How women can take control of their money and be financially independent


We were out last week with a large group of women travellers. It was a fun trip filled with great stories from the lives of our co-travellers, recounted with great glee. The average age of the group was 65 years. It is amazing how things have changed for these women.

Many of them had worked all their lives and were now enjoying retirement on their own terms. The best stories were told by the widowed women, many of whom said they felt free finally. Such a sad commentary on how they pledged their lives to their men and family, sacrificing many joys. In the not too distant past, these women would have been banished to the background. Not anymore.

These women were spending on clothes and accessories, enjoying their outings and holidays, and laughing and having a good time. It was a joy to find that attitudes about life and more importantly their sense of self-esteem had changed dramatically. Each evening we had conversations about something, led by one of us: children, in-laws, husband, work, men, and food. Here is what I discussed when it was my turn to speak about money.

First, it is wonderful to enjoy financial independence. Do not shortchange that idea of money that you can call your own and allocate to whatever you wish, for anything at all. If you are employed, set a corpus up for yourself; if not, ensure that a portion of the family’s income is invested in your name, for your use. Not all us have the benefit of pension income, but we must have money that is ours to use. Ask for it by all means.

Second, assets serve a limited purpose. Do not overdo assets like real estate, gold, silver and such stuff. Many of these end up being hoards of wealth that are kept locked or used in a limited manner. Once, when girls had to be given their share of the family wealth, they were sent away with gold and jewels to the husband’s home; and to a woman who could not access her husband’s family wealth directly, the streedhan was her security. Today’s women have their education and jobs to secure them. They don’t need gold. Not beyond its ornamental value.

Third, do not obsess about passing wealth over to your children. We live in times of obsessive parenting. Sometimes, our guilt about being working mothers leads to needless generosity with kids using the money we earned. By all means support your children and enable their growth if you so wish, even after you have provided for their well-being and education. But draw the line at some point, when your kids have begun to earn money. They will do much better when they have to fend for themselves.

Fourth, there is nothing complex about investing and finance. Money left idle loses value, while money deployed to work earns an income or grows in value, or both. Every investment option can be understood in terms of where the money is deployed, and what happens to it. Return is what you get by allowing others to use your money; risk is the quality of that promise to give you something for using your money. Ensure that your money is put to use by scrupulous institutions whose promises are valuable. Don’t hand it over to your streetside broker and hope that trading on the screen will magically grow it.

Fifth, do not part with your wealth too easily and too early. One of the women told us the story of how her PF proceeds were used by her brothers to set up businesses that failed. She was lucky enough to inherit the wealth her husband left behind. But her warning that money in the hands of an elder attracts many in the near and extended family evoked resonance. Many dismiss the needs of senior citizens, and generalise they don’t need much money. Whatever is yours should be in your control, so you can decide how to spend, save, and give it away at a time that you deem appropriate.

Sixth, do not assume that all the wealth you have should be hoarded and kept in a place you deem safe, until you are alive. Money as we just learnt, has many uses and there are many institutions who will use your money for their business and pay you for doing so. Only a portion of your wealth might be needed for your routine everyday activity and annual spending. The rest must be invested efficiently to earn an income or grow in value. What you do not need immediately should be allowed to appreciate. Allocate your wealth between growth and income, based on what you have and what you need. Do not allow fear and misinformation to guide your investment decisions.

Seventh, do not provide information about and access to your money to others, however close you deem them to be. Many in the group had “delegated” money management to their children, spouse, financial adviser, or a relative. As long as they got money when they needed it, they did not care much about what was there and how it was being held. This is a lazy, indiscreet and callous attitude towards money. Learn to manage your money and take charge. Secure your bank account, learn Net banking, make those trips to the ATM yourself, and check your accounts from time to time. It takes a few minutes, but places you in complete control.

Eighth, keep the paperwork in order. Pay your taxes and file your returns. Ensure that nominations are completed and in order for all your wealth and investments. Consolidate and hold fewer investments so that acting on them is easier. Close accounts that are not in use or have matured.

