Mothers are our first teachers and we learn pretty much everything there is to know from them, including money lessons. Here’s what I learned.
“The influence of a mother in the lives of her children is beyond calculation.” —James E. Faust. Agreed. We learn so much from our mothers. Apart from the many, many life lessons, here’s what my mother taught me about money.
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If you want to be successful, then you have to set goals. Goals help you visualise and plan a roadmap.
The same is true for your finances. Investing without setting goals is akin to shooting in the dark. You will reap benefits from your investments, but not as much as you could have.
If your goals are to buy a house, a car, travel the world, or all of them, then you have to plan accordingly. An important part of investing is educating yourself about the various investment options. Once you know which investments best match your goals, then you can start building an investment portfolio.
For example, if you want to buy a house or save for your retirement days, then you can invest in equity-diversified Mutual Funds. These funds ride out the short-term market volatility and give inflation beating returns in the long term. The best part is you can invest in Mutual Funds via a systematic investment plan (SIP).
You don’t have to Scrooge
The thing about money management is that you tend to swing too much in one direction all the time. As a spendthrift, I couldn’t stop shopping, but when I started managing my money well, I couldn’t find the heart to spend all that cash I so painstakingly saved. I became a miser.
In spite of a healthy bank account, I used to feel miserable about not being able to buy things I wanted. Once again, mom came to the rescue. We went shopping and somewhere during the retail-therapy session, I was taught an important lesson on money management – the whole point of saving and multiplying your money is to live a better life. So, it’s fine to indulge yourself once in a while. In fact, spending without going broke works as an incentive enough to stick to your budget.
I learnt that financial happiness is found not when you stop spending, but when you learn to spend wisely without damaging your savings and investments.
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Face your fears; keep a budget
Many of us don’t keep a budget because we don’t want to accept or face our dwindling financial situation. It’s painful, so we avoid it. However, this only makes matters worse.
So, when my bank account ran dry—due to the absence of a budget, overspending and not keeping a tab on my expenses—I had to turn to my mother for help. She bailed me out, but I had to learn the importance of budgeting and start following it.
Mothers, without a hint of doubt, are the best budget keepers. They always have a plan for everything, regularly note down expenses and always know when to tweak their strategy to get the maximum bang for their buck. And they do this by analysing the household expenditure balance sheet regularly. Whether it’s a mega budget or a shoestring budget, they can stick to both with the ease of an experienced financial manager.
This is something I’ve learnt to do now. And, boy, it did wonders for my finances. Budgeting is not about restricting your life, but about understanding exactly how far you can stretch your finances without burning a hole in your pocket. And the only way to chart a fail-proof financial plan is by knowing where you stand. So, no matter what your finances look like, always keep a budget.
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Don’t Neglect Savings
I admit it’s not easy to save if you are a spendthrift. On the contrary, some people just have the knack for it. Mothers surely do. My mother has bailed me out on many occasions and then one day gave me a class on the importance of saving and even helped me lay out a plan. Now, I have two different pools of savings to my rescue.
Copying my mother’s plan, I keep one pool for emergencies, an emergency fund, and the other one is created keeping in mind my short-term goals.
So, rather than buying a big-ticket item in one go, I plan ahead and start saving for it. If I want to buy a smartphone or go on a holiday, then I start investing a certain sum every month in a Recurring Deposit or a Liquid Fund. These investment options give me the freedom to withdraw my funds easily and also give me returns, adding value to my corpus.
If you want to be financially independent, then investing has to be at the top of your mind. It’s the best way to multiply your wealth.
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