How Important is Financial Literacy to Win All Life Battles?

photo-1522661067900-ab829854a57f

It was a pleasant morning. The sound of the light drizzle added to the beauty of the vast green expanse that greeted Sannah every morning as she sipped her first cup of tea, followed by another, albeit a hurried one on most days.

But, today was different…

Today, she was retiring from the institution she had built over the years with much love, dedication and discipline.

Today, she could steal a few extra moments from life and reminiscence about the things gone by…

***

It was years ago, when the grass was greener, the water was pure, and lifestyle diseases were unheard of. Yes, it was long ago, when Sannah was 21 and she had run home excitedly to inform her parents that she was going to teach English at the Arya Niketan School from the coming Monday.

At a time when parents waited for their daughters to touch 16 and bundle them off into marriage, Sannah’s father, Rakesh, a Chartered Accountant, had planned for a good education for his daughter – not only literally but also financially.

When Sannah had turned 10, he had already started teaching her small financial concepts at home. For helping her mom lay down the table, Rakesh would give her a small amount of money. Sannah could earn her pocket money and spend it as she liked after discussing her plan with Rakesh.

For the first few months, all she bought were chocolates and sweets, but then, one day, she needed a new pair of shoes. That day, her father taught her an important lesson – of distinguishing between needs and wants. If Sannah had not spent her money on the sweets she wanted she could have bought the shoes she needed!

Once she turned 16, Rakesh asked her to accompany him to a seminar at his office by a renowned financial expert who introduced Sannah to the magic of compounding and the world of SIPs. That evening, her father explained things to her in simple terms:

“Sannah, how do you like the money plant in our garden?”

“I love it, Dad. The best part is that Mom keeps plucking leaves from it to decorate the house but the green cover reappears all too soon, as if by magic.”

“Yes, Sannah, that’s wonderful, isn’t it? But would you believe me if I tell you about a real ‘money’ plant that I was able to grow with the help of the financial mentor we met today morning?”

“You mean money growing on trees, Dad?”

“Yes, Sannah. Money does grow on trees. All you need to do is water your sapling regularly with financial discipline to see it blooming over a period of time.”

“Tell me more, Dad.”

“Today morning, you learnt about the magic of compounding and SIPs or systematic investments into mutual funds. That is exactly how you grow your plant. By putting a small amount of money, say 500 rupees, each month into a well performing plan, you can build a huge corpus of money that will self-replenish even if you take out some funds periodically to meet your financial requirements.”

“Dad, can I invest a part of my pocket money into SIPs?”

“Yes, sure….”

By the time Sannah was in college, she was already investing a part of her pocket money to build a money pool that would fund her dreams in the future. And now that she had a job, she would increase her investments to make her money work even harder!

Life couldn’t get any better for Sannah. She had a job she loved, she had great savings, and now she was married to a great guy, too.

Unfortunately, things took a downturn when she lost her parents in an accident. In a series of mishaps over the next couple of years, her husband lost his textile factory to fire and the insurance claims were rejected, because the fire had been caused due to a natural calamity. Dejected, he turned to alcohol and started taking out his anger on Sannah who accepted all his insults in the hope of a better tomorrow that never came.

It was only a few years later that she gathered the courage to fight back and filed for divorce. Fortunately, she had her job as well as her investments to get her through the course of legal proceedings.

At 30, everything Sannah held dear in life had been destroyed. However, she still had the money plant she had planted with her father. One that she had watered regularly throughout those years. Yes, she still had her self-replenishing pool of money she had amassed by investing money regularly since she was 16 years old. And now, she was ready to use it to start a new life…

Sannah quit the school she was teaching at and joined an NGO. She began teaching illiterate women, many of whom had been abused by their husbands and families. Soon, she opened her own NGO where she not only provided a safe haven for these ladies but gave them basic education as well.

As she aimed to make every woman in India financially independent and self-reliant, she regularly held financial seminars through her NGO that were often graced by the financial mentor her father had introduced her to when she was 16.

With her consistent efforts towards the upliftment of women in the society, over a period of time, Sannah received a lot of recognition and her NGO flourished. A lot of women benefitted from her guidance and joined hands with her to create a pan-India counselling and rehabilitation network for helpless women.

Sannah never married again but she adopted a little girl who had grown up into a well-educated, responsible, kind-hearted yet determined lady, ready to take on the baton from her.

***

Sannah smiled and placed the empty cup of tea on the window sill. She could see a small money plant growing in a basket on a ledge. Her smile broadened as she was instantly transported to her childhood…those happy days with her parents when her mother planted several of those creepers throughout the house to usher good luck and prosperity.

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s