Note to readers: In this special three-part series, Moneycontrol profiles three women, who are not only in control of their own personal finances but also help other women and families manage their money.
Yesterday we profiled Priya Sunder. Today, meet Kiran Telang, a Mumbai-based certified financial planner (CFP).
Coming from a banking background, Kiran Telang gravitated towards financial planning after reading about CFP certification in a magazine in 2002. She hasn’t looked back since, and today, helps around 100 families achieve financial freedom.
A post-graduate in management from Mumbai University, Telang started her own practice in 2006, became a CFP in 2007, and registered with the SEBI as an investment advisor in 2014.
A banker’s journey
In 1998, Telang started her career in a company that sold packaged water to companies. However, with both her parents being bankers, she soon followed in their footsteps.
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After a short stint of about two months in her first job, Telang joined Bank of Madura (merged with ICICI Bank in 2001), and from there she moved to Axis Bank (then UTI Bank), where she worked from 2000 to 2005.
However, this financial expert always wanted to start her own venture, a dream which was fulfilled in 2006 when she started own business in distribution (of mutual funds and insurance products), and financial planning.
“There was this magazine which used to carry profiles of different professions, explaining the qualifications required or certifications one can do. In 2002, they carried an article about CFP certification, which was pretty new in India. Since, I was already into banking, I knew how products were sold and how people were advised about money. Banks were more focused on selling products, which is something I didn’t enjoy that much,” Telang reminisces.
According to Telang, the 2000s was a time when financial planning was practically unknown in India and the focus was more on product distribution, which primarily meant insurance. “Mutual funds were there, but they were not preferred products.”
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In fact, it was at the launch party of a new fund offer (NFO) by a big mutual fund house that Telang realised that she didn’t want to just sell investment products. “Financial planning felt more holistic to me.”
Earlier business days were tough for her as she struggled to create structures around financial planning processes and documents. Over a period of time, Telang developed her own financial processes.
“I always wanted to see my child grow up. In my practice, I could create a work-life balance, which probably would have been very difficult with a corporate job, especially in banking,’’ she said.
She found the opportunities that a CFP certification opened up very satisfying. “I could actually make a difference in people's lives,” she added.
This financial expert is also thankful for the fact that she faced no discrimination as a woman from the investment community.
Putting life at the centre
According to Telang, her approach to financial planning is to put the requirements of life at the centre, and then build around that.
“Obviously, there are many steps to financial planning. I believe it is important to go deeper into a client's life. What are their driving forces, concerns, pain points, dreams, and aspirations? These aspects are very important, and require a long-term — not a transactional — engagement,” said Telang.
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Telang feels that financial advisors should also act as a coach. “We have to help people take the path they really want to take. It's more like a partnership,” she explained.
Telang says she believes in making a portfolio based on mutual funds as she likes to keep things simple for investors.
For women savers, her advice is to not hold back and take the first step into investing.
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Telang feels wealth is multi-dimensional. “It’s not just about having money, it's also about having other things in life, having fulfilling relationships, having a purpose that makes you get up and go to work every day, which makes you happy. It's also about spirituality. If you don't have enough money, you will be struggling at the base of the pyramid and not be able to go beyond mundane things,” she adds.
The expert loves to watch movies and OTT streams are a preferred way to unwind after a tough day. She also loves taking small holidays, sprinkled over the year.