Let the Ball Keep Rolling


The sky is overcast with the promise of impending rain. A large crowd is cheering, chanting and going berserk!

Brad neatly collects a long pass from the midfield and runs, dribbling the ball past three defenders, and GOAL!

His fifth in the season.

Brad runs to the stands and somersaults, just before his teammates jump on to him, screaming wildly and celebrating the decisive goal just minutes before the full-time.

Ryan is ecstatic too! He hops and skips like a ten-year-old, jubilant to see his son score.

At the same instance, the sky breaks open and a heavy downpour drenches the players and the spectators.

Later in the day, Ryan and Brad walk into their home, soaked and muddied.

“Mom, we did it again!” Brad proudly held up the trophy and showed it to her mother, Daisy, who ran to her son and hugged him.

“Let me put it with the others,” she said, taking the trophy. She cleaned it with a duster and placed it in a showcase filled with shining trophies and awards won by Brad in various football tournaments.

At 17, Brad was a soccer wonder in his district. A key forward player, he started playing for various local clubs when he was only 12 years old. The major credit for developing and honing Brad’s game went to his father, who had played a lot of football in his younger days.

“Keep working hard, sonny, and you will have your name listed in the national team,” said Ryan, ruffling his son’s hair lovingly.

“I will, Dad,” Brad flashed a bright smile.

Soon, the father-son duo got into a detailed discussion over the day’s game and areas where Brad could improve. Listening to the duo, Daisy couldn’t help but feel excited and worried at the same time.

She knew that both Ryan and Brad worked hard on Brad’s game. Putting so much energy and time in the game, Brad could hardly concentrate on his studies. Ryan, however, was unfazed by this.

“What good would it do if he ends up behind a desk, doing a routine job with all the fancy education he would get at the cost of his game?” he would argue with Daisy, “This boy is a gem of a player and will become a global football star soon, you would see.”

Daisy didn’t have a shadow of doubt in her son’s ability as a sportsperson par excellence; however, she had seen enough sporting dreams crushed, including her husband’s.

She just wanted that if the worst happened and Brad’s career didn’t take off, he must have something to fall back upon. Without good education, that wasn’t possible. Or so she thought.

Working as a manager in a starred hotel, one of Daisy’s responsibilities was to arrange for conferences and seminars conducted in the hotel. One such seminar on Financial Independence caught her attention one day.

The seminar was being conducted by a noted financial expert who had been working towards spreading financial literacy among the youth. She had heard about him, but couldn’t recall what exactly the expert did or what financial literacy meant.

Resolute to solve the mystery, Daisy stole herself to the conference room – and was soon absorbed in the presentations delivered by the expert. She decided to stay for the whole duration of the conference.

The expert spoke about attaining financial independence, about making your money work for you instead of you working for it, and, the best of all, growing your own money plant!

He displayed charts and tables that showed that people who invested in the stock market through mutual funds, earned a high double-digit growth rate over a period of ten years.

“No other asset class has given better results in the long term than the stock market. We fear the highs and lows of the Sensex, but the volatility in the market is the actual propeller of monetary growth,” he revealed. “If invested for a long time in the stock market through SIPs (Systematic Investment Plans) in mutual funds, your money would work day and night to make more money for you.”

Daisy had never thought it was possible to earn money without having to work for it.

Will my money earn more money for me? Still slightly confused, Daisy was eager to know how the teachings of the expert could make a positive impact on her life. On Brad’s life…

After the conference, she found an opportunity to speak to the financial expert and sought an appointment.

“I want to know how you can help my teenage son and me,” she said. Soon, a meeting was fixed. She also convinced Brad to join her on the appointed day.

At the expert’s office, Daisy shared her story; her fears and expectations about Brad’s financial prospects in the future.

The financial expert patiently listened to Daisy, making notes in his diary now and then. Once she finished telling her story, the expert said to her that in spite of their current limited means, Daisy and Ryan could ensure a financially independent future for Brad.

Giving a notepad and a pen to Daisy, he asked her to write down her household income and expenditure.

After studying the crude income/expenses statement drawn by Daisy, the expert pointed out areas where she and her husband could save money. Daisy was incredulous to find several trivial expenses that didn’t contribute anything towards her family’s well being.

Next, he inspired Daisy to always categorise her expenses as Needs or Wants. He also urged Brad to do the same.

“Remember, before you spend, you must invest,” he explained to Brad.

The financial expert shared that by investing as low as Rs 500 each month, the family could grow a massive corpus over the next ten or fifteen years. He asserted his claim by pulling out several portfolios on his smartphone, which have grown at a compounded rate of over 15%.

Surprised to know the power of compounding in mutual funds, Daisy quickly made a decision.

“Sir, I would want to start a monthly SIP of Rs 2,500 for Brad, and a Rs 5,000 SIP for our retirement,” she said happily.

Daisy knew that it would not be easy to set aside Rs 7,500 each month, but she was resolved to invest before spending – and deep inside she knew that she could manage to invest the committed sum.

Over dinner, Daisy told Ryan about the meeting and her resolve to invest. Initially, Ryan was a bit sceptical, but soon he too saw the wisdom in building wealth for the future.

