Skip to main content

Your Life, Your Money, Your Terms: Key Takeaways From Amanda Steinberg’s Book

When it comes to professional careers, Indian women have come a long way in the last century. In fact, it’s normal for a woman to have a day job or run her own business.

As a result, today many women are making a significant income, if not equal or more than their husbands.

However, when it comes to managing our money, we have a lot more work to do. Specifically, we continue to rely on our husbands on money matters, we’re overwhelmed with investment jargon, and we are narrowly focused on income and budgeting.

I recently have the privilege to meet Amanda Steinberg, the author of “Worth It – Your Life, Your Money, Your Terms” and blogger behind DailyWorth, that helps women earn more, save more and spend smarter.

In this article, I’d like to share with you my key takeaways from Amanda’s book as it relates to Indian women and how you can apply these learnings in your own life.

Our Problems with Money

At the most fundamental level, our problem with money arises from the stories we tell ourselves. Our personal experiences, thoughts, perceptions and ideas about money, shape our beliefs.

Specifically, there are four problems we have with money.

  1. I need to spend money on luxury goods, nice car and clothes

You have an excellent, well-paying job. You frequently meet with customers or are seen as a role model in your community of friends and family. Or you are expected to buy expensive gifts for loved ones just because you’re getting paid a hefty amount at your job.

This puts tremendous pressure on you. You’re expected to dress well and exude confidence. You’re expected to be a nice, giving person.

This type of external pressure knowingly or unknowingly forces you to purchase luxury goods, expensive cars or the latest fashions. These costs up quickly, leaving you little or no savings.

  1. I can’t be spiritual and care about money – they’re opposites

Men are “built” to reason and provide. Women are supposed to emote and nurture. This belief is highly prevalent among Indians.

Specifically, Indian women are expected to be religious. A woman’s job is to pray for the family’s well-being. Women are not expected to manage money. That’s best left to their husbands or men in the family.

It’s true that women are responsible for the monthly budget or bringing in a steady income. For instance, housewives are given a set amount each month. Or professional women bring in a paycheck each month.

A major portion of the paycheck, if not the entire amount, is deposited in the bank account that is managed by the husband.

The point here is that women generally don’t to have the overall financial picture.

  1. Asking for a salary raise will get me fired

In the workforce, men are associated with aggression, independence, and competitiveness. Women, on the other hand, are associated with being nurturing, nice and altruistic.

Women who exhibit the feminine traits are seen as lacking leadership qualities. On the other hand, women who exhibit the masculine traits are seen as unfeminine, mean and unlikable.

This “double-bind” works against women and they are frequently not given appropriate salary increases. According to Amanda, this problem can be solved as soon as women take ownership of managing their money.

Women can and should ask for salary increases without apprehension, guilt, fear or shame.

  1. Managing money is too technical

The money jargon we hear in the news or from our significant other can be overwhelming. Words such as stock (also known as shares or equity), bond, index, portfolio, diversification, asset class and asset allocation sound too technical.

We’re already tired of working all week in addition to taking care of our family. So trying to learn money jargon is one more thing that we don’t want to do.

But managing money doesn’t have to be technical. All you need to do is carve out less than two hours to understand the basic terminology to get you started.

How to Overcome Your Money Problems

  1. Change your money story

We need to change the stories we tell ourselves. For example, we need to stop saying:

  • My husband/partner will take care of me, should we run into money issues
  • People will think I’m selfish if I talk about money and don’t give gifts
  • Men are solely responsible for managing money
  • I have bad luck with mone

Instead, we need to replace these statements with:

  • I’m good with money, money is force for good
  • Money is a spiritual expression
  • Saving money doesn’t mean I’m selfish
  • My earning capacity is limitless
  1. Focus on Net Worth and Self Worth

“Net Worth” are the two golden words. All this means is that you want to take an inventory of your assets and loans/debt. Add them up and you’ll end up with your net worth. Your goal should be keeping your net worth headed in the positive direction.

Assets are primarily composed of the market value of your home, cash savings, investment account, and any other savings accounts. Loans and debt include any mortgage on your home, car loans, credit card debt, and any other types of loans.

