When Jagannath Moorthy got his first salary as a 20-something coder in 1993, he started on a journey of savings and investments which is bearing him fruit even today. “It was just Rs. 5500, but that was a huge amount in those days. The first thing I did with that money was buy a savings and investment plan,” he recalls with a smile.
For Jaggu, as his family calls him dearly, his financial decisions were tied to emotions. It wasn’t just about the numbers, it was about his love for his family – his mother, wife and kids. When he was a teenager, his father passed away, leaving the family in financial turmoil.
Jagannath Moorthy, started investing right at the very beginning of his career.
“My father lived in the moment. He did not think too much about money and enjoyed life. But my grandfather was the exact opposite. He taught us to live within our means, save for the future. All this had an impact on my life, I was exposed to both ways of living. So when my time came, I chose to be diligent with my money and be financially independent,” he says. Ever since, Jaggu and his family have traveled the world and lived well. “I wasn’t too stingy, but I was careful. Now, we are comfortable,” he says, hoping he could even retire early if he wanted to. “Living within our means and investing a part of the money we earn – these are two important lessons in life,” he says.
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Ask Hyderabad-based corporate lawyer Vishaka, and she says that similar sentiments drive her financial decisions too. With her mother having inculcated in her a habit of spending carefully and saving wisely, the 27-year-old says that even when she got married to her partner, it mattered that both of them had the same ideas about money and investment. “Apart from the fact that I loved him, it was important that he was financially sound. I have always been conservative in spending, and it did matter to me that he was also thoughtful about money. We discussed these things before we got married,” she says.
Vishaka says that financial savings makes a person independent, and that freedom fosters a better marriage. “It helps in a relationship. We plan our future together, but when we are not dependent on each other, there is a feeling of equality which leads to overall satisfaction. We also know that on a bad day, your partner has got your back,” she says.
Forty-two year old techie Riyaz Mohammad agrees. “Financial freedom is very important in a relationship. The freedom allows us each to do what we want with our money. My wife prefers saving her money in postal schemes and other safe options, but I like to experiment and be adventurous. The risks I take are mine, her money is safe, the way she wants it,” he says.
Riyaz Mohammad is a salaried IT professional, but has a wide range of investments in his portfolio.
For an IT professional, Riyaz’s financial portfolio is an impressive and diverse set of investments and savings, ranging from insurance plans to equity-linked wealth funds.
I want to invest, but how?
One of the major barriers for youngsters who want to invest is they don’t know how to start. There are just too many options, some of which are risky, and many don’t know how to assess the risk.
Riyaz says that a majority of the people around him fall into the category of those who earn well in traditional careers, but do not have the bandwidth to research markets, assess risk and invest. For them, an insurance scheme which is also an investment plan is a good first step. “I do have plans like that. Insurance is critical for everyone, we all know that. But sound investments need research and not everyone can do it at first, so such plans are a good idea,” he says. Jagannath points out that such plans are like “killing two birds with one stone” – insurance and investment.
For those who can take the time out to research and put in the effort, the world is your oyster.