The family is happy and confident about a bright future awaiting Brad. Whether the sporting field or a small business, the ball would always keep rolling for the young soccer star!

Dr Celso Fernandes is an author, speaker and financial mentor. His initiative towards spreading financial awareness among the people of Goa is bringing a positive change in the society. He can be reached at +91-9422058741 (email: navemarg@gmail.com).


Financial Sustainability for a Better, Greener Tomorrow!


“Grim … very grim,” Edwin sighed sorrowfully as he folded the morning paper and looked at his son.

“What’s the matter, Dada?” asked Keith with concern as he nibbled on his toast, all dressed up for school.

“The usual … more damage to the environment in the name of development. The food is adulterated, and the air is getting polluted,” said Edwin, looking at his twelve-year-old son, “It seems no one cares about preserving the environment.”

“I care,” mumbled Keith as he got up from the dining table and bade goodbye to his father and hollered a ‘Love you Mom” to his mother who was busy getting ready for work.

Edwin, an engineer by profession, had serious concern for the environment. He actively participated in efforts to restore the environment. From seed bombing to beach cleaning drives to advocating the benefits of organic farming, Edwin did as many green deeds as possible. And he always took young Keith along with him.

The pro-planet environment that he grew in had a profound impact on Keith’s young mind.

That evening, when the family reunited over the dinner table, Keith announced, “Dada … Mom, I have decided that I will devote my life to the protection of the environment.”

“Really!” beamed Edwin, “I fully support your decision,” he said lovingly to his son.

At night, after Keith went to bed, Edwin and his wife, Rita, sat down to discuss Keith’s future.

Rita had ambitious dreams for her son. She wanted him to get a good education, maybe a masters degree in a good foreign university, and secure a high-flying job.

She voiced her doubts, “Edwin, I know you are on cloud nine to hear your son’s future plans. But if he wants to devote his life fighting to protect the environment, how would he earn a decent living? How would he fend for himself and his family?”

“But Rita, isn’t it great that our son has such noble thoughts? Don’t you think that every young boy and girl must commit to saving the planet with his or her full might? How else can we expect to have a future with healthy food and clean water and fresh air to breathe?”

“I completely understand, Edwin. We will all face serious consequences if we do not struggle to save our environment. However, driving green efforts during your spare time, after working hours, makes sense, but how could you encourage him to take this up as full-time occupation? You know that you do not get paid for your green deeds!” exclaimed Rita.

“Haha-ha,” Edwin burst out in mysterious laughter, much to Rita’s annoyance.

“What are you laughing for? Being financially secure is not a laughing matter.”

“I know … I know,” said Edwin as he recovered from his bout of laughter, “You think I am a fool? Of course, I don’t want to see my son roaming in frayed, torn clothes, driving great environmental initiatives while living on a pittance,” he said, smiling meaningfully, “I don’t believe that crusaders of the environment should go about penniless.”

“Edwin, I don’t understand all this random talk. Tell me what you have in mind,” Rita warned her husband irritably.

“Okay dear, calm down. I will tell you everything,” Edwin said playfully.

“About a couple of years ago, I met a financial expert during one of our office seminars. What he said blew me away,” revealed Edwin.

“No riddles, tell me everything, please,” Rita was clearly not able to contain her curiosity.

“Ok … Ok. I will come straight to the story now,” said a smiling Edwin.

“The financial expert took a session on financial literacy and introduced us to the concept of small, regular investments in mutual funds.”

Edwin went on to describe all that he learnt during the session, which, in gist, was that small investments made regularly in mutual funds for a long period of time, say over ten years, can grow into a large sum of money. With the element of compounding at play, investments as low as Rs 500, invested every month through Systematic Investment Plans or SIPs, for a long duration, can result in a huge corpus that keeps growing on its own.

Edwin further revealed to his wife that from the past year and a half, he has been continuously investing Rs 1,500 per month in mutual funds through SIPs for Keith, under the guidance of the financial expert he had met during the seminar.

“I wanted to give you and Keith a surprise on his 18th birthday. However, it was important to tell you now to quash all your fears about our son’s future financial security.”

Rita was glad to hear that, but she still had some doubts, “Edwin, but how can we build a large fund for Keith by putting aside just Rs 1,500 per month? And what is the guarantee that Keith would not splurge all the money very early in his life?”

“Very good questions,” Edwin patted his wife’s back in genuine praise. Rita blushed.

“I plan to increase the SIPs by Rs 500 every six months now. With a consistent increase in investments and the power of compounding, these seemingly small investments would transform into a huge portfolio by the time Keith turns 25 years.

“Even if we stop investing each month after he turns 25, the portfolio would still keep growing in value. Like magic!” beamed Edwin.

“And what if he chooses to buy a fancy car or a house or a world trip, burning all that we build for him? We see such cases every now and then,” reasoned Rita.

“That’s where the financial expert’s advice comes into play,” Edwin said smilingly.

“He advised me to develop a sense of financial responsibility in Keith. Teach him the difference between needs and wants. Teach him to be resourceful and not wasteful.

“And you know what, I have already begun teaching this to your genius son,” Edwin concluded with a wink.

Light-hearted after the discussion, Rita drifted into a peaceful slumber, knowing well that whatever her son chooses to do, he will always be financially secured.