If you have a negative net worth, don’t be hard on yourself. Instead, you need to take the steps towards a positive net worth by reducing your loans and debt.

In addition to Net Worth, you want to focus on Self Worth. You are the best judge when it comes to self-worth. Don’t sell yourself short.

  1. Take the time to understand basic financial terminology

As we discussed, investing and money management doesn’t need to be difficult. Below are definitions of common money jargon in plain English.

Asset: It is a financial thing you own

Stock (also known as shares or equity): Ownership in a given company

Bond: A loan you make to a government or company

Index: A number that measures a sector of the economy. The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) is an index of Indian companies.

Portfolio: Your investment in assets such as stocks, bonds, and gold.

Diversification: Owning different kinds of assets

Asset Class: Categories of various things you own. For example, “stocks” is an asset class. Similarly, “bonds” and “real estate” are also asset classes.

Asset Allocation: The distribution of your investment across different asset classes.

Fund: A mix of stocks, bonds, and other cash equivalents.

  1. Manage our money without shame, apprehension, guilt or fear

Once you start taking ownership of your finances and understand how money works, you’ll experience long-term happiness.

When you start to manage money, do so without shame, apprehension, guilt or fear. If you are married or in a relationship, be honest with your partner and explain why it’s necessary for you to have the overall financial picture.

Two Actionable Tips For Your Money Problems

Now that you have an understanding of our problems with money and how you can overcome them, I’d like to wrap up with two actionable tips that you can implement right away.

These tips will allow you to increase your Net Worth, so you can experience an excellent financial future.

  1. Invest in Lost Cost Funds such as an Index Fund

When you make an investment, be sure that you are paying very low investment fees. For instance, if you hire an investment advisor, you may be paying a hefty fee for someone to manage your money.

Investment fees of 0.05% to 1% are generally acceptable but anything over 3% is high.

Paying high fees, means you get to keep less profits from your investments. Higher investment fees are not only detrimental to you in the short term but also in the long term. You’ll earn less compound interest on your investments and can negatively impact the value of your overall portfolio.

  1. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Compound Interest

Let’s use an example to illustrate the power of compound interest. Say you had an extra Rupees 15,000 each month that you decide to save in the bank at a fixed deposit rate of 8% per year.

After 10 years, you would end up with 26 lakh rupees. After 20 years, you would end up with 83 lakh rupees. And after 30 years, you would have a whopping 205 lakh rupees.

Thus, money that compounds over a long period of time, grows significantly.


I hope you got much value from this article. In summary, Indian women need to take greater ownership of managing their money. Budgeting and income generation isn’t enough. Managing your money is necessary.

When you start ownership of your finances, it is necessary to have control over your emotions. This means not rushing into making investment decisions and not letting your own stories about money get in your way.

Finally, be fearless and don’t let shame or guilt get in your way.

Author Bio:

Jinal Sampat is a jewellery designer at Sampat Jewellers Inc. Her focus is on innovation and creation of jewellery pieces that are meaningful and hold long-term value. She creates versatile mangalsutra designs with Indo-Western elements. Jinal holds her graduate degree from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). You can find her on Instagram.

Naaree Interviews Riticka Srivastav Of Book Thela

New graduate, Riticka Srivastav is an inspiring example of a successful woman entrepreneur in India. Her online bookstore, Book Thela, offers both new and pre-owned books at throwaway prices all over India.

Book Thela has a huge collection of books of different categories ranging from fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, featured library editions, 49 club, bestsellers and will soon be adding entrance exam books as well.

Riticka always had a passion for entrepreneurship and has worked with many startups in the past for her internships. The main purpose behind starting the venture was to spread happiness by uniting bibliophiles with their favourite reads at affordable prices.

Naaree caught up with this young entrepreneur to find out what drives her to do what she does.

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur? Did you always love it or was it something you got into?

After doing a side entrepreneurship stint in college where I was selling packaged food products to hostel students (who had no access to food at night except the mess), my passion for entrepreneurship deepened and that’s when I realized that I wanted to start something on my own one day.

Also, coming from an entrepreneurial family, my parents always encouraged me to follow my dreams and passions and therefore I started my own company, Book Thela.

