The fall of a Star


Nikhil was not an ordinary child. The only son of a well-settled family in Goa, Nikhil was blessed with a loving family, handsome features, and a bright mind. He was barely two when he could recite popular rhymes, garnering proud smiles from his doting parents. As he grew, he not only excelled in academics, always managing to be one of the top three rankers in the school, but also in sports, especially football, his favourite game. Nikhil had also inherited the musical gene from his mother – his fingers deftly creating magic with six strings, earning him friends and admirers throughout his teenage life.

Alas, as happens in every fairy tale, Nikhil’s fairy tale was cursed by the company of friends who were philanderers. His father, who had built his business from scratch, had tried teaching Nikhil to be wise with money from an early age. To make him financially responsible, his father often asked him to complete small chores around the house and paid him for it. Sadly, what the father did not realise was that the son, instead of saving or judiciously utilising the money, only squandered it over movies, coffees and outings with his friends.

Years passed and Nikhil joined a prestigious college to pursue a degree in Commerce. While his father was able to afford the fees, thanks to the investments in mutual funds he had made when Nikhil was born, it was not possible for him to afford Nikhil’s spendthrift ways.

Especially because Nikhil wanted to apply for an MBA in Singapore once he had completed his graduation, his father advised him to work part time and start investing a part of his salary in mutual funds through a Systematic Investment Plan to fund his higher education.

Nikhil partly followed his father’s advice and took up a part time job, only to squander the money he earned. In his final year, tragedy struck, when Nikhil lost his father to a freak accident and suddenly the responsibility of the household fell on his wobbly shoulders.

Luckily, his father had been well invested and well insured, leaving behind enough money for the household to be run comfortably. But Nikhil’s dream of pursuing an MBA was shattered. If only he had followed his father’s advice and saved some money, he might have been able to fund his higher education without burdening his mother. Broken-hearted, he took up a job at a call centre as soon as he finished graduation to support the family.

Nikhil, being the star he was, was great at his job and very much admired. However, he had dreamt a bigger dream for himself – his friend Manjunath, a mediocre student, was pursuing MBA in a top university in Singapore and already receiving job offers from top MNCs.

If only he had acted on his father’s advice…things could have been very different for Nikhil.

Like Nikhil, many youngsters miss their dreams due to financial indiscipline. In our country, where money plays an important role in everybody’s life, surprisingly, only a few seriously plan for it.

While it is never too late to start investing in mutual funds, investors who stay in the market for the longest duration stand to earn the maximum returns, thanks to the principles of compounding. This is why it is very important to inspire young teens to build a habit of investing regularly.

Dr. Celso Fernandes, author of two much-loved books “Who Says Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees” and “Don’t Chase Money, Let Money Chase You”, is on a continuous mission to encourage youngsters to start saving and investing from an early age so that they could get a better handle on their life. Dr. Celso mentors “Young Achievers Club” and “Super Achievers Club” focused at dispensing financial literacy among youngsters.