We did a quick round of polling that evening, converting these eight pointers into questions, and seeking yes or no as answers from the group. Sadly, our fun loving women scored too low, the average score for yes being three out of eight. It is wonderful to enjoy the powers of money as a currency for fun; it is equally important to acquire a strategic orientation to personal finance.


Meet the stylish entrepreneur making cannabis gear that women actually want

April Pride poses in the well-curated passageway of the downtown building where Van der Pop is located in Seattle.(Credit: Kristen Angelo/Narratively)

This article originally appeared on Narratively.

April Pride is standing on a side street north of Little Italy in New York with a cell phone pressed against her ear, telling someone on the other end that she needs ten-to-fifteen feet of rope. She’s traveled here for one night from her home in Seattle to host a salon about cannabis and sex at the Alchemist’s Kitchen, a shop in the East Village that sells herbal remedies and botanical medicines. But first, she’s ordering material for a sail she’s erecting over the entrance to her shop called Van der Pop in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, which sells high-end cannabis products for women. It’s a hard-to-find, sleek spot located up some stairs and above a restaurant. She wants to give her clients as much privacy as possible.

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“Women don’t want to go into dispensaries,” Pride says, noting men run many of the shops. “They find them intimidating and they’re worried they’re going to run into their kid’s teacher.”

Pride, who is 41 with free-flowing auburn hair, launched Van der Pop in January 2016 and has become an unlikely voice for reversing the stigma that has followed women smokers for years.

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Dasheeda Dawson, the southwest regional market leader for Women Grow, an organization that connects women in the cannabis industry, explains when she “came out of the cannabis closet,” other women of color criticized her for being open about smoking around her thirteen-year-old son, especially having grown up during the War on Drugs.

“I think the judgment is that you don’t have a high regard for yourself,” she says.

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Pride also credits Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign to her being anti-drug for much of her childhood. She grew up in a Virginia town where people maintained southern hospitality, but extended invites into their social circle based on a family’s standing. Her parents openly smoked joints and she still remembers how appalled she was. She didn’t smoke in high school, but began warming up to marijuana in college and was especially turned on to an easy-going lifestyle after visiting the west coast one summer.

Now, this demographic is gaining a foothold in the industry. Thirty-six percent of executives are female compared to just twenty-two percent in other industries,and women make up forty percent of users annually. Of these women, over eleven million are over the age of 26. Under two million are teenagers.

Pride broke into the industry with little knowledge about the science and research behind the drug’s benefits, but knew it made movie night with her husband more fun, helped her bond with her kids, and boosted her sex life. For the most part, she seems like an average working mom who enjoys getting high.

“When I discovered Van der Pop, I thought ‘What a breath of fresh air,’” says Gigi Mae Cueva, a merchandising consultant who wants to work with Pride and is a cannabis user herself. “Men just think women are such delicate figures that it’s not what they expect. I think with [Pride] coming into play, it sheds some light that we do think about [weed] in a certain way, in a sexualized way. I think it’s great Van der Pop can break that mold.”

The idea behind Van der Pop is to create chic products that mimic other aspects of customers’ lives. If they can have beautiful purses, why shouldn’t their weed accessories be up to par, too? Several of Van der Pop’s products are designed to maintain discretion as well. One of Pride’s newest items, a leather purse called Poppins Stash Bag (named after Mary Poppins’ medicine bag stowing her ‘spoonful of sugar’), is outfitted with a bank lock to keep out snoopers. She’s also planning to sell swaths of odor-blocking fabric so women can arrive at cocktail parties without betraying their stashes to hostesses or guests.

Van der Pop has also become a place to talk freely about topics like sexual pleasure, menopause, cramps, and the portrayal of female users seen on social media or in advertisements, like “dab girls” who smoke in thongs or pose with a bong between their legs. Pride whips out a water-stained copy of mg Magazine, a leading cannabis trade magazine, and flips to an ad featuring a photo of a woman in a low-slung dress. She comments that this is modest by usual standards.

For about an hour after the talk ends, the women mingle and consider the products. One group revisits the CBD clitoris revelation. “Who wouldn’t want that?” a woman asks rhetorically.

