Updated: Dec 30, 2020
Aashka Piprottar is a recent graduate working in financial services who is passionate about promoting financial empowerment for desi womxn. She runs Boss Betis, an Instagram account that explores the intersections of identity, social justice, and personal finance for desi womxn.
Tell us about yourself! Why did you start boss betis?
Sure! I am a recent grad currently working in the financial services industry. Growing up, I, like many desi womxn, was always taught that talking about money was inherently masculine. In our culture, men handle the money and women handle the home. And as I grew older, even as I started pursuing a finance concentration in school and later working in the industry, I felt really insecure when it came to conversations about money. At school and work, I felt intense imposter syndrome. In my personal life, conversations about money incited feelings of guilt and shame. It wasn’t until I finally opened up to my friends about these feelings that I realized how common they are for many desi womxn. Our cultural beliefs about womxn and money result in tangible harmful impacts. I firmly believe that financial independence and freedom are essential to womxn’s empowerment. Boss Betis is an effort to destigmatize the conversation around money, specifically exploring the unique challenges faced by desi womxn, and to encourage our community to take ownership of their financial lives.
A very important facet of your work is exploring the intersections of identity and wealth - an important piece of content that stands out was your work on the racial wealth management gap. What made you first start exploring these connections in society?
Over the past few years, personal finance for womxn has become increasingly mainstream, as womxn control the majority of the wealth in the United States. Yet, when I listened to conversations about womxn and money, whether in school or at work or on social media, I didn’t feel like they really applied to me. The conversations were focused on predominantly white, upper-class womxn. For desi womxn, many of our financial concerns/goals are heavily influenced by our cultures. For example, when I first learned about designating funds for luxurious purchases, I did not know how to respond. On one hand, I strongly believe that womxn should enjoy their money and buy things that bring them joy. Budgeting for these purchases sounds like a really smart idea! Yet, growing up, I watched my immigrant parents scrimp and save in any way they could to make sure they were supporting not only my brother and I, but our entire extended family back home in India. So, the idea of setting aside money for frivolous purchases filled me with immense guilt and shame. I realized that desi womxn need resources to reconcile the cultural beliefs we were brought up with, with the progressive values of financial empowerment. With Boss Betis posts, I wanted to explore that intersection, doing deep dives on how our cultural identities shape the immensely personal relationships we have with our money.
What are some resources you can recommend for our community to start learning about finances and the other topics you explore?
I know I am biased but I have been really inspired by the personal finance community on Instagram! Personal finance articles and books are often really dense and hard to understand, especially for young people just starting to learn about these topics. So, I love how personal finance accounts on Instagram are able to break down complex topics into understandable chunks. Some of my favorites include @girlsthatinvest, @thebrokeblackgirl, and @innergoddess.in. I also love listening to podcasts like NPR’s Planet Money and The Fairer Cents to learn about more macro, systemic financial issues!
Do you have any advice for South Asian women? Is there something you think we should pay close attention to when it comes to our finances?
I think there are two big lessons I have learned as a desi woman learning about personal finance.
The first is to remind yourself that you deserve to prioritize your financial wellbeing and enjoy your money. The cultural beliefs that “good desi girls” shouldn’t be too ambitious or too “money-minded” are really harmful. Taking control of your financial future is an important form of empowerment, especially for us desi womxn!
The second is to talk openly with your friends about money! The cultural stigma around talking about money only serves to perpetuate the insecurity, guilt, and shame many of us feel when thinking about finances. As womxn, we have even more to gain from talking openly about money! Not only do we destigmatize talking about important topics, through these conversations we can also help each other identify ways we are being exploited by employers or the personal finance industry broadly and empower each other to stand up for ourselves!
What’s next for bossbetis?
So much! I have so many exciting ideas (the Google doc is getting dangerously long haha) for future series topics, collaborations, and new types of content coming up! A big goal of mine is to make Boss Betis more of a community-based platform where we can have more chats and help each other so I’ve been exploring ways to make that happen. Really excited for all the things coming up!
And finally, on a personal note - what is something on your bucket list that you would like to achieve?
So this is not finance-related at all, but I am really passionate about traditional desi dance and music and I really want to learn how to dance kathak someday! My friends always joke that I am an old uncle because the majority of the music I listen to is ghazals, qawalis, and old-school garbas LOL! So that’s a somewhat random personal goal I am really excited about!
You can find Boss Betis here.