Money, money, money... the world revolves around money. There are different people, having different outlook and their own version of how they perceive the money factor. Some say 'money is power ' and some say 'money cannot buy happiness'. I, have heard many philosophers and mystics terming, "Life, as a game".....a game of sports which one has to play well, stay focused, work hard and score high. Well, then this means,
"Life is a game, Money is how we score"
Money has three aspects, one is earning, spending and savings. In our Indian culture saving the money earned after spending, is given an over exaggeration according to me. Like, have you come across any 5 year old who haven't heard from her nani or dadi, "Itni sari light kyu chalu hai, Diwali hai kya, electricity bachana sikho". Or "yeh Nal kyu chalu hai faltu mein, Baadh lani hai". Adding to this, every newly wedded bahu in an Indian household will surely hear her sasumaa saying, "itna saara khana kiske liye banaya, poore mohale ko khilana hai kya" or a Dadaji on his charpai telling his grandson, "saara paisa bus masti karne mein udana hai, budhape ke liye bacha lo, tumhare hi kaam aayega". And the son going nuts over dadajis budhapa and his own budhapa, and after seeking no answers, restores to saving himself in the jawani by taking daaru ka sahara. There will always remain this tussle of living in the present or worrying for the future. The urge to spend can sometimes be very overwhelming. There is always a new dress, a new smart phone, a new piece of furniture coming in the market. Like they say temptation are many but we have to remember
"It's better to have and not need, than to need and not have"
We all realise this when we reach our middle age, when life takes a sudden turn, an untimely death of our dear ones, or a heavy loss in business, or losing a job, etc. These crisis in our lives teaches us the importance of savings. Suddenly, the carefree twenties become responsible forties. Well, the deadly sixties keep haunting us and all those nani-dadi lectures become our Gita & Bible which we start reciting to our children. And indeed, this circle of life goes on. Can we change this old narrative of savings?
Well, savings can be quite a stressful task. We come across various people giving their special advise on how to save money. The most common of them is cutting costs. In India we have a tradition of giving miss calls. When the cell phones were new in the market, people use to give miss calls, to save their money. The cell phone companies started incurring losses as each one is giving a miss call, no talking is happening. Other is the transportation cost cutting, like sharing rickshaw, using public transport or walking etc. We are Indians, we normally can do anything to save money but if these alternatives are suggested to save the environment or curb the pollution then we might want to show off our expensive cars. After all "Mercedes li hai toa kya chalayenge nahi". Logo ko pata chalna chahiye that we own an iPhone, it doesn't matter if we still give a miss call from that iPhone. Some people even avoid a post paid SIM card to save money. One of the most eagerly awaited times for us ladies are when the shops announces their SALE. We rush to buy our favourite outfit, jewellery or shoes. Though many times it so happens that we don't find our choice of dress on sale, so we buy an alternative which we may dislike later. We usually convince ourself that we have saved money, but the hard fact remains that, we have ended up getting all the unwanted stuff. Sometimes these SALE, turns out to be a boost, especially when we have a wedding or an international trip scheduled for the coming year. In these scenario, a planned buying in the SALE seems an intelligent option.
Another intelligent option given to us for savings is following a Budget. It is said that planning a monthly budget not only helps to track our expenses but also motivate us to create a saving habit. Following a strict budget is like following a strict diet plan. You can even treat yourself to some cheat days. Cheat days, as in indulging yourself in a shopping spree. Well, for me following a diet or following a budget seems like climbing Mount Everest.
A healthy diet plan with proper exercise promises a very healthy us, an active old age. Similarly, a very well planned budget with Saving = Investment options promises a better, happier and a secured future. The world is at a major technological breakthrough. We are coming across new inventions every day. Our living patterns are changing and so is our thinking patterns. In this new digital world we are seeing savings equivalent to investments. The days are gone, when investments were terms, restricted to gold and property only. Today, people are looking at various investment options like equity, bonds, mutual funds etc.
According to an economic times post there are various tricks which would help us to control our spending and save more like invest your increment, rope in help from the tax, ie save by paying tax, levy some luxury tax on yourself, lock yourself into big investments, think over your spending, train your mind to see the future. Oh my God, again these options sound very stressful.
All these kashmakash landed me at an investment firm. It's like after you have tried and failed all the diet plans your friends have asked you to follow or you have read somewhere in some article on Facebook or a what's app forward or some magazines. You finally opt to pay a visit to a certified dietician or join a certified trainer in a proper gym. In the same way, after you have failed your temptation of buying and not following your budget, you finally decide to seek a professional advice.
Usually, we ladies have only heard about pension schemes which cannot be touched before retirement or insurance policies, But it's amazing to come across so many investment options. There is the PPF which is for 15 years but allows withdrawals after five years. Also, there is a monthly investment like the SIP in a mutual fund or a recurring bank deposit. There are long term investment options also where the AMFI data shows that nearly 70% of the money invested in equity funds is redeemed within two years of investment. Also, there are various government investment scheme which also give tax benefits.
So in the game of life, if we wanna score high we need to look up to savings equal to investments. For this, we need an investment advisor who derives a proper plan based on our earnings, spending habits and our future goals. These people plan out our retirement, our travel plans , our kids wedding and also provide us the necessary weapon to fight out any tragedy. And most importantly they allow you to live in the present, enjoy your today's without worrying about tomorrow's . They are like your best buddies who are with you through thick & thin. I have given them the term
"My Investment Buddy!"
It’s time that we bring in some gender equality in investments too. Discussions on market trends, shares, politics are not only restricted to men. Women, too can actively participate in it. 'Aaj ki Nari' be it a housewife or a working professional, should be equally interested and independent in putting her savings into proper investments. In today's times, when there is uncertainty of life, health and money, it's very important for both the husband & wife to work as a team, so that they not only know how to score high, enjoy their lives but also be prepared for any adversities. We need to not only reform our savings but teach our kids various ways and means to grow our savings in the form of investments. This will indeed be their greatest wealth...
Let your savings grow!