I was born in a middle class family with both my parents working. And I grew up realising money was limited. My parents brought us well, they did not regret that they have only 2 daughters(We are talking of 1980’s when I heard my mother being asked, Koi ladka nahin hai kya(You don’t have a son?)). They sent us to best schools and premier colleges. They found good spouse and gave us Big Fat Indian Wedding. I only realised the importance of parents when I became one. This article is my Journey of how I unaware I was about Money. I am reminded of Oscar Wilder “When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life. Now that I am old, I know that it is”
Table of Contents
My Childhood & Money
As a child, I was busy with my studies, games, having fun. I don’t remember about experiences with money. Usually I got money when relatives/guests gave us on their visits to our house. A one-rupee was used instantly to buy toffees. We did not have allowance as my parents felt that whatever our requirements are, within limits they would fulfill and they did. I remember my parents discussing/arguing about bills and investments..and telling us Money doesn’t grow on trees. We saw our parents focussing on saving (for our studies, marriage etc) learning to live within our means. Our basic needs of food, shelter and clothing were handled by parents.
My College Days and Money
In college days, I was ‘busy’ visiting canteen,following the latest trends and fashion, discussing about latest movies, love affairs, heartbreaks, having fun and studying. Parents at home and professors at college would often lecture about utilising our time effectively(meaning studying..). But we were busy enjoying the golden period of my life!!
I had money now as my mother used to give me a fixed amount at beginning of month but it was just not sufficient. I was always short of Money , cribbing about how can we survive with peanuts that I got, begging at times for buying that latest dress that my friend got or going for movie(with the promise it’s last time please!). At times mummy agreed and at other times she didn’t when I used to say just let me start earning then….and my father replying “Tab aate daal ka bhaav pata chalega..”.
Job & finally Money
As time grew, I graduated from college and got the job. When I got my first salary , I felt like King of the world, felt I could buy anything.(It was much less than what the company’s HR had promised during the presentation. He had told us why it makes sense to join his company and about Cost to Company(CTC). I had calculated my salary by dividing CTC by 12). I took parents to the most expensive shop and said “Buy the most expensive sari/shirt for I am going to pay for it“. Bought a sari for my mom (which she still has), shirt for papa and gifts for my sister.
Mummy and Papa gave a lecture of not blowing all the money and start saving. I deciding to live King size.
Soon got stuck in the grind. Morning were a big rush getting ready,catching a bus, reaching the office after all the traffic jams. At office I was busy as a bee. When I came back home after a hectic day I was drained. Before I knew the days were gone. Weekends meant doing all the work I could not do over the week – including catching some peaceful sleep and some recreation- movie, shopping , sport, hair cut etc.
This routine continued for a few years and left me with time to do only things that seemed urgent. As I looked around at people I knew-my friends, my colleagues-it seemed the same story with everyone.
There was no time and not much money either. I remember about how scared I was when I wrote a cheque, asking my friend to check if it’s okay. I did manage to save money, I gave it to my parents who invested it for me by buying some NSC(National Saving Certificate), some in Fixed Deposit.
Big Fat Indian Wedding
Got married in a typical BIG FAT Indian wedding. Saw my parents spending money buying/arranging things for the function, for relatives, for my spouse, his family. My parents who thought twice-thrice on spending a small amount were literally throwing away money. When asked my father said, “I have saved all my life for this occasion only, I want to give my child best wedding possible“. I also went with the flow.
Life was going on smoothly till got the GOOD NEWS “You are expecting!”. The regular medical checkups, medicines were so..expensive. When the doctor told me about the charges for a C-section delivery I choked. I had never realized that the child , just at birth, would be SO expensive.
My father-in-law then gave me a financial magazine, Outlook money-Jan 1999(then Intelligent Investor), Your life’s biggest investment The investment costs on a child: from cradle to convocation. After reading it I realised how ignorant I was..and how much have my parents spent on ME and how much would I have to spend on my kids.
Since then I am a regular reader of Outlook money and trying to become financial literate.
Now so many years have passed, I am have become better (or so I think) but There are miles to go on my financial journey.
Outlook money has helped me on becoming aware about money and related issues. Keep up good work Outlook Money!
How has your financial journey been? Would love to hear it!