Nash was a rising soccer star at his school. A gifted athlete, Nash’s opponents found it hard to tackle the ball from him once he had it in his control. Still in senior school, Nash had already been instrumental in winning several local football championships for his school team.
Nash was very popular at his school and among the football enthusiasts in his district. However, at home, his footballing genius was uncelebrated. His father, Edwin, was worried that Nash was spending way too much time on the soccer field than studying. As a result, there was always a tensed environment in the house, much to Cheryl’s, Nash’s mother, disappointment. She could see the widening rift between the father and the son, and she was desperate to find the solution to this problem.
So, Cheryl took it upon herself to talk to her husband and learn the root cause of the conflict. One Sunday, while Nash had gone out for a birthday party in the neighbourhood, Cheryl planned a surprise coffee outing for the two. After observing how rarely they got to sit and talk leisurely over a steaming cup of coffee, Cheryl deftly drove the conversation to Edwin’s rising apprehension towards Nash’s budding career as a soccer player.
‘Cheryl dear, you know how I love him and am so proud to hear all the praise for his football skills that he gets from everyone around us,’ Edwin spoke up after a long moment of silence.
‘Then why don’t you appreciate him a bit. You know how much he looks up to you and how much your appreciation means to him,’ pleaded Cheryl.
With tears swarming in his eyes, Edwin said, ‘I am afraid what will happen if his career as a sportsman doesn’t take off. You remember cousin Maynard, don’t you? Even after shooting winning goals in crucial matches at the district level, he was never picked up by any of the big clubs. Without education to fall back upon, he was left with no career and no money.’
Cheryl knew about Maynard’s failed football career, but she wasn’t ready to stomp at her darling son’s aspirations just because his uncle couldn’t fulfil his dreams.
After thinking for a few moments, Cheryl proposed, ‘Why don’t we arrange professional football coaching for Nash. It will certainly improve his game and also his chances of making a brighter future as a sportsman.’
Drawing a long sigh, Edwin said, ‘I have thought about it dear, but I have been setting aside some money for Nash’s higher education, which leaves me with nothing else. I can’t afford to pay for his football coaching, as well as, save for his higher education.’
Edwin thought that Cheryl would be dejected after hearing this, but quite opposed to it, she began grinning in a knowing, mischievous way.
‘I think I have a solution to this problem,’ she exulted happily.
A perplexed Edwin looked on as Cheryl dug into the chocolate cake, which lay untouched on her plate thus far. She seemed very calm, yet her eyes danced with excitement. It appeared to Edwin that she was calculating something between mouthfuls of cake.
‘Okay, what is it, please tell me,’ Edwin blurted out his confusion, unable to bear the suspense.
‘Starting from tomorrow, we will start investing to fund Nash’s football coaching, as well as, his higher studies,’ Cheryl declared.
‘Were you not listening to me? I don’t have enough money to fund both,’ Edwin did nothing to hide his exasperation.
‘Well, but Nash has time,’ she said calmly.
Cheryl reminded Edwin that she had been to a seminar on financial literacy by a leading financial expert in the state, where she had learnt about long-term investments in mutual funds through SIPs (Systematic Investment Plans).
She told Edwin that mutual funds are essentially a large pool of money from small investors that are invested into the stock market by a qualified Fund Manager. Over time, mutual funds earn returns at a compounding rate, helping the small investors create significant wealth.
‘But stock markets are risky,’ Edwin voiced his doubts.
‘Of course, the stock market is volatile – it has its ebbs and flows. However, this fluctuation in the market is the sole reason why the stock markets grow. Also, if one stays invested for a very long time, say over ten years, in spite of the market dips, the returns are astoundingly big. I have done my research and found this trend to be true. Most people make the mistake of exiting the market when it is on a downward trend, thus booking losses,’ Cheryl explained to her husband like a top financial expert on CNN, which surprised and bemused Edwin at the same time.
‘We can split the money you are saving for Nash’s education into two, investing in mutual funds through monthly SIPs, and let the money grow,’ suggested Cheryl.
‘Go on,’ said Edwin, warming up to the idea of investing.
‘We will gradually increase the SIP sum, and will also encourage Nash to save from his allowances and add to his funds through top-ups – yes they are possible – which will also help him to differentiate between needs and wants and manage his funds better,’ she added excitedly.
‘Brilliant!’ exclaimed Edwin, catching up on his wife’s excitement.
Cheryl added, ‘And by the time, let’s encourage Nash to play his best game, practice as much as he can, and spend time with him, helping him cope up with his studies.’
‘That’s a good idea. You think that if I praise Nash’s game, he will listen to me and pay more attention to his studies?’ asked Edwin hopefully.
Cheryl looked lovingly at her husband and nodded.
‘He is a good boy, Edwin. He is much more concerned about his career than us when we were of his age,’ she added.
The air was brimming with anticipation and happy promises as Cheryl walked back to her home, holding Edwin’s hand, who had a determined look on his face. Cheryl silently thanked the financial expert who showed her the way to use financial planning to fulfil her son’s aspirations while still meeting her husband’s expectations from their son.
Dr Celso Fernandes is an author, speaker and a leading financial advisor in Goa. He, along with his team at Nave Marg Financial Consultants, is on a continual drive to spread financial awareness among the Goan families. Fondly known as the Financial Doctor of Goa, Dr Celso Fernandes can be reached at +91-9422058741 for a free consultation on attaining financial independence.