From Wrist To Wallet: Financial Consultant Roopa Venkatkrishnan’s Tells You How

From Wrist To Wallet: Roopa Venkatkrishnan’s Tells You How

THM Desk
1 Jul 2024 |
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From working at petrol pumps to managing the immense wealth accumulated by HNIs, Roopa Venkatkrishnan is a force to reckon with. Her journey towards success is filled with years of struggle, resilience and an unwavering belief in her own capabilities. Born and raised in Ahmedabad, she always assumed growing up that her South Indian father would recommend her for a job to one of his contacts in textiles. However, she was in for a rude shock when he told her, at the age of 16, that he would not be doing so and she needed to fend for herself. Taking this in her stride, she forged a path breaking trail towards financial independence and has helped countless others do the same. 

How many of us have frantically called up our chartered accountants when we have struggled with finances? On the occasion of National Chartered Accountants (CA) Day, we bring to you an easy to understand conversation with Roopa Venkatkrishnan, Director, Sapient Wealth Advisors & Brokers Pvt Ltd who uses her expertise in financial investments to demystify the jargon laden world of finance and shares invaluable insight on how one can go about building a diversified portfolio with luxury watches as a key component.  

Financial Growth

THM: Your journey has been quite interesting. Tell us a little bit about it. 

Roopa: Honestly I never thought of my journey as interesting but now when I look back I realized that I was unique and I have my father to thank for this. When he told me that he disliked nepotism and that I needed to fend for myself, I was shaken. Uncertainty filled my mind and I had no idea what to do. Soon I realized that I was on my own and it was then that I promised myself that I would never ask anyone for anything in life. That became the cornerstone of my life and continues even today. My first job was at a petrol pump making bills in a male dominated space. Now that I look back, I have no regrets. I took each day as it came and tried to grow from there. Even though I didn’t speak to my parents for 2 years post that, I feel that what my father did was correct. He helped me gain independence, confidence and determination which are qualities I’m proud to possess today. 

THM: Today, you have helped several people build their own wealth. How do you go about doing this? 

Roopa: Due to the circumstances I went though, I wanted to be financially independent but I have had my struggles. Initially, there were days where I had to go hungry or sacrifice on my desires due to lack of money. This taught me a valuable lesson of financial security. Once I got married at the age of 21, I moved to city of Mumbai and city ignited a fire in me to dream and aspire for a better life. I encashed on this opportunity to tried and change people’s life through the financial sector. All humans are aspirational beings no matter where one comes from. Society had evolved a lot in the past 2-3 decades. The way we look at finances, capital and investments has undergone a massive change encouraging us to dream big and achieve greater success. Our dreams have evolved from buying homes, home appliances to spending money on traveling, purchasing art, collecting watches, purchasing furniture- these are all aspirational expenses. All this stems from financial security. After Oxygen, the next thing you need to survive is money. We saw during the pandemic that even to acquire oxygen one needed money. My endeavor is to help people create wealth without utilizing large sums of money. You only require discipline, a plan and a goal. 


THM: Can you draw a comparison between traditional investment products such as mutual funds, stocks, gold and new age products like luxury watches, art, pens etc?

Roopa: History dictates that whenever there is a crisis situation in the world, the only asset class that is tradable across the globe is gold since it is a safe haven. During the pandemic many people went back to ancient times and looked for products that could be used as a barter for the things they need as there was so much uncertainty and confusion. We also saw reduced income from rental properties proving to be an uncertain asset class of income generation. The thought process of traditional instruments of investments needed to be reevaluated. That’s when people began looking for alternatives and art, watches, particular brands became a tradable commodity. Social media too has played a role in spreading awareness about these new age investment products. It has opened a dialogue about what else can be used as a form of investment and how one can procure them. In metro cities, these conversations were common as luxury goods were easily available. However in smaller cities, this was not the case. Thanks to social media, people who were in these tier 2 or tier 3 cities were exposed to luxury goods and they too aspired to own them someday. 

THM: Do you think watches can be a sound investment? For example, if an individual likes a watch that costs Rs 25 lakh, what should his current income be so that I can make this purchase without it upsetting my bank balance?

