Picture this. Youre given a choice. You can either walk home with an assured ₹5,000 in your pocket, or you have a 50 per cent chance to win ₹10,000. What would you do? In another situation, you can lose an assured ₹5,000, or have a 50 per cent chance to lose ₹10,000. If you chose the former for the first situation and the latter for the second, youre part of the majority that tends to be loss-averse However, there are a select few who believe the extra Rs.5000 can be discounted on either or both fronts. In short, one size does not fit all. And that, in a nutshell, is what Behavioural Finance seeks to understand.Behavioural Finance is a branch of behavioural economics, says Dr V Madhava Rao, Economics Professor and Researcher from Hyderabad. It is the analysis of how ones psychology influences their financial decision-making. Along with common sense and financial knowledge, there are a gamut of other factors that come into play when we make these decisions. These include emotions, biases, and cognitive factors. Some people have an aversion to any kind of loss; others are overconfident and willing to take more risks. This is also part of Behavioural Finance. All these factors combined together impact how people behave while approaching financial matters.In the 1970s, pioneering research by psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky indicated that decisions relating to finance were not always made rationally, and there was no one right answer. Although they had no financial background, these findings started a conversation among economists about behaviours that affected financial decisions.For years now, women have been at the receiving end of concepts related to Behavioural Finance. They are patronised and viewed as timid risk-takers, ill-equipped with information and largely reliant on others for their financial decisions. That isnt necessarily true all the time.A few years ago, Merrill Lynch conducted an Investment Personality Assessment survey, which defied these gender stereotypes. It reported, More than 80 per cent of women feel the past benefits of investing will continue, and they believe they can adjust their lifestyles if necessary to meet investment goals Womens varied responses in this assessment make it clear that theres no typical woman investor. Some place a premium on access to their investments and portfolio protection, while others focus on different concerns. However, the study also acknowledged, Women were far more likely than men to say they had lower levels of financial knowledge. More than half agreed with the statement, I know less than the average investor about financial markets and investing in general, compared with only a quarter of men who said they felt that way.In other words, the key differentiating factor broadly in mens and womens behavioural biases is the in-depth knowledge they possess about financial matters. Disparities in participation and underrepresentation in the financial field have only aided this. And this is what is holding them back from making their own decisions. A survey on the investment behaviour of working women in India was conducted by the DSP women investor Pulse in association with Nielsen in 2019. The findings of the survey highlighted that despite growing awareness of financial independence among women, only 33 per cent make their own investment decisions, compared with 64 per cent of men.Regardless of gender, there are a few financial biases that all people hold, says Dr Madhava Rao. Some people are not looking for information to help them; theyre only looking for confirmation of what they want to believe. Then there is the familiarity trap, where they only look to invest in what is known to them, whether or not it is still a relevant or sound financial decision. Then there are some who dont tap into their own instincts, but instead fall prey to the concept of herd mentality, just as we saw in the movie Wolf of Wall Street.Even with all these challenges and biases, women can get around Behavioural Finance Stereotypes. Financial analyst at a UK-based firm Oviya Janakiraman gives us a few pointers to approach this.1. Education: Lack of education seems to be the area that impacts womens financial behaviours the most. Hiring a financial firm or advisor to give them tailormade information specific to their personality types and financial goals can go a long way in shifting how they interact with money. It helps them make more confident and informed decisions.2. Letting go of biases: If youre risk-averse, its time to take small risks without being overconfident. Dont fall prey to the trap of investing in something familiar, or something recommended by a friend or family member. Make decisions that are in line only with your financial vision.3. Keep reviewing your financial portfolio: What worked two months ago, may not work now. You have to stay on top of your finances every single day and deep dive into what is making them tick, and what is not. Strategies must not only reflect your own needs but also changing market trends.4. Set clear goals: Youre less likely to meander and fall prey to emotional factors in financial planning if you have clear aims that are pre-determined. Get to those goals with a variety of short-term, long-term and medium-term investment plans.5. Keep a check on your deviations: Maintaining a record of where you went wrong, and what behavioural factors were in play then, can help you from repeating any financial mistakes.6. Dont overspend: Behavioural Finance also applies to how much you may spend. If youve had a windfall in the stock market, you may tend to treat it as spare cash and blow it up. If you had worked long days in an office for the same amount, you may treat it differently. Money is the same, no matter how youve earned it. Be mindful of that.