This is the series where I will be writing my heart out. I am writing this out of concern, concern about the financial situation our mindset is going through. The things I am going to write here are from my own life experience as well as the stories of people whom I know. Many of you who are reading this can relate to your own life experiences or life situations.
I will be walking from the stages you're born to the day you will say goodbye to our earth. What might happen throughout this journey, or what could happen throughout this journey? There is a small twist here, I will be taking you through the journey of 2 people, two different people raised differently, in terms of financial literacy. The characters will be Jake and Mike. So, let’s get started.
Please note, the characters and names used in this illustration is completely fictional and does not resemble anyone in real life.
The day you're Born
When you’re born. Well, just kidding. Nothing related to financial things happens when you’re born. You don’t even know the language to communicate. Everyone’s face is new to you, and you just cry whenever you’re hungry. Life is good now!
Jake likes to play every time and always wants his friends around. Whenever he goes shopping with his parents, he reaches out for a toy and starts crying. Jake just hangs onto the toy; makes some faces and gets the toy. A bit stubborn, but he gets what he wants. Jakes's parents really don’t care about the expensive toy, but just buy's him in order to keep him quiet from crying. That’s an expensive trick to keep Jake silent!
Mike has grown to see how his parents are living. He goes shopping and like Jake, he holds onto his toy. Never letting go. But Mike’s parents don’t really want to buy Mike this toy, either it's expensive or he already has the same kind of toy. Both ways, they don’t want to spend too much money on toys. So, they come up to Mike, tells him why he doesn’t have to buy this toy (give some intelligent reasons like the- we’ll get a better toy from a different store) and explains to mike the toy is expensive and makes him understand the toy is not that much worth the money. In either case, they make him understand the situation and give him the option to decide. Consequently, Mike keeps down his toy and walks back with his parent. Mike's toy is happily on the toy shelf again!
12 years down the line
Jake feels like a grown-up. I am seeing my parents spending a good amount of money here and there on unnecessary things. Then why can’t I also join to buy unnecessary things? Let me talk to my Dad about that awesome PlayStation 5 which got released last month, I can’t wait to get my hands on it. 6 months down the line, that PlayStation is covered in all dust lying in the corner of Jake’s room! Valuing the money is something Jake needs to look for from this stage onwards. Jake still clinches on to whatever he wants, and even though his parents really don’t want to buy, they just buy him, to make him stay quiet at times.
Mike is trying to learn instead of mimicking his parent’s actions. Although he is seeing his dad sometimes spending without thinking, he is lucky not to be on that track. He is learning from his friends and family’s actions on how they are spending money. Mike knows that money is valuable, and he knows how limited his parents are getting each month. Thus, he asks for pocket money accordingly, most of the time adjusting himself and sacrificing some of the things on the way. That cupcake looks delicious, but Mom, we‘ll buy it the next time we come.
It’s been a tough ride in school, your parents give you pocket money, and you spend on food, going to movies, and rarely on some books. You might spend some money on your girlfriend if you are lucky to have one. Or you might start some really bad habits like smoking, which eventually puts a hole in your pocket full of pocket money.
Jake starts small. He asks daily for some money. To spend on food. Although he brings food from home, he still buys it from the canteen. He is fond of bakery items and daily he goes out to eat. This attracts his friends with him also, where most of the time, he settles the bill. He wants someone to be around when he goes to the bakery, to give Jake company and in return, he pays the bill. Since he’s underage, he doesn’t have a 2-wheeler, so he catches an Auto most of the time to go home or to the tuition center.
Mike goes to the canteen but this happens very rarely. He brings the food prepared by his mom and eats it well. He shares his food with his friends in his class and gets to taste his friend’s homemade food as well. He loves the cooked food and spends most of the time in class, chatting with his friends. Mike catches a bus which is a 200-meter walk from his school. Then he walks back to his home from the bus station which is another 200 meters. He saves some money in this and thinks in a different way. Since he is walking his way back, he is doing some exercise as well. Thus, he’s saving money and being healthy at the same time. Young minds like Mike are starting to think differently.
Jake is enjoying his college days now. Coming to college, life is freedom now. Jake can ask his parents for X amount of money saying all the reasons in the world. But considering his parent's financial situation, asking 1000 per day is quite huge, but still, he eventually just comes down to 800 per day. But either way, money flows. Jake hangs out with friends, go for movies, go for trips, party celebration and whatnot. For all these, money is flowing, and these are coming from his parents unless Jake is smart enough to start earning now which I rarely doubt.
But, asking based on your parent’s level of income and expectation is the respect you give to your parents indirectly. If they are earning 10,000 per month and you go and ask for 4000 as pocket money per month, they will give you, but in this situation, they will sacrifice a lot for themselves. Maybe they were planning to buy that good washing machine to make life easy and you come along asking for huge money. Most of the time, they keep their needs aside and give you want you asked for. So, always ask accordingly, be humble, and know where you stand.
Here comes Mike in his college days. Mike studied hard, just like everyone else to get into college. He is conscious that his parents have spent a lot of money to make him reach this stage. He always thinks of repaying his parents with a much more comfortable life. He already is taking a loan to study in college and doesn’t want to burden his parents much. He asks for some money daily for his lunch and snacks which come around 100. He is happy with it and enjoys the balance amount for any fun activities which he has with his friends. He is afraid of the competition and knows life is tough at times and if he’s unlucky he might not get a job also. So, he sees to get some financial aid by doing extra activities. For a start, he tries to take tuition for 12th class students as he like physics very much. He does this during the weekend and earns some amount so that he can enjoy going on trips and parties with his friends. Since he’s getting something, he rarely asks his parents for pocket money. Pocket money has now become a phrase of the past.
Well, keep the tension going. We are yet to discover what happens to Jake and Mike after college. Will they get a job, or will Mike continue to take tuition for the rest of his life? And will Jake always depend on his Parent's money till they run out of money? You never know.
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