Back when I was 22...
I was 22, just out of college, when I discovered there is a term called “Investment”, while I was working for a small startup in India. Man! those were some dark times!! The hot topic of the office was “funding” as they call it. Whenever someone complains about low pay and fucked up culture they had only one answer and I think most people have heard about this — “When we get funded everything will change”. A dream that will solve all the problems. Too bad, I left the company while it was still a dream.
I had a vague idea about investing — “Money has no value in itself. The value is in the assets. Saving is foolish, investing is genius”. Simple right! But my 22-year-old self took it as “saving money is for losers, and since I work on a very low salary so it’s fairly obvious I can’t invest. So, let’s spend all the money in the bank account. Once I have a respectable salary, which will fulfill all my needs, then I will think about investing.”
I always used to think my salary is so low, that I shouldn’t be even thinking of saving let alone investing. If someone mentioned saving to me, I would give a long lecture full of quotes from Rich dad poor dad just to prove myself right. I didn’t want to save! Saving for me is like settling down and being mediocre. I didn’t want to be mediocre.
It took me a long time to understand this :
I earned around 30k/month, which was low by industry standards but look at the expenses:
- Rent : 0 Rs (Used to live with my parents)
- Groceries : 0 Rs(Used to live with parents)
- Food : 0 Rs (Used to live with parents)
- Travel: Rs 100/day for fuel for the bike
- Cigarettes: Rs. 200 (Max)
- Daily Expense = Rs 300
- Monthly Expense = Rs. 9000
Throw in some miscellaneous 10k extra:
- Total Expense = Rs. 20,000
- Min Savings = 30,000 — 20,000 = 10,000
Min total saving’s in 2 years = 2.4 L
Still not enough for life but enough for investing. But, that’s not me! I didn’t want to save. Saving is for losers.
Turns out I was a loser. I never used to have money. My lifestyle was like a money pipeline with an outlet thrice as big as the inlet. Consequently, my salary burned out by the first week of the payday. I used to spend the whole month on credit cards and then pay off the bill again on the next payday. This cycle is not uncommon.
Working because you want to, not because you have to is financial freedom. — Tony Robbins
Being without money is terrible. It's like being under free fall! The Only difference is that it’s your life that’s falling. One of the things people advocate and I’ve been guilty of it too is to discard the idea of saving. What they fail to understand is that saving is the first step to investing. Not because it will teach you finance but it will teach you good old “Discipline”. Having a check on your spending habits is critical because if you don’t control your finances, finances will start controlling you.