It has been a considerable time since I posted the last article : cutting the fat in the personal finance series.
The two articles previous to that were my attempt to explain the current situation of a household’s personal finance and how to know your monthly numbers.
The reason for giving this time gap is to allow you time to introspect, think about your current financial situation (ir-respective of the income level) and be honest about your spending habits and money management.
I sincerely hope that all (optimistically) or most (at minimum) readers of this blog have taken out time to think of their personal finance situation.
I did receive some interesting mails from some people who want to improve. This communication helped me to formulate my thoughts for this article.
What is India today?
India is a young, vibrant, energetic country, where there is excitement everyday. The workforce wakes up with the enthusiasm of doing something special, new or different in their roles.
Having worked for the pioneer of the Indian e-commerce scene, Flipkart, I vividly remember the almost electric and infectious energy in the air. A new big decision coming up almost everyday, which put a mark on the journey of company’s evolution.
Since leaving Flipkart in early 2014, there have been new start ups not just setting, but re-defining the space they operate in – Paytm, Practo, InMobi, OYO, Firstcry, Zivame, Pepperfry, Urban Ladder, OLA (to name a few).
The one thing all of these companies have in common is the focus to disrupt the status quo and make it better. This has not only resulted in a lot of successful entrepreneurs at a very young age, but also a lot of early employees turning into multi-millionaires due to the company growth (reminds me of my school days and how Infosys’s founder’s driver was a crorepati because of the shares he owned in Infosys)
You must be thinking, how does any of the above relates to personal finance?
Well, here it is.
Employees in today’s Indian workforce earn good money. This is evident when you talk to the locals in cities like Bangalore, Pune, Chennai. They remember the good old times. When it was a simple life and city resources were not as stretched as today.
The economy today is dominated by consumerism. We are bombarded with the marketing campaigns for all kinds of possible goods, services and luxury items.
The current Indian workforce is a marketplace paradise due to its :
- High disposable income,
- Willingness to spend,
- Ambition to be seen as a global customer,
- Adoption of branded products which were a luxury for the previous generations,
- Confident of today and of the future, hence open to trying new options,
- Price = Status = Quality = Better than the next person mentality.
The same spirit of comparison and competition which generates the above successful companies, is also used to feed the consumerism.
Hence, the question how exposed are you?
Or, in other words,
if you did not have a job tomorrow, can you maintain the same standard of living?
If you feel like this question is not relevant, remember that the last financial crisis was in 2008. It has been exactly 10 years since then.
It will be a prudent exercise to refer to the following research to confirm:
- Deutsche Bank’s view on financial crisis.
- Bill Gates : Another financial crisis is a certainty
- Financial times : Start preparing for the financial crisis.
Bottomline : When a global bank, one of the world’s richest man and a financial newspaper are conveying the same message – its time to get ready.
Flashback : I started my career with Hp, Bangalore in 2007. On the first year anniversary, the world presented a very un-welcome present – The 2008 financial crisis.
While in normal times, one expects to have a salary increment or promotion or both discussions, here I was wishing that I just hold on to the job (notwithstanding the fact that I had ~Rs 5,00,000 of education loan to repay).
The bank security for this loan was my parent’s house.
2018 : I feel that 2008 left a very practical and permanent mark on my approach to career, personal finance and life in general. What I acknowledge is :
- Life is uncertain,
- There is no guarantee for anything in life – job, relations or possessions,
- Living in present is more important than anything else,
- What I have in my pocket is what I own.
I and Indian economy, in general, were lucky to have survived the 2008 relatively unscathed. My opinion is that we were not too connected with the global economy.
If anything, the excess money from across the globe was looking for a better use for itself….. and India was the perfect destination for that money to park itself…..remember… young workforce, hungry market for global players, willing to take position on the global stage…
Downside : The same money has made Indian economy more vulnerable to any and every global shock.
What can you do to stop it – ………let’s be honest, Nothing!!
What can you do to prepare yourself to ride through that tough time – Everything.
Reconsider the scenario presented above :
If you do not have a job tomorrow, can you maintain your current standard of living?
This is where your personal finance becomes important. Personal finance is :
- not a one time activity,
- it is a consistent process,
- it is a recognition of your needs v/s desires,
- it is recognition of your buying behavior,
- it is a delibrate action of making your future secure,
- it is an attempt to manage debt :
- House EMIs,
- Car EMIs,
- Personal Loan EMIs,
- Credit card debt etc
- it is a constant effort of creating wealth,
- it is a conscious recognition of one’s financial goals,
- it is a conscious effort of :
- creating passive income streams,
- diversifying your investments,
- living much below your means,
- not giving in to EGO based decisions,
- not comparing and competing for material possessions,
- It requires team effort from both the partners in a relation.
Personal finance is a way of life. If you don’t believe me, read it from someone who spent 5 years interviewing rich people.
I hope this post conveys the importance of personal finance as a daily habit and NOT a once in a quarter or 6 month activity.
Your comments, thoughts and feedback are most welcome. Feel free to mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org