Financial life skill is required at every stage of life, whether you are a teenager getting pocket money or a matured adult, earning a salary. However, things get challenging for women in our society. Very often, they are unaware of finance management, even if they are the sole bread-earners. They rely on their fathers and husbands to make financial and investment decisions. While the mindset is slowly and steadily changing, there is a need for proactive engagement. Many partners are still reluctant to have open financial talks at home. 

Amidst this darkness, there is one platform shining the light on empowering women. Spearheading the conversation is Nisary Mahesh, Founder of HerMoneyTalks, India’s first one-stop financial platform for women. Along with her co-founder Hemanth Gorur, the platform has been actively creating awareness on finances for women, mentoring them on making better financial decisions and supporting them with the necessary tools and guidance. In a candid conversation with Samira Pillai, Nisary shares the genesis of her venture and what drives her to keep pushing forward.

Financial illiteracy and lack of money management among women has always been a concern, especially in India. When did you get started on your own finance management journey?
Nisary Mahesh

I was and am a daddy’s girl. Because it was just me and my sister, my father wanted us to be involved in his business and taught us financial concepts, business ethics, etc. Though I did not join his business, I developed interest in financial aspects at a very young age.  I started my career in banking and worked for 7-8 years before quitting my job to follow my passion for writing.

In 2009, I made a career shift as a writer which naturally evolved into a content services and online branding firm called Hubwords Media, where we work with a lot of freelancers, especially women. I was working and interacting with a lot of women; many of whom were on a career break. I could make out their frustrations as a lot of them had to quit their successful jobs due to marriage or pregnancy. They wanted to become a good mother but had to give up on financial independence. So, I started like an informal mentoring to help them out, which eventually resulted in my second venture HerMoneyTalks.

Can you go back to a specific moment in time that you felt that promoting financial literacy among women was something you needed to do?
There were two definitive instances. One was something that happened in my own family. A relative who was working overseas earned well but was not good at financial management. Her finances were managed by her husband, who was in India. She would keep the amount she needed for herself, and wire the rest to her husband and would not ask how he spent the money. Eventually, they got divorced. It was only after she came to India that she realised her husband had been living with another woman. She had retired by then and was left homeless with no savings!

The second was something that happened to a close friend. She lived a good life. However, only after her husband’s sudden death, she came to know that he had taken a heavy home loan and that they were in a debt trap. She was shattered, not knowing how to manage it. 

Two well educated and successful women had to face such lows due to their passiveness towards financial matters. There are many such stories around. I realised that many women go through similar cluelessness, even with their own money. When I just researched some more, I found that INR 14000 crore is left unclaimed in banks. This is mainly because the women don’t know where their husbands invest their money in. Same with insurance!

Being an ex-banker, I thought I could help women manage their finances. I have a content services firm, and finance is one of our key domains. I thought, why not start a portal where I can provide informative content, stories and people can understand the importance of financial literacy. That is how HerMoneyTalks started in 2019. It slowly evolved from just content to workshops. And from there, we started building a community for women.  Now, with a  community of 25,000 women, we are launching curated financial products of all categories like investment, insurance and loans on our site, making it a one-stop financial platform for women. And it is a dream to financially empower 1 lakh women by the end of 2021.

How does this entire ecosystem work, especially in building awareness and financial confidence among women who are engaging with you?

Kerala Startup Mission

Conducting ‘How to Manage Your Money Like a Boss’ at Kerala Startup Mission

Through content and financial awareness workshops, at colleges, women platforms and corporate, we build awareness. Our workshops are designed to create awareness, change mindsets, and build confidence. For example, a  woman wanting to start a new business may not know how to fund her enterprise or what the plausible loan options she can have. Often, many women think they don’t have access or are unaware of the available options. So, through our mentoring, workshops and community activities, our primary focus is on three things – create access, awareness and confidence.

Considering the mixed demographics in the country, which tool (blogs, interviews, webinars, consultations) has been most effective in communicating basic or additional knowledge?
All the tools are equally effective. I believe it depends on what language is being used. Financial articles and content everywhere are generally targeting men and therefore use an advanced language that is appealing them. Naturally, a majority of women are not going to find it interesting. 

That is why, irrespective of the tool or medium, when women hear other women talk about finance or attend a workshop that appeals to them or involves them, they will relate to it. Some people like to read, while some prefer videos. Some people would like to have that one-on-one interaction, while some prefer workshops.

Your website says “Why Women- Adore us, Talk about us and Love us”. What makes it so? 
Women feel that we understand them. We talk based on our experiences. The language we use is neither objective nor impersonal, which makes our audience relate to us and understand our message. Other sites that focus on giving financial advice to women, generally stick to personal finance or investment advice. They don’t provide a holistic approach with other related matters like legal aspects, debt management, financial planning, etc. We are touching upon everything. Finance is not just about investment advice. It includes wealth creation as well. It requires a mindset and a holistic approach. We encourage the women who come to us to have financial discussions with their partners. There have been cases where the husbands have no qualms talking about such things, but it is the women who are reluctant to initiate the conversation.

