How much is enough.
My financial literacy journey began when I was 28 years old. It was by chance I met the girl of my dreams and voila the next thing I knew, we were getting married. Back then I was in Oman, Muscat & doing well professionally. Every penny earned was actually getting spent. We decided to return to India in 1997 & I chose to do my Masters. I joined Aditya Birla Capital in 2002. That’s where the journey of my financial literacy began. Working for the toughest business within an Insurance Company, it was a privilege to lead the Group & the Direct Marketing Business and later on the Wealth Business. For me, the exhilaration and excitement of building thesebusinesses from the word go has been a highlight of my 33 years of professional journey. I had the good fortune to work along side some fantastic colleagues, the best money managers and a power packed leadership team.
My exponential learnings (not limited to) from the extensive reading & companies that I worked with Modi Xerox, Canon, Aditya Birla Capital, Emkay Global & building these fantastic business’s can be encapsulated in short : Approach other peoples money the way you will approach yours & keep it simple.
Imagine going to a prospective customer for 5 years, (Yes 5 years and he doesn’t do any business with you). Every time you have gone he’s heard you & you attempt to climb his next wall of worry. However, I think most of us will give up at some point in time.
But what if he was the only customer you had in your entire career, you just don’t have a chance to give up. If your strategy was to sell your goods or service , then I am reasonably sure you may not succeed. But if your strategy was focused on his problems, challenges and it’s impact , you may win him over.
In reality , if one got the model right, the reward was huge given the size of pension liabilities which soared in India , the size of the opportunity was $40Billion and counting. Now that gets you thinking especially when you are interacting with some of the best brains in corporate India.
I raised myself as someone with a strong work ethic & became a saver and a conscientious spender. Having remained frugal in my earlier years helped me become debt free and avoid any credit card debt. (On a lighter note credit cards are best used to collect points). Building a financial security has always been a priority. Every single month since I started working from 1989 I have been a saver. I sacrificed in the formative years to be able to afford a nice home, a nice car & some great holidays in my 40’s. I follow that practice even today. This is how I came to understand the power of investing and compounding. Growing up in a middle class household that prioritised education, working & being truthful at what you do inculcated some great habits and discipline.
Having a personal finance plan in place is a must. Covid 19 , has taught us on how much we value our life. I have seen some worst tragedies come my way. Losing the love of your life is never never easy. Loosing my spouse to Cancer in 2021. It’s no guarantee that the plan you’ve put in place is the right plan, there will be up’s and down’s. Whether its your career or a personal crisis. You have to act, get going, even an OK plan is better than NO plan.
Having worked for these great institutions, overseeing client investments aggregated to $ Two Billion and upwards, being answerable to 1000’s of customers with different risk profiles with very different mindsets and goals brings the diversity to mature and be ready with bespoke solutions.
One of the best learnings while working along with some of the brightest money managers is, “Wealth Creators are made differently because they have a strong gut to face drawdowns & the volatility.”
There are so many different approaches to investing. Value Investing, Growth Investing, Nett Nett’s etc , however if your objective is to create wealth there are no shortcuts, it’s a continuous process. More often than not “Leaders Create Wealth”, it’s such a simple concept but many are unable to comprehend.
One day a good friend introduces you to his wealth manager. After filling your risk profile and the day you have to part with your money to be invested in a well designed thought through plan, it’s natural to get goose bumps on whether you’re doing it right.
My own investments reflects my conservative style & yet be proactive when the opportunity to invest more presents itself from time to time. Reading is the most under rated form of learning & creating wealth. This has helped refine my understanding and gave me the confidence to manage my own money while helping others in their journeys
Finally….whether you’re a professional, or in service or in business or an entrepreneur or an inheritor , having a second source of income and putting a plan in place is a must. I feel good when I know I have my own financial safety net. I’m more in control of my life and future.