When do you know that it is no longer just an idea in your mind, and that you can really turn it into a lucrative business?

Research plays a very important role to understand if the business will be profitable and sustainable or not. Before starting any business, proper research and analysis should be done to understand the target market, the profitability of the business model, the feasibility of the product/service and other major aspects of the business.

I did a thorough research and analysis about the business before starting my venture. It helped me in making a lot of tough decisions like outsourcing shipping, the supply-chain of the business etc.

What inspired you to start out on your own or with your partners? What learning lessons can you share from your startup experience?

I was in my last semester of college and was actively looking for internships for my training period when my father, Dr. Niraj Srivastav, who is an International Award winning author for the book “Daggers of Treason”, suggested the brilliant idea of selling used and second-hand books online.

He knew about my passion for books and entrepreneurship and encouraged me to follow my dreams. Whenever I was in doubt of whether I should go for a job instead of starting my own venture so soon, he always used to tell me that stating my own venture is not going to be easy but it will be worth it and he’s absolutely right about that.

I did a lot of research after that to ensure that Book Thela becomes a sustainable business and officially launched it on 22nd March, 2017.  The main aim of starting the venture was to unite broke bibliophiles like me with their favourite reads without the hassle of travelling to far off places to buy cheap books.

As a college student with a limited budget, I had to travel a lot to different places to buy cheap second-hand books. This is when I realized that I could mold my business idea around this problem and provide a solution for the same.

The learning lessons from my startup experience are:

  1. Always be prepared to face challenges
  2. Innovation is an integral part for running a business
  3. Age is just a number. All you need is determination and perseverance to run a start-up.
  4. Having the right team is really important

What are some challenges that you faced initially when you started out? Do you have some examples to share and advice to women entrepreneurs on overcoming them?

The major challenge which we faced was getting the shipping done on time to create a pleasant experience for the customer.

As logistics is the backbone for any e-commerce company, we decided to outsource our logistics to different courier partners like FedEx, Delhivery, Holisol etc. to ensure that shipping is carried out smoothly without any delays.

And now we are happy to say that Book Thela was able to achieve its break- even point within the first month itself.

My advice for women entrepreneurs:

  1. Have a support system in place whether it’s your family, your friends or even your colleagues.
  2. Always believe in yourself and your business and don’t get knocked down by criticism.
  3. Innovation is necessary to compete in the market.

What are all the things that an entrepreneur needs to keep in mind? I.e. apart from your great idea, what do you need to be armed with?

I would say apart from a great idea, you need to be armed with the following things:

  1. Determination and Perseverance
  2. Passion for entrepreneurship
  3. Support system with people who believe in you and your idea

Do women entrepreneurs find it tougher to get funding for businesses? If yes, why do you think that is?

I personally don’t think that gender has anything to do with getting funding. Investors mainly look at your idea and its profitability and also whether you have the skills to carry out the business while investing. Once you’re able to convince them about the idea, it doesn’t really matter if you’re a man or a woman.

Is it beneficial to have a mentor when you’re starting out on your own? What does a mentor bring to the table?

Absolutely.  Having a mentor not just initially, but through all stages is very important as they help you in making important decisions which would impact the business.

I would say, for me my parents and my friend Akshay, have been my mentors as they’ve helped me in making a lot of tough decisions related to the venture.

Having a mentor brings a lot to the table, as they are able to provide a new perspective of looking at things.

How did you recruit your first team? How difficult was it to get people on board during the initial stages?

I haven’t recruited a team till now but will be expanding soon.

What are 3 key things that you have learned as an entrepreneur?

  1. I have learned that each day will have a new challenge and you will get to learn new things every day.
  2. Making mistakes is important as you get to learn from them.
  3. Understanding the market and their requirements is of utmost important for your business.

What would you describe as your biggest moments of success in your business?

The journey of a start-up is filled with moments of success as you are achieving something new each day whether it’s getting new customers on-board or even getting good reviews from the customer.

All of them add together to make the journey memorable. But one of the biggest moments of success for Book Thela was achieving the break-even point within the first month of starting the business.

You can connect with Book Thela at @book_thela