independent is synonymous with self-empowerment.
On the flip-side, one of the pitfalls of working mothers is guilt-spending where the mother compensates for not having enough time with the children by buying them things. Since I was aware of this, I tried to ensure that I did not do the same with my son.
And talking of my son, for him to see his mom as a working woman, has ensured that he takes this as the norm. Societally, this creates respect between genders and paves the way for gender parity in the work environment.
Value of money
My mother taught me the value of money. She is a school teacher and taught us this valuable lesson early in life. We learnt to treat money as a means to achieve an end and not an end in itself. So the habit of splurging was never encouraged. However, the concept of using the money for the right reasons was ingrained. Spending on education was never questioned. When I had to go for my MBBS, she withdrew money from the GPF and also took a loan, so today, my investments are sort of guided by her philosophy. I too have a PPF savings account. My husband and I save one salary between us. We have money but do not waste it. I am a little more adventurous than my mother and also dabble in the share market, though conservatively.
Less is more
My mother was a teacher, maybe that’s why financial lessons for us began early. We were trained to save – not just hard cash, but also save by avoiding wasteful expenses in every way. Pennies were saved in my piggy bank. Big spends were avoided by simple things such as giving my younger sister my hand-me-downs in terms of books and clothes so that we could maximise the return on every spend. We did not throw away anything that could be repaired or reused. Skill-building was focussed on – I can repair my clothes, do tatting, embroidery and knit. The most important thing we learnt was empathy and knowledge sharing – the zeal to pass on whatever we know.
These lessons applied to my financial planning translate to running a tight ship at home with careful budgeting. We save through careful spending without any sense of deprivation. Less is more, I invest my small savings through FDs and PPF. I am now considering investing in mutual funds via SIPs.