The sun shone strongly as Jason raced to the little, dingy bar that nestled under a giant banyan tree. As soon as he reached there, his eyes began to search for a familiar face in the crowd of people who preferred sipping wine over siesta. Jason heard Kevin’s voice before he saw his face.
“What do you know man, my car itself was worth over a crore…”
Sitting in the farthest corner of the bar, nursing a half-emptied glass of cheap liquor, Kevin was telling his friends of the good old luxurious life he once lived. At 45, Kevin had already seen the best and the worst in life. A bright, young fellow with a passion for earning loads of money, Kevin ventured for his maiden voyage – aboard a luxury cruise liner – as a Trainee Engineer, some twenty years ago.
His skills, passion and determination to excel at his job won him a lot of praise, promotions and popularity in the shipping circles. The latter resulted in a slew of shipping engagements at lucrative salaries. For the next 15 years, Kevin worked diligently on one of the finest assignments and earned truckloads of money.
“Wait! Kevin’s story doesn’t match with his current state, right?” You would ask.
Well, this is the second part of the story. While Kevin earned a lot of money, he also splurged in luxuries he never needed. Every year during Christmas holidays, Kevin would come home to his family (he got married to his childhood love, Jennifer, two years after starting his job) with crates full of gifts and would shower his friends and family with expensive gifts without the want of an occasion.
Add to this, he spent heavily in transforming his humble little house into a palace-styled mansion and filled its garage with luxury cars. It was raining gold and Kevin did his best to let it flow down to the sea.
But something unexpected happened about five years ago. Kevin found himself amidst a pool of middle-aged engineer, just as qualified and skilled as him, waiting endlessly for the next assignment. The downturn in the economy had slowed down the business and jobs were scarce. Months turned into years and Kevin, quite unexpectedly, became the yesteryear star engineer persuaded by shipping companies with lures of riches.
Kevin came home to an opulent house and always stepped out in his swanky car. However, his sparse savings were fast dwindling. There were bills to pay, school fees to deposit and a social status to maintain. Without any sound financial advice, Kevin’s precious funds soon withered out. And he also took to drinking heavily.
There came a time when he had to sell his house, which was his pride, and began living in austere conditions. Unable to bear their financial and social downfall, his wife left him, and the rest of his funds were sucked up in sorting legal matters.
“Kevin, brother! See I am selected as a part of the crew for that big ship,” Jason jumped up and down excitedly as he delivered this good news.
Kevin was ecstatic to hear this news. He ran and embraced his little brother.
“You’ve done it!” exclaimed Kevin.
After telling the good news to all his fellow bar mates, Kevin suddenly turned serious.
“Let’s talk,” was the only words a confused Jason heard before Kevin sat in his ramshackle car.
After a brief drive, during which no words were spoken, Kevin stopped the car near a cliff that overlooked the vast blue ocean.
“Jason, my brother,” said Kevin after both brothers settled down on a short boulder, “you are going to start what I started twenty years ago. I just want that you must not end like me.”
Tears swarming in his eyes, Kevin added, “This job will take you places you could ever dream of and will earn you money you could never think of. Yet, it is all for a little while.”
Jason listened intently to his elder brother like he always used to. Kevin was his hero. A fallen hero, unfortunately.
“If my very adventurous life has taught me anything, it is these three mantras:
“Spend on needs and opportunities. Don’t splurge on wants and indulgences.
“Invest your money before spending.
“Plan your future, today.”
As Jason mulled over the three tips given by his brother, Kevin added, “It isn’t gonna rain forever.”
Kevin also told Jason that he met a financial consultant while sorting out his legal matters and clearing his debts, who told him how Kevin could have planted a healthy sapling of investment that would have grown into a blossoming money plant, had he managed his funds properly and invested while he was still young.
‘Together with the steady monthly investments and power of compounding, your mutual funds’ portfolio would have grown to crores of rupees,’ Kevin remembered the financial mentor’s words reproachfully.
“I am still trying to get back on track with whatever frugal funds I have, through SIPs in mutual funds, thanks to this mentor’s guidance,” revealed Kevin with a hint of hope in his eyes. Kevin had also started to look for local jobs and was working on his alcohol addiction, which was hard, but he was trying.
“I will put you in touch with him soon,” added Kevin.
As the sun scaled its journey towards the horizon, Jason looked at his future life in a new light.
Even before they started for home, Jason had planned to not only begin investing for himself right from his first paycheque, but also for his hero, his brother, who is trying to get back on his feet.
Dr. Celso Fernandes, the Financial Doctor of Goa, is committed to the mission of spreading financial awareness among the people of India. A well-known speaker, Dr. Celso is also the author of four much-loved books on financial discipline and achieving financial independence. He can be reached at +91-9422058741.