Jake came home from his school one day to find his father and mother brooding over some serious matter. For an instant, he was scared. ‘I hope Grandpa is all right,’ Jake said a silent prayer before sitting down with his parents.
Elton, Jake’s father who worked in a bank, and Sharon, a social worker, looked deeply troubled.
‘Mum, Dad, what’s the matter? Is Grandpa OK?” he asked softly, fearing the worst.
Jake’s question pulled out his parents from their reverie.
‘Oh, yes. Your grandpa is recovering well,’ said Elton with a relieved look on his face, ‘and thank god for that. The doctors did a great job reviving him from that massive heart attack,’ he added.
‘He will be relieved today evening,’ said Sharon, ‘we had just come home from the hospital to manage funds to pay the hospital bill.’
Jake was confused. If Grandpa is alright and recovering well, why his parents appeared to be so worried?
‘If Grandpa’s condition is improving then why aren’t you guys happy?’ Jake voiced out his confusion.
Sharon smiled, with a hint of sadness and tiredness on her face, ‘We are very happy about your grandfather’s recovery, Jake. It is just that the hospital has billed us a huge amount of money.’
His father added, ‘Paying the hospital bill will make a significant dent in our savings meant to fund your higher education and our post-retirement period.’
Jake took a moment to grasp the significance of the problem faced by his parents. At 15 years, Jake was not just a good student and a skilled football player, he also had a cool head on his shoulders. Jake was mature and sensible and someone who didn’t act on an impulse. Jake liked to think about the pros and cons of any action before acting on it. It is unsurprising, therefore, that he discussed serious issues with his parents, they often appreciated his thoughts and advises.
‘Dad, don’t you have health insurance? A mediclaim policy?’ Jake finally asked his father, who seemed to be distant.
‘Well … no,’ he confessed, ‘I always thought that health insurance isn’t necessary, and a waste of money,’ Elton couldn’t meet eyes with his son’s gaze.
‘Whatever is done, is done,’ announced Sharon, trying to comfort Elton, ‘I will take up a regular job to contribute more money to our savings.’
Elton let out a sad sigh, feeling guilty for not taking health insurance cover when he had time. Now, because of his lack of vision, his wife would have to hunt for jobs, leaving the nest for underprivileged children that she so lovingly built.
‘No one has to do anything,’ Jake suddenly sprang up from the sofa.
As his parents looked at him with alarm, he continued, ‘Don’t worry, everything is sorted out. Dad, you will buy a health insurance policy covering every member of this house. And don’t you shy away from buying a higher cover at a little extra premium,’ he ordered Elton, who simply gaped.
‘Mum, you keep doing the awesome work you are doing. The children in your NGO need you badly, we all know that,’ concluded Jake.
But he was not finished.
‘As for the savings to fund my education and your old-age, I have that sorted out.’
Elton and Sharon exchanged puzzled glances as Jake went on, ‘Recently, our school had invited a renowned financial advisor who told us about the five golden rules to grow rich and introduced us to the power of compounding.’
Jake was clearly not helping his parents as they looked on bewildered.
‘Mum, Dad,’ Jake looked at his parents with a serious expression, ‘We all know that our monetary situation is not as bad as we think. I have researched our household spending patterns and found out that we can easily get rid of 20% of unwanted expenditures on things we don’t really need.’
Sharon was incredulous. When did her little son get so wise? And more importantly, how could he find avenues to save when she couldn’t in so many years.
When confronted, Jake told his mother about their lavish weekend outings and impulsive online shopping, of which Elton and Sharon were equally guilty.
‘You give me pocket money of Rs 3,000 a month. I am planning to invest Rs 1,000 out of my pocket money in mutual funds through Systematic Investment Plans,’ Jake announced his plans.
Jake explained to his parents that after listening to the speech from the financial mentor, he started to distinguish between things that he needed and things that he wanted. With this exercise of distinguishing needs from wants, it was easier for him to spend judiciously.
‘As per the calculations shown by the financial advisor, in the next ten years, my personal portfolio would be over a million rupees. So, you don’t have to worry about my higher education. I would like to finish college and gather some experience in the fields that I would like to explore. Maybe, travel to a few countries, and then enrol in a higher education program of my choice, possibly from a leading foreign university. While all this while, my little investments grow big and bigger to fund all my dreams,’ he said excitedly.
Elton and Sharon hugged their son and marvelled at his wisdom and foresightedness.
‘Jake, while most parents think that their teenage children don’t listen to them, I think it is the parents who should listen to the smart and informed youth of today,’ Elton said with a lot of pride and joy.
‘Thanks Dad,’ said an elated Jake, ‘but let’s go fast now. I am itching to meet my darling Grandpa.’
‘Of course, dear. But you also promise us that you will take us to the financial advisor who could put our rough plans into action,’ said Elton, ‘I think it is time for us parents to learn a lesson in financial literacy,’ he added with a wink and smile.
Dr. Celso Fernandes is a known figure in the financial advisory sphere in Goa. A dentist by profession, Dr. Celso diagnosed that financial troubles were the major cause of unhappiness among the people around him. Vowing to save people from courting financial troubles, Dr. Celso Fernandes, and his initiative, Nave Marg Financial Consultants, have been spreading awareness about financial literacy and helping people attain wealth creation goals since the past decade. Dr. Celso is also an enigmatic speaker and a skilled writer with several much-loved books to his credit. He can be reached at +91 – 9422058741.