“This is the limit Mom, I can’t take this anymore” said Shikha, a 31 year old lady to her mother, Arundhati. Earlier, Shikha was working with a private sector bank, after which she gave birth to a beautiful daughter. Shikha had quit her job to be able to take care of the child. Now her daughter is around 16 months old and her mother, Arundhati has come over to her place to help her.
“Sumit (Shikha’s Husband) doesn’t have a taste. You won’t believe, he bought a small Maruti, when we had decided to buy a big luxury car. We can easily afford an EMI of the luxury car. All he needs is to stop his nonsense SIP. But he doesn’t listen to me. I mean, how stupid is that? Do you remember my friend, Deepika ? Her Husband has a similar pay as Sumit. He recently bought a luxury car. That’s what I call classy.” Said Shikha to Arundhati.
Arundhati Smiled, “How big a Car do you need for a 3 of you, Shikha ? Don’t you realise that the Luxury car that you are talking about would increase the EMI by almost 4 times of what Sumit is paying right now? Why to take that unnecessary financial burden on yourself when you don’t really ‘Need’ it? Just because Deepika or her husband bought a bigger car? And you want to show-off that even you have no less than her?”
Shikha said, “You don’t understand Mom!! If we can’t spend, why do we earn so much?”
Arundhati said, “I would definitely like to answer this question of yours, Shikha. A person earns so much so that he can give a happy and comfortable life, not only to himself, but also to his family; And not only for today, but also for the years to come; even if few things go against expectations like a death or a job loss. He doesn’t earn so that, he and his family blows off everything that he is earning and also burden themselves with so much debt, that tomorrow, if one things goes against expectation, the entire family is affected adversely.
It is a not only a sensible thing, but also a prudent responsibility of the bread-earner to save for future. Having said that, it is also responsibility of the family to help him do that, by keeping their own demands in check.”
Shikha Said, “But Mom, we used to spend like crazy when I was working. Now, all of a sudden these restrictions in spending are making me sick. Why do we have to do this?”
Arundhati Said, “Things have changed, dear. Earlier, you both were working. Also, you both didn’t have expenses for the childcare which you are incurring right now. So for Sumit, its a double whammy; Drastic drop in income support (which was coming from you, even after you spent 40-45% of it); And also, the non-discretionary expenses have gone up where we cannot compromise, like healthcare, baby-related essentials etc. So the only option remains is to cut down on discretionary expenses which aren’t too necessary.”
Shikha said, “That’s what I am saying Mom. He can easily stop making his investments. That is a discretionary and unnecessary expense we are incurring. Rather, that Rs. 10000 p.m. could be used to pay a higher EMI for a luxury car or for any other household expenses.”
Arundhati Said, “That would be the most unwise thing to do. Ok, tell me. Is Sumit having a government job ?”
Shikha said, “No he’s not!!”
Arundhati Said, “Then imagine, who’s going to fund his retirement. When he retires, and the income stops coming, how will you guys fund your household expenses at that time?”
Shikha Said, “May be some money will be accumulated by that time.” Her tone wasn’t too confident this time.
Arundhati said, “That ‘some money’ actually needs to be a Substantial amount. Looking at your current lifestyle, you would require a corpus of around Rs. 3-3.5 Crores at the time of your retirement so that, at that time you could keep getting an income of around Rs. 1.5 Lakh p.m. to fund your household expenses; And how do you think these Rs. 3 Crores will be accumulated if Sumit keeps skipping and stopping his investments every now and then? Since he has started his SIP of Rs. 10,000 when he was 29, he can easily accumulate that kind of wealth. If he acts undisciplined, his and your retirement could be a nightmare.”
Shikha Said, “But Mom, then how did Papa manage all these issues. He never stopped me from spending ever!!”
Arundhati said, “2 things I would like to mention here:
- When your Papa was Sumit’s age, he too was a great saver. He saved and accumulated so much, so that he does not have to stop you from spending when you grow up.
- He didn’t stop YOU from spending, but he always kept telling me to keep a check on MY spending habits when we were your age.
The point is, when you plan and save in your early years, you do not have to worry too much when your kids grow up or when you are about to retire. If you keep splurging everything that you have right now, maybe your daughter won’t have the same thoughts about Sumit, which you are having about your Papa.”
Shikha Said, “You have explained me all these things in such a beautiful manner Mom. All these days, I was just thinking that when we are earning, we should spend more and show-off a better lifestyle to others. But now I realise that, just to show-off and impress others, we cannot risk the future of our kids and our own too. Also, I would want my daughter to be proud of Sumit, the same way I am proud of my Papa. Thanks for clearing my mind. Love you Mom.”
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(The views mentioned in the article are personal opinion of the author. The characters used in the article are hypothetical).