Coming from a Gujarati family, certified financial planner (CFP) Neha Parikh knew financial expertise was in her blood. So after completing her college with a degree in economics, she immediately took up a job at a leading asset management company in India. This profile helped her understand the advisory business and gain insight on the best investment management practices in the country.
Soon, her thirst for knowledge and desire to become financially disciplined led her to become a CFP. After understanding the Mutual Funds industry and the need for financial literacy and planning in India, she grew convinced that she needed to start her own financial planning firm.
She currently offers financial planning services through her advisory firm Crescita Wealth.
Here are excerpts of our interview with Neha on the biggest financial mistake that women in India make, and more:
Hi Neha, do you believe that all women in India should become financially independent?
I feel it’s extremely important for all women in our country to have control over their personal finances as this can help them to overcome social barriers and manage their lifestyle as per their choice. It can also boost their self-esteem significantly.
What kind of a life have you led so far in country like India where 52% of the women believe a husband is justified in beating his wife?
I was lucky enough to have parents who have always supported my dreams and never restricted me because of my gender. When it came to starting my own advisory firm, it was my then best friend and now husband who saw the potential in me and motivated me to start Crescita Wealth. Till date, it is his immense support that inspires me to work harder and become a successful financial advisor.
What do you think is the biggest financial mistake that most women in India make?
Most women in India believe that a man can manage money better than them. According to me, this is the biggest financial mistake that many Indian women make. So much so, it has become a cliché in India that money matters should be the concern of only the men of the house.
Even today when I connect with potential clients, I always end up meeting the male member of the family. I believe women can avoid this mistake by taking an active part in the financial decisions of their family and start their own finance planning with the savings they have. Hence, one of Crescita Wealth’s objectives is to enable women to make sound and balanced money decisions for themselves.
Does your financial advice change based on the gender of your client?
My financial advice is not gender-biased but goal-oriented. My advice differs as per the profile of my client, their needs, their risk appetite and the tenure of their investments.
Do you believe that people can face serious financial issues without emotional intelligence?
It’s very important in any field to be emotionally intelligent. A person who is irrational while making decisions will never make correct choices. So, even when it comes to investing money, one has to be very patient and not make hasty decisions. Emotional intelligence can help you do that and avoid serious financial issues.
In your opinion what can happen if financial planners are themselves not emotionally intelligent?
I believe that if financial planners are themselves not emotionally intelligent they can be vulnerable to market volatility which in turn may transform their happy clients to fearful and concerned investors.
Moreover, financial planners need to be aware of their own emotions in times of stress and anxiety to ensure they don’t inflate the situation and cause their clients to lose faith. Emotional intelligence is a key parameter to deepen client relationships and instill trust.
Are there any challenges you face as a financial planner?
Besides the finance industry in general being dominated by men, one of the challenges I faced was age bias as I started my financial planning career at 24. But my CFP certification and the investment experience of my clients with Crescita Wealth has helped me overcome these challenges.
Do you believe everyone needs a financial planner?
I think the need of financial planning in India has grown as the majority of people in our country are still only focused on earning money and not allocating their money to make it earn for them.
This is where a financial planner plays an extremely important role. I believe that many people can make money, but very few can gain financial independence at an early stage.