Later, Pride grabs an IPA to decompress. She and her husband don’t drink in the house, so this is a treat. As the night wears on, she goes outside to smoke a joint. She thinks the event went well and approves of the intimate setting. It makes women feel comfortable asking potentially embarrassing questions.

“It’s going to be impactful if it’s grassroots,” she says of the movement. “No pun intended.”

Women’s Day: T-Hub, Anthill Launch Smart Women Angels Network in India

Women's Day: T-Hub, Anthill Launch Smart Women Angels Network in India

T-Hub on Tuesday said it along with Anthill, a speed scaling platform for early-growth stage startups, has launched a international startup initiative in India – the Smart Women Angels Network (SWAN).

T-Hub is a startup incubator set up by the Telangana Government to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit in women and create awareness about investing and recognising the need for women investors, T-Hub and Anthill have launched SWAN, a release said.

SWAN, which has its roots in Barcelona has now spread its wings to reach India to create a network of women angel investors who will then collaborate with their counterparts from across the world to interact with and invest in startups, it said.

Jay Krishnan, CEO, T-Hub said, “To encourage women to be active members of the ecosystem, T-Hub in collaboration with Anthill, has launched SWAN in India. We truly believe this reputed programme will not only suffuse the culture in the country, but change the dynamics of the community to make it more inclusive.”

Prasad Vanga, founder and CEO, Anthill said, “With the launch of SWAN, we want to boost the presence of more women investors in India.”

Cristina Ventura, president of SWAN and an Angel and Fund-of-Funds Investor, said, “The percentage of women investors around the world is very less. For example, in the US just 20 percent of the investors are women, in Europe it is 5 pe cent, in the UK it is 14 percent while in Spain it is just 8 percent. In India, the numbers are very low.”

“SWAN believes in creating an inclusive network that can make a positive difference,” added Ventura.

Tags: T Hub, Anthill, SWAN, Women’s Day, India

30 Top Cities for Women Entrepreneurs

Top Cities for Women Entrepreneurs

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Different communities may attract different kinds of entrepreneurs. Some qualities — such as customers with sufficient disposable income, availability of a large employee pool, low taxes and fewer regulations — certainly tend to make a community more appealing to entrepreneurs  in general. Still other aspects of a community might appeal to a specific type of entrepreneur.

In an effort to determine what kinds of entrepreneurs are drawn to different communities, Small Business Trends recently conducted a study of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners to discover the types of business owners drawn to various U.S. cities.

The study then looked at the characteristics of communities that drew each group. Over the next few weeks, we’ll share these results.  We’ll look at what communities seem to draw the most women entrepreneurs, minority entrepreneurs and small business entrepreneurs and why. We’ll also look at the results of a NerdWallet study that attempted to rank cities by their attractiveness to young entrepreneurs. But let’s get started with the top cities for women in business.

Top Cities for Women Entrepreneurs

When it comes to cities attracting women entrepreneurs, some of the names on the list shouldn’t be too surprising. Top communities on the list are known as leaders in tourism, fashion, finance, media and entertainment. But some have also seen the burgeoning of women owned engineering and tech firms.

Some communities also offer organizations and incentive programs aimed at promoting women entrepreneurs.

Here are the top cities for women entrepreneurs based on the data:

New York City

Top Cities for Women Entrepreneurs NYC

Since New York City is the biggest city by population in the U.S., it shouldn’t be too surprising it also has the highest number of female entrepreneurs by a decent margin, with 413,899 according to recent Census data. In addition to the large population, the city also draws in a large base of female entrepreneurs thanks to booming industries like tourism, fashion, finance and media. NYC also offers resources specifically for women entrepreneurs in the city.

Los Angeles

The second most populous city in the U.S. also boasts the second largest number of women entrepreneurs, with 192,358. Due in part to the large entertainment industry in Los Angeles, there is a huge need for businesses in a variety of creative fields such as hospitality, tourism, transportation and food service.  Millennial and women entrepreneurs make up a large number of business owners in these niches.


