Interview with Ratnasri Karra, Founder of Her-Mony
Today, Ratna is known as a fierce supporter of women empowerment. She believes that women are stronger when they play an active role in the financial decisions of their families. Through Her-Mony, Ratna offers consultancy and business services to women entrepreneurs and women in general.
“There is a big difference between being individualistic and independent. Independence is not a bad thing, it is about being able to plan for yourself and for your family, cover their needs and their future as well as yours.”
We sat down with Ratna for a discussion during which she shared her personal stories and told how Her-Mony encourages other women to achieve their goals and better plan their lives.
“Good afternoon Ratna. Could you tell us a little more about yourself?”
I am a Chartered Financial Analyst, Mother of two and the Founder of Her-Mony.
As women, our careers never take a straight path. We start with something, then we eventually put everything on hold to take care of our children, and then we start all over again!
As a mother of two children, working and managing a career has been a matter of good decisions and compromises. And somewhere down the line, as I was making decisions for myself, I started supporting other women to be financially independent. It became a priority.
“What is Her-Mony and how did it all start?”
I had started a business and already had one child when some health issues forced me to take a break. I had always been working and actively contributing to the family earnings. Suddenly, I had to stop working and relying on my husband made me very uncomfortable. I had no other option but it wasn’t an easy situation.
Regardless of how much I love my spouse, I didn’t want him to be the one and only source of income. It just didn’t feel safe. A relationship with your spouse is more than just money. While my carrier was on hold for a while, I started managing our family wealth. I wasn’t earning from a 9-to-5 job, but at least I wanted to contribute to our family plans.
We started looking at it as a family goal, making sure that our family income was properly invested and also making sure that each one of us had our personal goals covered. As I was doing it for my family, it became my business. I wanted to pass on this ability to other women.
Things happen in life that are out of our control: it can be a divorce, a sudden loss or a poor investment... It is never easy to deal with these things. And when it happens, women get more hurt if they haven’t been exposed to managing the family savings and investments. This is a fact about women; we tend to be less prepared and this is exactly what I want to change.
“Where do you start? What does it take for women to get involved?”
When you think about it, women are already in tunes with all the financial implications of running a family. We control most of the expenses; it is not that we are totally disconnected. Additionally, we generally have most of the responsibilities as care takers within one’s family. We take care of children, our in-laws, sometimes our parents.
Hence, making women more aware of financial planning is a small step to take. We can easily be part of the bigger picture. Financial planning is about anticipating future requirements, setting up our goals and being prepared for it.
“Culture and tradition are very strong in India, and finance is still often considered men‘s duty. How can we change this mind set ?”
First, by encouraging women to be earning members in the family or, if they are not willing to, or have no time to take on a job, by teaching them how to invest and plan for a better family future. We can support that with a method and easy processes. That is what we do at Her-Mony.
Second, I am a firm believer in bringing up change by inspiring other women. That is the bigger purpose of Her-Mony: we choose to work with women entrepreneurs who themselves support other women, such as what you do with Jalouse, giving women an opportunity to launch their own business and take more control over their life. Women are more inclined to understand other women challenges. Supporting a woman and helping her grow will encourage her to do the same to others. The change can be exponential.
“What do you like most about what you do? What makes you wake up every day?”
Seeing other people with a fire inside who want to bring up that change. It is so inspiring to meet other people who have this will to change.
Today I see myself as more confident. Maturity helped me pass that phase of stress and fear; nothing gets to me. As women, we go through a lot of emotions, it comes and passes and I know that now, though it took me some time. What really helped was to be able to count on other women friends.
Sometime we have strong feelings and can’t deal with it within our closest circle. Our husband is busy, children do not understand, parents will worry... It’s a gift to be part of a women community and so precious to be able to go to them to get their support.
“Such as Her-Mony, Jalouse is a project made for women to grow their financial independence and help them take more control over their professional life. Would you like to share an advice with our Community?”
I always try to sensitize women about the importance of sound financial planning and investment. Earning is not good enough. Securing the future with savings and genuine financial planning is as equally important.