Which One Habit Can Make You Rich?

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It was a pleasant October morning complete with a fresh breeze and a clear blue sky. A perfect day for a ‘Class without the walls’ at the college.

As Professor Tracy looked at the young, chattering, squabbling college students taking the outdoor class as an opportunity to have fun, she shouted, “Who wants to listen to a masala story?” to get their attention.

Her question had the desired effect and the students settled down under the great Banyan tree. They all were keen to hear an exciting story.

“But, before I start, I want to ask you one question,” said Tracy with a hint of a smile on her lips, “What do you want to become after you pass out of college? What are your plans for the future?”

To her surprise, most students said that they are going to become rich and lead a luxurious lifestyle.

“Well, today, I am going to tell you the story of a boy, who, like you, was a student of mine a few years ago,” Professor Tracy continued, “And he, too, cherished the dream of leading a life full of luxuries.”

Professor Tracy narrated the story of Shawn; a bright, ebullient boy with a zest for life. Shawn was an above-average student with extraordinary charm. He had a confident personality and great communication skills, which won him several lead roles in various college events and activities. He compèred during the college fest and represented his college in debate and declamation events across the state.

As expected, Shawn bagged a lucrative job offer during the college placement drive and moved to a metropolitan city. During the college farewell party, Professor Tracy and a few other friends and teachers advised Shawn to gain some experience in his new job, and then take a break from work to attain higher education.

Although it was a great career advice, Shawn declared that he had no interest in going for further studies. His pay was good and he had all the intention to work harder and earn more.

True to his words, Shawn worked very hard at his new job and won a lot of appreciation from his seniors. He took up one challenging project after another, working relentlessly, collecting handsome allowances and bonuses that came with the projects. He was so obsessed with making as much money as possible that he even passed on a good opportunity to do an advanced degree program in management from a top global college, sponsored by his company.

He was clear in his mind that he wanted to become rich; to work hard and make more and more money … and live life to the fullest.

Yes, Shawn worked hard and party harder. He was delighted to be among the high-income professionals who lived in luxury. Only three years in his job, Shawn had already booked a swanky apartment in a rich suburb and drove an expensive SUV. He dined at the finest of the restaurants and wore designer clothes.

Shawn was happy to be living a rich and extravagant life.

Destiny, however, was weaving some other plans for Shawn. A sudden acquisition of the company resulted in major job cuts. Shawn, too, had to face the axe. In a flash, he was forced to deboard the fast train to fame, success and riches.

However, no one doubted that an executive of Shawn’s calibre would be on the job seekers’ list for long, but the reality was quite different. The looming recession made companies to stall their growth plans. The few companies that had vacancies matching Shawn’s skills, turned him down as they were looking for people with higher academic background. The fact that he was paying hefty mortgages and commuted in a fuel-guzzling SUV didn’t help his case either.

In less than a quarter of a year, Shawn faced terrible financial stress.

He knew that he would get a job sooner or later, but the pay would be half of what he earned earlier, and that would not be enough to support the lifestyle he was used to.

At 25, Shawn, dressed impeccably in an Armani suit and sitting in a top-line SUV, felt very poor. A rich poor.

*************************************************************

“What happened next?” one of the students excitedly asked Professor Tracy, bringing her back from the reverie.

It took her a moment to come back to the reality. She looked around and said, “Shawn learnt his lesson. It was long due.”

The mysterious smile on Professor Tracy made the students more curious and they pestered her to reveal what happened to Shawn.

*********************************************************************

Distraught and broken in spirit, Shawn visited his parents and told them his situation.

“I am sorry, Dad, you had many expectations from me. I failed you,” he said between sobs.

Shawn’s father consoled his only son and made him sit with him.

After a while, when Shawn gained his composure, his father told him that it was not his mistake that he got fired.

“But the way you lived was quite wrong,” he said in a soft, yet firm voice.

“But, Dad, I just wanted to live a rich life, and achieve all that you have achieved,” Shawn protested.

It was then that his father explained him that it was true that he owned a big house and a luxury car, however, these were just a few bi-products of the wealth that he had built.

“Son, you think that earning more and spending more is the true sign of being rich,” Shawn’s father explained, “But you are quite wrong in your thinking.”

As an incredulous Shawn looked on, his father added, “A rich person strives to earn more and save more.”

He asked Shawn, “How could you ever hope to become rich when you blow all your money on things that you want but not need?”

Over the couple of days that Shawn spent with his parents, his father told him stories from his younger days. How he worked hard and improved his earning over the years, while making sure that his savings increase in proportion to his earnings.

“I put my needs before wants, Son,” his dad said, “And I want you to adopt this habit at the earliest.”

Shawn could now see his mistakes. He always spent much more money than he needed to. He spent on food, travel, clothes and apparels several times over than it was necessary – just to see himself amidst the rich and wealthy. But little did he know that he was actually poorer than the poor with no savings to fall back on.

With his father’s help, Shawn met a financial mentor and showed him his assets and liabilities. The wise financial mentor helped Shawn in cutting his losses, plugging monetary leaks and set up a series of financial goals for him.

Shawn took up a job in his home state, lived in his family house, and disciplined himself on putting his needs before wants. Even though his salary was much lesser than his previous one, Shawn delightfully realized that his effective savings were quite handsome.

Under the guidance of his mentor, Shawn also started investing in mutual funds through SIPs (Systematic Investment Plans). His mentor told him that if he would have invested religiously while he was working, he would have been a millionaire by now – thanks to the power of compounding in mutual funds, the longer you stay invested, the more you earn.

Shawn is now gearing towards making a financially independent future. The way towards the real riches.

**********************************************************************

“Wow, that was a good story,” exclaimed one of the boys.

“I never thought of the consequences of choosing an extravagant life,” said another.

“We will not make the mistakes that Shawn made. We would like to save and invest and build wealth,” said a girl.

“Yes, you all can save and invest in SIPs, as low as Rs 500 per month. I will help you to start as early as possible,” Professor Tracy said with a smile before asking, “And do you know how I know Shawn’s story so well?”

As the class looked at her with anticipation, she smiled and said, “Because he is my son!”

Dr. Celso, a noted financial mentor in Goa, is on a mission to eradicate financial illiteracy among Goans, especially the youth of Goa. A respected dentist, inspiring speaker and a prolific writer (author of five much-loved books), Dr. Celso, along with his team at Nave Marg Financial Consultants work relentlessly towards making people of the sunshine state prosperous and financially independent. Dr. Celso can be reached at +91-9422058741

 

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