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As they say, there are NO free lunches. Financial independence and literacy is the only way to ensure a safe and worry free life for you and your daughters.
Even as I fancy myself a sort of modern day vanaprastha vaasi, honing my detachment from dunyadari, I have to say that there is no way I know of doing this without first having a nest-egg and a steady source of income in your name. The sweet spot is to know just how much is enough, and then to step off the treadmill, if it doesn’t suit you.
Since many friends and strangers ask me about this, and since some of these thoughts came to mind as I was rejigging my modest investment portfolio just now, here is a little gyaan varsha.
I must also add, that the same principles apply, even when you like the treadmill, whatever that is a job, grahashti, urban living, as a friend points out in her comment. Accounting for self-care and sustenance is a basic minimum. Why should a continued commitment to a job, salary, business, in any way mean that we don’t plan finances and making the most of saving, enjoying, enhancing that hard-earned income?
On the other hand, sanyas, vanaprastha, or a simple quotidian retirement or life of leisure too is supported by known, direct or indirect means of sustenance, be they abundant or ascetic.
So to all the ladies who dream of having the time and place to watch the world go by, to stand and stare, I say, get savvy about finance, because uske bina nahi ho payega (nothing can happen without that)….
Save, invest, have a home and/or other tangible encashable assets in your name. Ensure yourself a steady income that will forever pay your rent and for expenses, even when you do not actually go to work for that income, or retire, as the phrase is. Have a clear understanding and discuss matters with the family and spouse and parents…whatever is the arrangement in your case. Do not discuss with certain people, if that’s the safer option. Know that difference too.
Never ever think there is any free lunch. Not even in the forest, not even in a monastery or ashram, not as a parent living with your grown up offspring or when you choose a senior living community, and certainly not in that holiest of holies, a marriage. No matter where and when you go, however far away…. or however enmeshed in the lives of others you call your own…There isn’t anything free, except what that you saved for and in some way earned.
The cost may be invisible to you now, or forever, but it is there. Choose which way you’d like it paid, in advance. Also, and most importantly, examine every assumption about money, security, contentment, lifestyle, quality of life.
Make charts, compare, contrast possible and existing scenarios. Put numbers to thoughts, give words to feelings. Discover truths, discard presumptions and conditioning. Remember why you wish to be so adventurous as to break away from the norm, from the routine. Stay creative.
For the lads, I think the equation is never murky, they have these fundas pretty clear.
Image source: a still from the film Monsoon Wedding
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Kiranjeet Chaturvedi trained as a sociologist, and worked in qualitative market research with the WPP Group for many years. In the last decade she had taken to writing, sustainability consulting, farming and mountain living.
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Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
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