Vinita Michael is a jewellery designer, launching her eponymous brand last year. In her native India, where she graduated from the National Institute of Fashion Technology in Gandhinagar, she says her creations were picked up by stars from the Bollywood film industry. The 30-year-old, who moved to Dubai four years ago, is married with a three-year-old son and a baby on the way.
q How did your upbringing shape your attitude towards money?
a The importance of saving was instilled in me as a child, but it was only much later in life that I learnt the importance of wisely investing my savings. As a child I was constantly told that property is one of the most secure forms of investing and I believed this for a long time, but experience has taught me that there are other more lucrative instruments for investing your money.
How much did you get paid for your first job?
Straight out of college, I was a junior designer for a reputed jewellery house in India, for which I received an equivalent of Dh1,700 a month.
Are you a spender or saver?
I am a wise spender and a committed saver. You should always have at least two months’ family income in cash kept aside for times of emergency. The fundamentals of a strong financial plan are mandated monthly saving, ensuring that the savings are invested in instruments that provide good growth, and most importantly living within your means. While it is important to save, it is equally important to have a good standard of living. This is possible by having a budget in place for every expense.
What is your most cherished purchase?
A house we recently picked up in our home country. It is a modest two-bedroom but in a great location in Bangalore, India.
Have you ever had a month where you feared you could not pay the bills?
Fortunately not yet, this has mostly to do with strong budgeting and low overheads.
Where do you save your money?
As a rule I save a minimum of 10 per cent of my income into a combination of fixed deposits and mutual funds. I invest primarily in India. This has become easier now because of the availability of platforms that allow us to invest directly into funds while in Dubai. My husband and I also have a certified fee-only financial planner who reviews our plans on an annual basis and helps change our saving strategy as per the market.
Do you prefer paying by credit card or in cash?
Cash – it helps with tracking expenses and living within a budget.
What has been your best investment?
Deciding to register my label, Vinita Michael, in early 2015.
What do you most regret spending money on?
When I have to spend out of carelessness, such as on parking tickets or speeding fines.
What financial advice would you offer your younger self?
Start investing earlier and ensure your money works for you. Compound interest is a wonderful thing, and the earlier you start investing the better your assets will look.
Do you have a plan for the future?
My husband and I have a rather detailed 40-year financial plan. The primary objective was wealth creation, protection and growth. Now that we have protected the immediate assets and the family, our current objective is to save and grow our wealth.
What would you raid your savings account for?
We have accounted for predictable expenses, such as a new office, children’s education and a new car, and unforeseen expenses, such as our demise or temporary disability. Should an unforeseen situation arise, I hope we will have adequate savings to help us back on our feet.
* Sananda Sahoo