Note to Self #2 – Protect Your Little Nest Egg

NaBloPoMo November 2015

Dear T,

You’ve never been a financial planner but there are many things that you have picked up from your father who is a very wise man and especially when it comes to wealth management. Take a moment to reflect upon his teachings:

1. Curb your Wants: Your father has taught you to spend wisely. He has taught you to value your belongings and to think twice, and better yet even thrice before buying something new. Do you really need that new phone that came out or can you make do with the one that is currently serving you well? Do you really need to watch a film every weekend in the cinemas? Do you really need to eat out everyday or can you carry a delicious home-cooked meal to work? Through his wisdom, you have learned how to distinguish between needs and wants. Sometimes you have wanted to enjoy the moment by occasionally treating yourself but for the most part, being a minimalist has kept you in place.

2. Never Borrow, Never Lend: Your father has taught you to always carry plenty of cash wherever you go. There should never be a situation where you are stuck for money or have to borrow from someone. Similarly, he has also taught you to avoid loaning money as well as much as possible. It doesn’t mean you cannot loan a few bucks here and there to help someone out, rather it means that you should avoid loaning a substantial amount, especially to a person who has made bad financial decisions in the past. Your own personal experience this year with loaning hard-earned money to a very good friend who needed it urgently at that moment has only solidified his teaching. Unfortunately, people do not value other people’s money and just blow it away without having a solid debt repayment plan in place. Lending money can result in permanently spoiled relations and it is a situation best avoided.

3. Say No to Plastic: Your father has taught you never to fall in the credit card trap. He has never owned one in his entire life and has always reinforced the fact that if you cannot buy something with cash (or a debit card), then it’s not worth buying right now. Credit cards are plain greed breeders. Either personally or indirectly, you have known many people who have maxed out their credit cards several times over and defaulted on their payments, resulting in either having to pay their debts for several years or even worse, running away from their banks.  There’s a wise Indian proverb that says, “You should only stretch your feet according to your blanket.” which means that you should try to live within your means. Always a good idea.

4. How does your nest egg grow? Your father has taught you that simply having a savings account isn’t enough nowadays. After his retirement more than a decade ago, he immersed himself in learning how to grow the family savings by investing them wisely in medium-risk investments like mutual funds. This has ensured the family’s financial security and stability over the years. Although you’ve never been interested in doing anything with numbers before, it’s time you took a keen interest in learning the ropes. 

5. Tithe your Income: Your father has taught you to think about helping someone genuine in need. There are many out there who are not able to pay for their most basic rights – food, water, shelter, education and health. A little bit of your income can go a long way in ensuring their most urgent needs are met. Remember, income spent for the greater good always comes back multiplied with the added bonus of someone’s heartfelt blessings attached to it.

I hope T, that you will always remember these little gems of advice that have been a huge influence in your life. In today’s times with rising inflation and high living costs, it is important to have a substantial amount tucked away safely for a rainy day and remember, if you save a buck now, you can enjoy thousands later.

Much love,

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