Why Bother? Part I
Over the years, I've seen too many people not bothering about
- Personal Finance
- Financial Literacy
- Financial Planning
- Fiscal Prudence
Each one has his / her own basket of reasons:
- CHILDREN - "After all I'm a child - my parents, my elders will take care of such things - things are cool as long as I get my pocket money to buy all the stuff I want!"
- TEENS - "I've got enough of things to worry about - my education, my girl friends / boy friends, my looks, my future career, my weight, my wardrobe, my waistline - who has the time to worry about stuff like Finance?"
- YOUNG ADULTS - "Have just got into my first job - these things are more relevant for middle-aged folk who need to plan for the future - Let me concentrate on increasing my pay packet
- NEWLY WED ADULTS - "Have just got married - Got to establish a great relationship with my spouse - Am sure stuff like finance can wait"
- PARENTS OF A NEW-BORN BABY - "I'm earning enough and more - let me focus on enjoying life at the moment. My new-born baby should get the best of all the things that money can buy - So what if I splurge a bit (if required by taking loans). In fact, I'm being smart by borrowing money and living it up on credit cards - After all, my income is only growing day by day and the economy is booming"
- MID-CAREER MIDDLE-AGED PROFESSIONALS - "As it is life is stressful - who has the time for stuff like finance? As long as I'm earning enough to take care of my expenses, my life style and my EMIs for my housing and car loans, why should I worry?"
- WOMEN AT LARGE (Especially home-makers) - "There is enough and more for me to bother about - let my husband / father / son take care of such things - After all they don't have to take care of household chores like cooking, washing, cleaning, managing the servant maid, and all the 1000 other things that I need to do!"
- LATE-CAREER PROFESSIONALS (Especially those due to retire in a couple of years) - "I guess that stuff like my PF and whatever that I've saved in things like PPF, Postal Savings, etc. should take care of things. Hopefully I can repay my housing loan before I retire - Even otherwise, I'm sure that my kids will take care of me - Probably it is too late for me to start stuff like financial planning. Any way, I don't know anything about things like Equity, Mutual Funds, etc. Also, at this age, I can't take undue risks!"
- RETIRED FOLKS, JUST RETIRED SENIOR CITIZENS - "What financial planning? My money is barely enough to make both ends meet - As it is I've been forced to compromise on a lot of my earlier life-style expenses. Too late for me now!"
- 70+ SENIOR CITIZENS - "I wish I'd started out in my younger days - I've been telling all my children, my nephews, my nieces, my neighbours kids, etc. about the importance of stuff like Fiscal Prudence, Financial Planning, etc. - But who listens these days? Unfortunately, I never had anyone to tell me about all these things in my younger days!"
The above are typical responses that I've actually heard from a wide range of people at different points of time. These are just examples - the actual basket of responses will run to several pages of vivd imagination. The poor ones will say that they can't afford financial planning. The rich ones will claim that they don't need!
In Part II of "Why Bother", I'll try to explain the rationale behind my hypothesis that each of us, irrespective of age, gender, stage of life, fiscal position, etc. should bother about financial planning, fiscal prudence, etc.
Something topical for the more advanced readers who may find the above stuff too basic and not worth the bother:
Anil Ambani has promised "free bonus shares" to non-promoter shareholders of Reliance Power. This may seem to be a nice gesture on his part to the Reliance Power shareholders.
However, what about the impact on the non-promoter shareholders of Reliance Energy. Why should they suffer for no fault of theirs, just because Anil Ambani wants to shore up the valuation of Reliance Power? Is this not a case of "Oppression of Minority Shareholders" u/s 397 of the Companies Act, 1956?