In an exclusive interview with Malini Bhupta on the eve of Women’s Day, actor Pooja Hegde, who made her Bollywood debut in the film Mohenjodaro, says that money lessons for her began at the tender age of 10. Her mother, Lata Hegde, told her that if she walked half the distance to school, then she would be able to save `2 every time she took the rickshaw. Lessons in money started early for her thanks to her mother and Pooja even now ensures that she gets more bang for her bucks. She says: “The important thing my mother taught me is to value money and the importance of saving. This is a fundamental part of who I am today.” So even though she spulrges on swanky cars, Pooja saves 10 per cent of her income without fail. For someone who claims that she doesn’t understand money too well, Pooja knows the importance of asset allocation. She puts a portion of her regular savings in low-risk instruments like bonds and lets her mother Lata invest the rest in more risky instruments such as stocks.
Money Advice It is important to have money because it brings a certain degree of independence. Money is a great way to support one’s dreams, she says. Pooja compares life and work to a game where money is the score. “There’s no fun playing a game if you are not monitoring the score.” Apart from this, she believes that women must know their worth and seek value. “It is important for women to know their worth. When women negotiate hard, they are often called demanding but nobody finds this attribute odd in a man. Women must learn to ask for what they believe they deserve.”
Big Purchase “My first big purchase was a BMW 5-Series in Bluestone Silver. I drive it whenever I get the time. Owning the car has been a dream come true,” Pooja gushes.
Money Mistake In the initial years, Pooja says she lost money in stocks as she did not understand it at all but now her mother has helped her recoup some of the losses because she is now very good at it.
Next Big Purchase A house in Mumbai is everyone’s dream and so is true for Pooja as well. She says: “Sometime soon I hope to buy a home of my own in Bandra.”
Women’s Day Message Women, says this 25-year-old, must believe in themselves. She says: “I think a lot of women must start believing in themselves. It is okay to have dreams for yourself. If you believe in yourself the universe will align itself and make it happen.”