Can you share any instances where the women have come back and shared the positive impact that HerMoneyTalks had on their life?

There are many such instances. One was the  friend that I had previously mentioned. We had helped her restructure the loan and counseled her on how to clean up her finances. She was able to restructure her loan from 40k monthly EMI to just 20k. We also aided her in straightening her personal finances.

Through our consultations, many women entrepreneurs have turned their business successful. Most of them were neither aware of the basics of bookkeeping nor the taxation format. For example, startups have Income Tax concessions for the first three years, something you will know only if you have a personal CA. There were women who came to us with no one to give right advice on these things  and were paying heavy tax. 

We have also helped women who wanted to invest their money but did not know how. For parents with only daughters, they have to rely on their daughter’s income once they retire, and the daughter has to ask her husband, as she has no control over her finances. Our society is such that only sons are freely able to take care of their parents, there are women who will want to help, but not independent to do so. Women need to keep aside a small amount from their earnings, so they can help their parents. We advise them to either invest part of their income in Mutual Funds to build a corpus for themselves or try a Recurring Deposit (RD) to build a corpus for various needs. They can invest in medical health insurance for their parents.

Being a young venture yourself, how would you describe the growth of HerMoneyTalks – both as a brand and a business?
The learning process will never end for an entrepreneur. Right now our main focus is to grow as a brand. The first year, we focused to create awareness of our services, evangelise the concept and build the brand. Going in the second year, we are looking towards growing as a business. We are expanding our networks in different cities, getting into more collaborations, etc. We are already in discussion with different partners and are launching chapters in different cities. We are using various platforms to connect with people and growing this as a business.

The last few years have seen many women entrepreneurs in businesses, both service and product-based. What are your general thoughts on women joining the workforce and contributing to the economy? 
I think this is something we need to do, because men and women are talented in their own way. The society does require women to focus on personal commitments, but that doesn’t mean that we have to end our career and spend time at home. We are social beings. We need to get satisfaction by using our knowledge and talents. Also, today, dual-income is very important for the family, and both men and women are equally contributing on a personal and professional front. The kitchen, which was perceived as a woman’s domain, is being equally used by men and women. Lifestyles have changed, especially in the cities. Men are also getting paternity leaves to contribute on a personal front.

So it is not just about who works how, or who is contributing the income. It is about growing as an individual, and growing together, by utilizing their talents and skills. I have seen many educated women simply end their career because of family commitments. However, once their children grow old, they feel restless at home. They will want to rejoin the workforce but assume that they are no longer eligible. This leads to a lot of frustration and depression. So, the psychological impact also matters.

HerMoneyTalks was selected for several leading programs like the NASSCOM 10k Startups, Goldman Sachs program etc. How did these happen and what does it mean for you as a young startup?

Fintech Startup


We had to face several rejections and denials in the initial stage. Many were skeptical about women voluntarily coming forward to talk about their financial issues. Given how society is and because there is an established market for fintech products targeting men, not many believe that there is much scope for products targeting women. Some believed that it would not go beyond a social cause.   But when we started talking to women, the response was overwhelming and when our community growth started accelerating, many brands, institutions and people started approaching us with support and interest for collaboration.

To grow, we have to knock every door available. But we were fortunate that we got the right connections, people, several opportunities and collaborations. Through various ecosystems, , we are looking at growing our network and eventually growing as a company.

It requires a lot of patience in building a venture. Working alone does not lead to building connections, but by joining an ecosystem we can interact with other enterprises, and learn from each other. Even if there is no collaboration, we can support each other in various ways.

What have you learnt as an individual through observing the women around you, or growing HerMoneyTalks, both as a brand and a business?

You get to learn something new at every step when you run a business. I started HerMoneyTalks for knowledge dissemination, and my passion for the subject grew from there. I got thinking about the next step and I was preparing a business plan, “I talked to various people and a lot of women about my ideas. I wanted to get different perspectives on the business. Then a  lot of ideas started coming in. That was a mistake. I realized that I was trying to boil the ocean.  But later I learnt to regroup myself and started to slowly work on the business plan step up step, with efficient strategies. 

I felt that as an entrepreneur we are passionate about our idea, but we shouldn’t try to boil the ocean. Take it step by step. I learnt patience, a major skill I required both personally and in business. Also, there are times when we think that a great idea will be easily marketed and turn into profits. But there are a lot of steps in between the ideation and go-to-market stage that we tend to overlook. I realised I need to understand each step to be successful. The lockdown also helped me to sit down and rethink my plan, study it from every angle. It is a slow process, but it is better than rushing without any knowledge.

– Written by Siddhi Gandhi

Our Takeaways from The Interview

Financial Empowerment for Women

Do you have any financial troubles, why not ask Nisary and her team for advice? Visit them at