My maid keeps talking while working. She talks mainly about all that happened the previous day, her teenage son (who wanders around after school hours and goes home late), her financial conditions, how her sisters-in-law cheated her in various ways utilizing her gold and money, and so on. BTW she is a widow in her early 30s. She started handling money only after her husband’s death three years back. She keeps her bank passbook, chequebook, and ATM card in my home.
Sometimes in an emergency, she buys vegetables for me. One day the tomatoes she got for me were wrapped in The Economic Times newspaper. While casually glancing at it a quote by Warren Buffett struck my attention: “We do a lot of dumb things in this world. It is important and it is possible to come out stronger.” Further down in the same article he had mentioned: “Never depend on a single income, make an investment to create a second source.”
I had never been interested in finance and had never read this newspaper before. I always used to keep my knowledge to the bare minimum even when I had to do savings for tax purpose. Like many of you, I too have invested in LIC (life insurance) policies. Recently I was considering premature closure of my LIC policies as LIC will release the assured amount only after my death. Anyway, I cannot do net banking from heaven!
Two months ago, I got a letter from the Life Insurance Corporation informing me that one of my policies had matured! I was happy and pinched myself to confirm that I had not passed on from the physical plane! I sent the filled-up claim to LIC, but after two months for some reason.
My LIC agent had called me to suggest various options for reinvesting the matured amount. He was very unhappy to learn that I delayed the claim by 2 months. He was more worried about the amount of interest I lost because of the delay! This incident and Warren Buffet’s gems of wisdom finally convinced me that it may be important to understand a little bit of finance and savings schemes.
I approached my husband. Though he has an MBA in Finance from IIMB, we had never discussed terms like time value of money, the stock market, NSE, BSE etc till then, mainly due to my lack of interest! If the kids approach him with a problem in Maths or Physics, he always starts from the basics and in course of time reaches the real problem. They say he is a very good teacher. But I don’t like such teachers! I only want the solution to the current problem. I don’t like spending too much time on basics; maybe I am a bad student. As expected, in this case also he started from the simple interest calculation! Taking into consideration the overall peace and harmony in the family, I decided to change the teacher and approached Google immediately. I googled ‘the BASIC financial concepts everyone should know’ and ‘the best savings schemes for ORDINARY women’.
That search landed me on the India Post website. I learned about different savings schemes offered by them and I somehow liked it. I decided to visit the nearby post office just a 7-minute walk from home. I don’t remember when I last visited a post office. During my school and college days, all communication with friends during vacations was through the post office. There were no emails then, only ‘snail mail’! I think I was visiting a post office after a long gap! It was not airconditioned, unlike most banks. There was no electronic token system. And it was very crowded. I could see people of all age groups as customers there. But the majority of them were old couples. I was surprised by the number of postwomen too. After some time I managed to get the account opening forms.
That evening at dinner I explained my newly acquired knowledge in finance and savings schemes to my family. I asked them to open a local post office savings account. My son was not interested at all as he wanted to invest in ‘cryptocurrency’! Anyway, I opened a savings account for me the next day itself and got detailed information on other saving schemes too. My husband took a little longer, but within a week I succeeded in getting him also to open an account.
My negotiation with my son continued. He told me that I sound like a post office agent! I quoted Warren Buffett: ‘It is important to start saving early and it is more important than a high IQ!’ I think it worked and the next day he said he would open an account. This morning I went to the post office again to get him an account opening form and the lady at the counter asked me: ‘I am seeing you here daily, are you an agent?’ 🙂
I think I have started liking finance now. My ever-loving Google is giving me classes on cryptocurrency too. I will update you soon! I have started reading ‘How to Invest in Cryptocurrencies: The Ultimate Beginners’ Guide’, and am waiting for my next LIC policy to mature! BTW now my maid is keeping her new post office passbook also in my home. 😉
I asked many of my friends regarding their investments. Most of them were not bothered because their husbands were taking care of these things! Very few were interested in the world of finance, stock market etc. How many of you are familiar with the savings schemes available? Are you interested in finance? What do you think of cryptocurrency?
BTW I had a dream yesterday where Warren Buffett was holding a post office passbook!
Happy empty nesting 🙂
Do not save what is left after spending but spend what is left after saving ~ Warren Buffett