Roopa: Watches are first and foremost a jewellery piece as it adorns your hand. This becomes a part of your personality that is instantly visible. Not every watch is valuable as an investment as it must check a number of factors before it becomes a sound investment. Once you look at a watch as a piece of jewellery that one desires to wear, then it will either appreciate or depreciate. This can also be an emotional in nature not just financial. Many people hold watches as an heirloom for their future generations and have no intention of selling it. When it comes to income distribution for luxury purchases, one should first ensure that his basic living expenses are taken care of. Once this is done, set aside some portion of your income for emergencies and maintain your emergency fund at all times. Based on each individual’s financial goals, one must allocate either 10% or 20% of their income to luxury or aspirational purchases. This will allow the individual to create a target which he will work towards. 

THM: Lately we have seen a lot of younger people gravitate towards luxury watches due to the fact that they are status symbols. How would you advise Gen Z buyers to plan their purchases in a more informed manner? 

Roopa: In the past few decades society’s definition of needs is changing. There is a section of society where there is immense wealth in the family whose outlook for luxury purchases is very different. A lot of young children also inherit wealth. When you inherit wealth at a young age, your entire outlook towards money and spending changes. Investment is a financial journey that needs to be aligned with your needs, future requirements as well as aspirational purchases. 

Roopa Venkatkrishnan

THM: Is there a right time to start investing and if yes then what are some of the factors that constitute this time? 

Roopa: With regards to when should you invest, it is as soon as you have some money. As soon as you receive pocket money, you should allocate some percent towards investing. It could begin with a small amount of Rs 100 and as you accumulate more wealth, you can subsequently increase your investments. In our country, money is almost a taboo. Our families do not speak of this in table conversations so we have very little awareness on how money works. With our peers, we talk about all our material possessions, however we never stop to ask how exactly did this wealth get created? How can we grow our wealth to be able to afford all these material possessions? For this knowledge, we need to approach an expert who will give us all the necessary knowledge about how to handle money, how to invest it and how to grow your wealth. 

THM: In your experience are people averse to approach experts or are they averse to approaching experts who are women? 

Roopa: That’s a very debatable topic. But in my experience, yes there is some hesitance when women and money are involved. It takes some time for people to ease into the idea and it does require a lot more effort as compared to a male expert. Similarly for watches, it is a very male dominated industry. It’s very difficult for women to carve her place in such an industry, but you have to keep at it as it requires time, but there is also acceptance at the end of the day. 


THM: Can you share with us one story that has touched your heart or has brought about a massive change in someone’s life? 

Roopa: There have been multiple stories of how investments have changed people’s lives. Stories of people who are slum dwellers and have saved up to Rs 1 crore. Small investors like nurses who work at a doctors clinic, I have helped them earn upto Rs1.5-2 crores and she just brought a house valued at Rs 70 lakh from her own savings. All this has been possible through the principle of compounding which is extremely important for me. This is what has made my clients abundant, affluent and financially secure over the years. 

THM: How do you view India as an economy and how do you view it as a destination for luxury?

Roopa: In the last 2 or 3 decades, there have been multiple crisis’s- wars, natural disasters, pandemic, recession, elections and so on. This is all just noise. In spite of all these factors, the growth trajectory of Indian economy has been upwards. We have emerged as one of the largest economies in the world and are on a fast track for exponential growth. I would advise my clients to adopt a mix of both- invest in Indian economy but at the same time enjoy your aspirational purchases as well. 

Rolex Watch

THM: Tell us about your own collection of watches? What kinds of watches do you prefer?

Roopa: I love watches. Even when I did not have wealth to purchase luxury watches, I loved watches because I wanted to match my watch to my outfit. Uptil 2004, I did not have large sums of money to spend on any luxury purchase so I used to wear a watch gifted to me by my aunt. I had no idea about brands at that time. But when I came to Mumbai, I realized that people wear nice watches and it adds something to your personality when you wear a good watch. So I began purchasing some watches that I liked starting with Timex. Then I started looking at a few international options like Guess. After a couple of years, when I started doing well in my career, I bought an Omega which I wore for a long time. On my 50th birthday, my husband gifted me a Rolex watch and I wear it till date and I’m very fond of it.