The Covid- 19 pandemic has rebooted the lives of every human being. It has reset the way people look at life, relationships, and family. Most importantly it has changed the attitude of people towards money and the actions we take concerning that. At the recently concluded Femvest 2021 virtual summit on women’s financial empowerment, Ms. Rita Nag Chowdhury, Independent Process Transformation Consultant and Mentor, and ex-SVP at Bank of America, spoke on ‘Using LEAN to Develop a Can-do Mindset’ and shared her thoughts on using the power of the human mind and reaching within ourselves to explore our limits with numbers and in life

Women and Financial Awareness

The pandemic has created distress and women have been affected more compared to men. According to a Mackenzie study, for every job that 1 man lost, there were 1.8 women who lost their jobs.

“We are now at the cusp where we have to start thinking if we could have built managing personal finance as a life skill for women, then women would feel far more empowered and liberated, and it would prepare us for exigencies,” shared Ms. Rita.

Speaking on women’s financial empowerment, Ms. Rita explained, “It is an entire spectrum. On one end are the smart women who are trading on the stock exchange, and they’re buying structured products, shares, etc. On the other end are the ones who don’t either care or want to know. The answer lies somewhere in between, where a whole bunch of smart women who want to know but aren’t aware where to start.”

The 5s Technique

5s is a principle that is part of a Lean Manufacturing Methodology. Utilizing this methodology and converting it to the financial perspective provides an answer to all those women who want to know where to begin. 5s includes:

  • Sort: It is simply being aware of what the person owns or has, from accounts to savings, and boxing them into income, expenses, debt, investment, mutual funds, shares, fixed deposits, etc. It is like a mirror to the financial life of a person. After being aware of what one has, it is necessary to understand what is needed and tagging what isn’t needed. This is called the red tap technique.
  • Set in Order: It is being aware of the details regarding what is needed and also the financial goals and risk appetite and understanding them. If a savings account is needed, understanding where the account is and its details. It is making sure there is a smooth transition to the next successor in case of an unfortunate situation. The same holds good for mutual funds. Once in order, it is necessary to digitize certain things and store your cards etc. and communicate this with the successor.
  • Shine: This is when an unknown thing is discovered and you need to think and take an action regarding that. This is the most difficult part where action needs to be taken by following the rules and regulations. It is important to have a will to ensure a smooth transaction.
  • Standardize: It is about making up the rules, and following and enforcing them. It is about understanding the expenditure and income patterns, and making the needed changes and following them. 
  • Sustain: This is about doing this entire activity and sustaining it. When it comes to finances, it is necessary to revisit them once a month since situations can be very volatile. 

Ms. Rita Nag Chowdhury concluded by giving her insights on how it is necessary for every woman to be aware of and understand their finances. She also emphasized on following the 5s technique to have managed financial activities and revisiting one’s finances monthly.