Is Investing a Game Reserved for the Rich?

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In our last blog, we stressed on the need for our teachers to work towards attaining financial independence. If set free from the financial pressures of every-day life, our teachers would certainly be able to contribute more towards the growth of their students. Once their future is secured, our teachers would be able to put all their focus on securing their students’ future.

But how to save money for investing in a small income?

Traditionally, it was believed that investing is a game reserved only for the rich. After all, you need money to make money!

Thankfully, with the advent of financial instruments like mutual funds, everyone can dare to dream of becoming a millionaire – by regularly investing a small amount of money.

But what are mutual funds? Are they safe to invest?

A mutual fund can be explained as a pool of small funds owned by thousands of people. All mutual funds are managed by qualified and experienced Fund Managers who invest the fund (pool of money) in various investment vehicles as per the fund’s core philosophy. So, for instance, an equity fund will have a major portion of the fund invested in equities, and a debt fund will have the major allocation in debt instruments. Since all market-related schemes have different levels of risks and rewards, mutual funds, too, vary in terms of risks and rewards.

It is proven time and again that if invested for a long time, say over ten years, mutual fund investors reap phenomenal financial gains.
Moreover, investments in mutual funds can be started with as little as INR 500!

Yes, you do not need to cut down your expenses substantially, yet can march on the road of wealth creation. Seems implausible, right? Well, this is the magic of compounding!

When you make the right investment, your money starts working for you instead of you working for money.

When you religiously invest, even a small amount of money each month for a long period, you let the effects of compounding as well as movements of market work on your portfolio and enhance it significantly.

Why are mutual fund investments the best for honest, hard-working people with limited salaries?

  • Unlike investing in property or gold, which requires a hefty sum, mutual fund investments can be made by paying small instalments of money each month through SIPs (Systematic Investment Plans).
  • Traditional favourites, NSCs and FDs give returns lesser than the inflation rate, which means that your portfolio gains negative returns (or simply, you lose money instead of making it).
  • Investing in mutual funds is totally transparent and easy.
  • Mutual fund investors have the convenience of selling a part of units to meet an urgent requirement, while the rest of the units remain invested.

The phrase, “Time is money,” is as true as it gets; especially when it comes to investing in mutual funds. Those who stay invested in the market for the longest period of time, benefit the most from the combined effects of compounding and market volatility.

In fact, investing regularly till the age of 60, a teenage boy who starts investing as low as INR 500 per month at the age of 16 tends to grow a portfolio far greater than a man who starts investing INR 5,000 per month at the age of 40!

Hence, there is an opportunity to educate our younger generation about investing and making them financially disciplined. And who could do a better job than our beloved teachers?

By being financially disciplined and aware about investment opportunities, our teachers can not only secure their future but can also teach financial discipline to their students, helping form generations of financially independent citizens who are happy, free and willing to give back to the society.

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Teaching and Financial Independence

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 “A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart.”

On many occasions, our teachers are aptly referred as the gardeners and sculptors who tenderly nurture and shape each child to blossom into a responsible, intelligent and caring being who seamlessly contributes towards the advancement of the society.

In other words, teachers carry the responsibility of grooming the future generations, and eventually, have the power to impact the course of the future.

From Socrates to Chanakya to Friedrich Froebel, countless teachers have decidedly made a positive impact on the world’s history through their teachings; and countless others continue to do so.

What are the key attributes of a great teacher?

There are several attributes that make a good teacher, great. Some of these are:

  • A natural ease around children, and a manner of friendliness and congeniality
  • Thorough knowledge about their subject and an innovative approach towards imparting knowledge
  • Ability to listen, understand and find solutions to each student’s learning issues
  • Kindness and a good sense of humour

On a whole, the portrait of a great teacher always reveals a person who is mature, giving and, in most cases, spiritually elevated. Great teachers have a calm mind and a zest for life, and these very traits enable them to prepare future citizens who cherish life, are liberal in their thinking, and kind in their acts.

In today’s times of contradicting events, where rapid technological advancements co-exist with global unrest stemming from differences in ideologies, the role of a teacher to restore the lost balances in the world is far greater.

Having said that, the truth of the matter is that teachers, nowadays, struggle with the growing pressures of a highly demanding job and expectations of hundreds of parents and students, while working on remunerations that are hardly a match to their skills and abilities.

As individuals, teachers, too, strive to attain financial parity with friends and acquaintances in other professions, lead a comfortable life and create adequate wealth to take care of their post-retirement days. Inability to attain any of these often causes financial stress, which may hinder teachers in giving best support and guidance to their students.

So, by treating financial stress, can we bring back our heroes to the classrooms?

Yes! After all, a financially independent person is much more secure, and a secure person can give more, without expecting much in return.

The good news is that anyone can attain financial freedom by simply saving and investing small sums of money regularly. With the help of Mutual Funds and other financial instruments, it is possible for everyone to secure a wealthier future. So, our great teachers can return to their classrooms to work on the future generation, while market forces work the magic of compounding on their small investments to make them grow with every passing day.

Dr. Celso Fernandes, author of two well-received books and a leading financial advisor in Goa, is on a mission to spread financial literacy, especially among young adults, teachers and people who want to save more and invest better. Dr. Celso runs several social initiatives through his initiative, Nave Marg Foundation.