With 123,632 women business owners, Chicago is third on the list both in terms of women business owners and general population. Chicago’s large business community can be attributed in part to its many professional and educational institutions as well as to a decent tourism industry, which impacts everything from shopping to food. The city has also seen growth in female owned engineering and tech firms in recent years.


Top Cities for Women Entrepreneurs

The fourth largest city in terms of population is also the fourth on the list of top cities for women entrepreneurs with 102,813. Aside from the population, Houston, like other Texas city’s, has no corporate income and personal income tax. Houston also has a number of incentives and programs, such as enterprise zones and industrial districts, aimed at getting business owners to start or relocate their businesses to the city.  It’s strong medical community attracts women entrepreneurs as does tech, finance and the law.


Dallas is another city that benefits from the state’s tax structure when it comes to attracting new business owners — of any kind. The ninth largest city in terms of general population has 52,798 female business owners. Aside from the tax structure, the city’s infrastructure, cost of living and available workforce may contribute to its attraction. Target industries include building, food manufacturing, media, IT and more.

San Diego

With 47,942 female business owners, the eighth most populous city ranks sixth on this list. San Diego draws in entrepreneurs from a variety of industries, including aerospace, maritime, cybersecurity and manufacturing, through research, advocacy and similar support programs.

San Antonio

Top Cities for Women Entrepreneurs San Antonio

San Antonio has about 44,295 women business owners and ranks seventh in terms of overall population. Again, in addition to favorable tax conditions , San Antonio also offers some property tax programs that could benefit local businesses, along with foreign trade zones, industrial districts and more incentive programs to bring businesses to the area.  A high number of women business owners tap into lucrative retail, restaurant and communication niches.


The sixth largest city in terms of general population has 44,294 women business owners. Technology, manufacturing, bioscience and advanced business services are all growing industries in Phoenix. The city also has a diverse talent pool and proximity to several high profile educational institutions. In addition, the Women’s Enterprise Foundation offers scholarships and grants to women in Phoenix looking to further their education and leadership skills.


Philadelphia has the fifth largest population in the U.S. and about 40,906 women business owners. The city’s neighborhood revitalization efforts, skilled workforce, centralized location and corporate support initiatives are draws for businesses.  Women business owners are concentrated in healthcare, construction, technology and staffing services.

San Francisco

Top Cities for Women Entrepreneurs

With 40,135 female entrepreneurs, the city with the 14th largest population has a larger than average entrepreneurial community thanks to a diverse and innovative business ecosystem. San Francisco’sresearch centers, universities and business leaders make it an attractive option for tech business owners and those in creative industries.  Successful woman owned companies in San Francisco are in technology, mental health, dermatology, printing and staffing services.


Although Miami is 44th in the U.S. in terms of population, the city has 39,762 female business owners. Part of the reason Miami draws in so many women entrepreneurs is its business incentives such as enterprise and empowerment zones. The city also has a vibrant tourism industry and diverse talent pool.


Though Detroit was hit hard by the recent recession, the city has 38,576 female business owners. The city  ranks 18th in terms of general population. Since emerging from the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, Detroit has a high demand for products and services in a huge range of industries. And lax regulations and low barriers to entry make it a great option for women entrepreneurs just starting out or looking to break into new markets. In addition, Detroit is packed full of engineers and manufacturing professionals. And there’s even a growing tech sector attracting business owners to the area.


Top Cities for Women Entrepreneurs

Memphis ranks 20th in the country in terms of population and has 35,710 women business owners. The city offers tax incentives, site selection assistance, research services and similar resources in order to attract businesses to the area. Target industries include bioscience, manufacturing, green business and music and tourism.


The 11th in overall population and fourteenth in number of women business owners, Austin boasts 34,253 female entrepreneurs. The capital of Texas offers the same tax benefits as the other Texas cities on this list. And with a vibrant music, arts and creative scene, it’s a big draw for creative and young entrepreneurs.


Charlotte ranks 17th in terms of general population and has 32,008 female entrepreneurs. The city draws in women business owners with incentives like tax credits, financial programs and even contracting opportunities. The city also has several business districts that it is working to revitalize.


