Money, Money, Money: Guide your House Help and Cook to be Financially Sound

Written By

Bindu Bhat

Guide your househelp and cook to be financially sound-04 Loading

It’s that time of the year, when the monsoon, start of school and the need for school shopping arrive at my doorstep together. So my favourite book, cup of tea and pakodas make equal demands on me as helping my child cover and label his school books.

This simple activity got me thinking about another annual pattern that I see in my house help, Timmamma. She’s a simple lady my age, but with the additional honour of being a grand mom of two young ‘uns as well! Yup! It stunned me the first time I heard and also got me thinking how, with all the progress we see around us, the people who make our life easier don’t necessarily do better because they work for us.

And the pattern again was simple; a loan taken typically of around Rs. 5000, which would then need roughly 10 months to repay. By the time the loan is near closure, Timmamma gives me a heads up about the next loan she needs and this is with more or less every family she worked for. Which means, it was very rare for her to actually take her full salary in any given year from any of her employers.

Again, my observation— her loans would usually be taken for a family member’s education and very rarely for a celebration or anything else which is consumerist in nature.

Could this cycle of loan and next loan be solved in a sustainable manner? Increased salaries do come with increased expenses too, and does not necessarily mean we are able to save more. Whether it’s my maid or myself, the irony is that this financial challenge does become a status quo for most of us irrespective of our income levels.

So, sticking to the basics, I thought of just two things that could jump start this financial journey for her without being a big burden on her or me:

  1. When it was time to give her a raise, I came to an agreement with her to start a recurring deposit in her bank. Cash in hand gets spent, cash going to the bank — she would not draw. The idea is to start creating a security net, and believe me, the emotional reassurance is huge.
  2. Is a simple term insurance possible? Yes, the newer schemes drawn up by the Government of India under the Pradhan Mantri Yojanas (check ), has plans specifically to encourage people at the bottom of the pyramid to take up the opportunity of joining the banking system by linking a term insurance / accident insurance to their savings bank account.

In today’s world of nuclear families, many of us need to have a strong and stable support team of house help, cook, driver, dhobi, security people and housekeeping day in and day out. Let’s take one step to make them financially safe and sound too. The least we can do is show that we care for them.

You could try this too, the smile on their faces will be well worth the effort!




A happy mother-cum-financial-planner-cum educator; community volunteer, avid traveller and history buff; Bindu loves it all. Along with being a mom to her 12 year old, Bindu is also discovering more sides to herself after crossing the '40' milestone and is enjoying the journey thoroughly. Bindu believes that working as a Financial planner gives her the fabulous opportunity of seeing people make positive changes in their money habits. And to catch them young, she conducts financial literacy programs at schools and communities. She's a Mathematics grad and Finance post-grad from Amchi Mumbai, worked with a banking group and a Hyderabad based start up, before finding her niche as a Financial Planner, based in Hyderabad.

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