To celebrate International Women's Day, Moneylife Foundation felicitated two extraordinary activists. Sheelatai Chitnis of Multiple Sclerosis Society of India was one of them
Sheela Chitnis, the founding member and honorary secretary of Multiple Sclerosis Society of India (MSSI) said, “Working with MSSI gave me great satisfaction to meet and support patients and their families across the country. I am grateful to Rehmat (Fazalbhoy), who was my guru and taught me many things due to which I turned from a housewife to a bread earner.”
She was speaking after being felicitated by Usha Ananthasubramanian, Chairman and Managing Director of the Bhartiya Mahila Bank (BMB), at an event organised by Moneylife Foundation, on International Women’s Day in Mumbai, supported by DSP BlackRock's Winvestor initiative.
Moneylife Foundation also felicitated another extraordinary activist Dr Ketna Mehta from Nina Foundation. Both Ms Chitnis, who is often referred as Sheelatai, and Dr Mehta have shown incredible courage to overcome major setbacks in their personal life and have converted their experience into a mission to help others cope with similar situations.
Sheelatai, started as a founding member and Honorary Secretary of MSSI nearly 29 years ago with the help of the late Rehmat Fazalbhoy and AH Tobaccowala of Voltas. Sheelatai's first connect with Multiple Sclerosis was when her husband Mukund Chitnis was struck by MS. About 30 years later, Sheelatai has played a pioneering role in creating awareness about MS and in helping patients and families cope with this stressful and debilitating disorder and the financial burden it involves.
Multiple sclerosis is an inflammatory disease in which, the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged. While the cause is not clear, the underlying mechanism is thought to be either destruction by the immune system or failure of the myelin-producing cells. There is no known cure for multiple sclerosis.
However, Sheelatai is hopeful that soon researchers and scientists will find cure for multiple sclerosis.
To celebrate International Women's Day, Moneylife Foundation felicitated two extraordinary activists. Dr Ketna Mehta from Nina Foundation was one of them
Dr Ketna Mehta, the founder of Nina Foundation said, “Although we are working since past 13 years, this is the first award Nina Foundation has received from a non-disability organization. We want to reach and help as many people as we can.”
She was speaking after being felicitated by Usha Ananthasubramanian, Chairman and Managing Director of the Bhartiya Mahila Bank (BMB), at an event organised by Moneylife Foundation on the occasion of International Women’s Day in Mumbai, supported by DSP BlackRock's Winvestor initiative.
Moneylife Foundation also felicitated another extraordinary activist Sheela Chitnis, the founding member and honorary secretary of Multiple Sclerosis Society of India (MSSI). Both Ms Chitnis, who is often referred as Sheelatai, and Dr Mehta have shown incredible courage to overcome major setbacks in their personal life and have converted their experience into a mission to help others cope with similar situations.
Dr Mehta, along with her brother, set up Nina Foundation 13 years ago to work for the rehabilitation of economically and socially disadvantaged people with spinal injury. Dr Mehta is a multifaceted personality - she is an educationist, editor, author, speaker, mentor and consultant.
Speaking on the occasion Dr Mehta said, “She has been working and helping several people to come to terms with life after a spinal injury. I counselled one young boy after his fatal accident but he was reluctant to accept his condition and come to terms with his condition. That time his mother told him to look at Ketna, who being a woman is doing so much of work and you, despite being a mard (male), is not moving ahead with the life. That time I realised the power and potential of being a woman.”
Dr Mehta has been associated with several management institutes as a Professor and Guide for B-school students over the past 24 years. She is the Editor and Associate Dean of Research at WE School, Mumbai since 2003. She received the NCPDEP - Shell Helen Keller Award in 2002 and her PhD thesis titled "Market Potential Study for a world class Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre in Mumbai" won a Rotary International Award.
“On 5th March, we received a place and community hall in Mumbai suburb, where poor patients would be treated by world class doctors. As per WHO, spinal injury is the most devastating injury and therefore we want to help as many people as we can,” Dr Mehta added.
Every woman needs to understand importance of saving, investment in right product and have a contingency plan in place, said Nisreen Mamaji, explaining savvy saving for smart women at a seminar organised by Moneylife Foundation on International Women’s Day.
In a special seminar, “Savvy Saving for Smart Women” organised by Moneylife Foundation and supported by DSP BlackRock's Winvestor initiative, to celebrate International Women's Day in Mumbai, financial planner Nisreen Mamaji told a packed audience that, “Every woman need to understand importance of saving and must save at least 20% of her income in right product to beat inflation and also have a contingency plan in place.”
“Financial planning sounds scary for many women and they end up handing over this important aspect either to their father, husband or brother. However, there is nothing to fear about money and financial planning and women turn out to be better financial planners than men,” argued , Ms Mamaji, founder, manager and chief planner of Moneyworks Financial Advisors.
Ms Mamaji pointed out in simple terms many reasons why one should invest regularly. Right from starting their careers women can start planning financially for other future goals such as marriage, buying a car, buying a house, children’s education, retirement etc. With today’s rising inflation, it is essential to start planning early to meet different goals. All that requires regular savings and investing.
“All individuals have a finite period to save for their investment goals,” says Ms Mamaji. Starting at age 25, when one is young and independent, one’s expenditure tends to be more than her savings. Slowly as the career progresses and income increases, savings also should increase. During this period it is crucial to save as much as possible. She explained how women in different situations should plan their finances.
Single Woman: Single women should save a minimum of 20% of their income. Considering they have time on their hands, they should invest in growth assets like equities and equity mutual funds. Care should also be taken to create a contingency fund for an emergency. Considering the high cost of healthcare, one should opt for a medical cover as well. Though one may be tempted to spend on their credit card, single women should try and avoid credit card debt. And finally they should empower themselves with financial knowledge.
Married Woman: Even married women must maintain a separate bank account and should participate in all financial decisions. Even while financial investments are being made, they should educate themselves about various products and investments. They should also be aware of locker keys, statements, passwords and online access points.
Divorced Women/ Widowed women: Divorced women and windowed women should update their bank accounts and insurance policies in their single name. They should make nominations and wills in favour of loved ones and pay off loans ASAP. They need to take health and life cover and invest in a retirement plan.
Contingency planning: Emergencies like accident, death, loss of job, loss in business, medical conditions, etc can strike anyone at anytime. The general rule is that it should be at least equal to six months' expenses. One has to ensure that the fund earns a good rate of interest along with high liquidity.
Medical Emergency Planning: “Do you think your cover is enough given the double-digit health inflation? If you feel it's not, you can buy a separate policy or increase the cover by opting for a top-up insurance plan. The latter is cheaper and more viable,” said Ms Mamaji.
If you have Rs5 lakh cover and want to increase it to Rs10 lakh, you can;
1. Buy a separate health policy, which will cost around Rs6,000 a year, or
2. Opt for a top-up plan, which will cost just Rs2,000 a year.
Retirement Planning: When it comes to retirement planning, one should be aware that life expectancy has increased. Retirement is a lot different now than it was around 30 years back, she said. It is no more complex to earn a steady income as bank interest rates are market linked and volatile. We even have growing aspirations to maintain pre-retirement standard of living, this also needs to be factored in said Ms Mamaji. One has to save a lot throughout the entire earning years in the right products to ensure this.
The session ended with questions and answers from an eager audience.