Top Cities for Women Entrepreneurs seattle washington

The 22nd largest city in the U.S. has about 29,617 women business owners. With programs like business financing, workforce development and site selection assistance, Seattle is working to draw even more entrepreneurs to set up shop in the area. The city even has several outlined areas where it designates funds specifically for services that benefit businesses in the area.

Fort Worth

With 29,425 female business owners, Fort Worth attracts entrepreneurs with its low cost of living, business friendly tax structure and talented labor pool. The city, which is 16th in terms of overall population, also offers enterprise zones, public improvement districts and neighborhood empowerment zones.


Portland currently has about 29,074 women business owners. It ranks 28th in overall population. The city boasts a vibrant creative community that attracts entrepreneurs ranging from chefs to designers. It also offers financial support, business districts and other economic development strategies.

San Jose

one of the Top Cities for Women Entrepreneurs is San Jose CA

The 10th most populous city in the U.S. has about 28,981 female entrepreneurs. San Jose works to attract entrepreneurs through workforce development, real estate and cultural programs.


With 28,725 women business owners, Denver is currently the 23rd largest city by population in the U.S. and the city boasts qualities that would attract any entrepreneur regardless of gender. A big part of the city’s draw for business owners is its young, active and energetic workforce. Some of the industries that the city is focusing on include health and wellness, energy and bioscience.


The 12th largest city in the U.S. currently has about 28,749 female entrepreneurs. Jacksonville is working to redevelop some of its economically distressed areas and promote private capital investment for businesses in the area, part of what might draw some of those business owners to the city.


Top Cities for Women Entrepreneurs

Atlanta’s 28,172 women business owners make it 22nd on this list, though it’s fortieth by overall population. The city works to attract business owners and grow its business community by providing small business loans, issuing bonds to spur commercial development and promote other relevant business incentives.


As the 13th largest city in the U.S., Indianapolis boasts 27,668 women business owners. Indianapolis touts its ability to offer businesses all the accessibility of a small city, but the amenities that you would find in much larger cities. There are also tax abatement programs, grants and similar business incentive programs offered.

Washington, D.C.

The nation’s capital currently has about 27,064 female entrepreneurs, and is the 24th largest city by population. Government contractors and political service providers are of course more prevelant in Washington, D.C. than they are in many other cities. But the city also offers business improvement districts, community development corporations and similar programs to improve its business community.


Top Cities for Women Entrepreneurs columbus ohio

Columbus is the 15th most populous city in the U.S. and has about 27,044 women business owners. The city has some very specific goals for adding capital investment and creating jobs in the community. So the community is working to attract investments for local businesses, connecting startups with local resources and helping existing businesses to expand.


The 26th largest city in the U.S. is also 26th in terms of female entrepreneurs, with 24,599. With business friendly features like steady tax rates, counseling and talent recruitment, the local government and business community both work to create a diverse and tight-knit business community in Baltimore.


With the 25th largest population in the U.S., Nashville boasts 24,115 women entrepreneurs. Known as Music City, Nashville’s creative community is part of what makes it a draw for entrepreneurs. In addition, the city offers employment, investment and tax incentives for certain businesses.

El Paso

Top Cities for Women Entrepreneurs

The 19th largest city in the country, El Paso has about 21,872 female business owners. In addition to the tax reasons that make Texas such a popular destination for just about any entrepreneur, El Paso has business incentives like foreign trade zones.

Las Vegas

The booming tourism industry in Las Vegas is part of what attracts some business owners, including the 21,421 female business owners, to the city. Tax credits, financing and other state and local incentive program also attract some entrepreneurs to Las Vegas.

Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City has 20,163 women business owners and is the 29th largest city in terms of overall population. A big draw to this city is its low cost of living. But there are also some business specific programs like enterprise zones, foreign trade zones and more.

Images: NYCEDC, Visit Houston, DCCD San Antonio, San Francisco Travel, Greater Memphis Chamber, Visit Seattle, San Jose, Atlanta, Brand Columbus, Visit El Paso

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