What Does it Take to Win Against All Odds?

Rachel loved words. Ever since she was a little child, she read voraciously, starting from Enid Blyton to Hardy Boys to much-loved classics such as Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities that she had already read by the age of eleven. Of course, given to the habit of reading at an early age, she had some staunch favourites and was quite picky about what she read. Roald Dahl and Ruskin Bond were two of her favourite authors. And, just like her beloved authors, she wanted to write books for a living and had already started working towards it.

Yes, barely 15 years old, Rachel had several published articles and short stories to her credit. She was working on a compilation of short stories that she planned to publish, followed by a lighthearted story book sharing the adventures of her cute dog – Poco.

Rachel’s parents were proud of their daughter’s achievements – yet, they feared for her. They knew their little girl was quite resolute and often worried about her future. For, how much could a writer possibly earn?

Not everyone made it big like Jeffrey Archer. Even Ruskin Bond lived a life of scarcity – though full of recognition yet devoid of material comforts, and that was not the future they wished for their child.

“Sam, writing is a hobby and a career for those who are born with a silver spoon in their mouth,” said Neil to his wife one day as she read one of the latest stories by her daughter published in a leading daily.

“I am inclined to agree with you, Neil. But Rachel is gifted. I wish we were rich enough to support her passion. I don’t know how we would persuade her to follow a conventional career once the time comes.”

As the couple continued with their discussion, little did they know that Rachel was hearing each and every word with rapt attention from a corner in the room. She left after a few minutes, and sat down to cry. Playing with words was as important as breathing to her. Would she never be able to fulfil her dream of being an internationally recognised author? She didn’t want to be a doctor or an engineer or a lawyer or even a teacher. But did she have a choice?

Lost in her thoughts, she picked up an old newspaper to find an article by a first-time author who was only 21 years old. She continued to read the article to find that the author, Mick D’Souza, came from a humble background and pursued engineering before dropping out in the final year to publish his book and market it.

“How did he manage enough money to achieve this?” she wondered.

Rachel noticed an email id printed at the bottom of the article. She decided to voice her thoughts to Mick. She was certain he would understand her conundrum.

She wrote:

Dear Mick

I am quite young but am certain that I want to be a writer. I want to author books for a living – and not be a part of any conventional career. Unfortunately, I come from a middle-class family and my parents don’t think I would be able to manage a decent lifestyle simply by writing books. They suggest it could be a hobby – but I don’t want that.

I read that you faced the same dilemma as I do currently. Please tell me your story – I really want to know.


As Rachel waited breathlessly, soon enough she had a response from Mick.

Dear Rachel,

Glad to hear from you. First of all, let me congratulate you on your clarity of thought and bold choice. I don’t know how old you are – but that is immaterial. Your parents are right when they say you need a strong financial background to pursue an alternate career – especially in the early stages. However, they are not entirely correct when they say that you need a professional job to be financially sound.

I was lucky to have a wealthy uncle who stepped in to help me when I was in the same situation as yours. No, he did not give me money but he did give me some advice that changed my life forever.

Have you heard of a term, SIP or Systematic Investment Plan? That was my ticket to financial freedom. I suggest you read more about it or urge your parents to meet a financial advisor with you so that you can grow your wealth effortlessly.

Remember – money can grow on trees only if you invest in time.

Don’t let money chart your dreams!


Rachel ran to her father and showed him the email. Though skeptical, Neil, who had read Mick’s first book and genuinely enjoyed it, decided to heed the author’s advice.

The next morning, the family hopped into their small Nano to meet the financial advisor recommended by Neil’s close friend and affluent colleague. As they stepped into the advisor’s office – they felt confused but were pleased to be greeted by a benign and pleasant face.

Soon, the advisor had them engrossed in charts and figures that explained to them the concept of mutual funds and how they can outperform traditional modes of savings, such as FDs, over a period of 10 years or so.

Neil was surprised that by investing as low as INR 500 in a systematic investment plan, he could build a little fortune in less than a decade. By increasing the amount gradually – they could be millionaires in a few years and Rachel could well pursue any career she liked.

Was it that simple to be financially free?


A few years later:

“Sam, are you ready? I don’t want to be late for this exciting event. It is Rachel’s big day.”

He pulled out their new car as Sam quickly gathered her things and sat in the car. It was the inauguration of Rachel’s new book – her dream was finally true.

And guess who was there to inaugurate the book? Of course, Mick and their trusted financial advisor whose astute advice changed their lives forever.

Dr. Celso Fernandes is the flag-bearer of financial literacy in Goa. A dentist, motivational speaker, financial guru and an author, Dr. Celso Fernandes, with his team at Nave Marg Financial Consultants works with young students and helps them achieve financial independence much early in their lives. Dr. Celso can be reached at +91-9422058741.

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