Entrepreneur At 60! How My Mother Found Financial Freedom

At the age of 60, my mother started earning her own money. It instilled a sense of pride and confidence in her that I could never see earlier.

Most of us grow up idolizing our mothers. I wasn’t an exception, either. As far as I can remember, I have always been more attached to my mother than my father.

Ma, who never had anyone to support her after marriage, worked extremely hard to bring me up.

Despite coming from a remote village in Bangladesh, she was far-sighted enough to realize the importance of English and made sure that I got admitted in a reputed English-medium school.

A child’s education should not get hindered

My father had a transferable job at the bank, and in those days it was rare for home-makers not to shift with their spouse. My mother, however, always believed in the motto — a child’s education should come first!

And fearing that my education would be hampered if we frequently shifted cities, she decided to stay back at Kolkata with me as her only companion.

While growing up, my mother and I mostly had each other for company. We used to visit local places, have picnics at the terrace or garden area and looked after the pets together.

An avid reader herself, she instilled a deep love for books in me since my childhood. Of course, there have been ups and downs in our relationship (especially during the adolescence and even after), but I think despite the odds, we have always been strongly attached with each other.

Over time, I completed my masters and started working at a college. It was at this point, my father retired from his job as an officer from the bank.

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Retirement brings ample time and restlessness

While things were fine for the initial few months, he started growing restless within a few months. He had ample time and didn’t know what to do with it.

Again, my mother again took control of the situation. Considering my parents had built a three-storied house at Kolkata which had multiple unused spaces, my mother decided to open a paying guest facility for women.

She decided the rents, cleaned each room meticulously with some help from the household staff, and started cooking for the paying guests as well. Though initially the response towards the business was lukewarm, it got good responses, until the pandemic struck.

But that’s a story for another time!

Earning her own money instilled a sense of pride

The point here is that at the age of 60, my mother started earning her own money. It instilled a sense of pride and confidence in her that I could never see earlier.

Five years after my mother opened the business, I got married and within 2 years I had my firstborn. My mother was thrilled, needless to say!

Now, she had a business to run, do household work, and she also looked after my daughter occasionally— she had her days full!

Enjoying your financial freedom is extremely important

Of course, these days she gets tired, and I tell her to slow down, but I don’t think she can ever do that.

She confessed that for the first time in 60 years, she tasted financial freedom, and she wants to enjoy it as long as she can.

What I appreciate about my mother is that despite having an extremely tough life, she never gave it up. She was an emotional, yet practical woman who realized the importance of financial empowerment in the first year of marriage itself.

We cannot change the past, but we can strive for better future

Though she couldn’t do anything to improve her own situation back then, she made sure to make me educated and financially well-established.

And years after, when she got the opportunity for herself, she grabbed it with both hands, thus turning an adverse situation to her advantage.

Also, I absolutely adore the fact that she always had a life beyond the kitchen. She might have been a home-maker, but she never restricted herself to the kitchen.

Women should have hobbies and not restrict our lives to the four walls of kitchen

Earlier, she used to sew a lot of things, though she doesn’t do that any more. Gardening has always been her passion and even today, she spends at least an hour in our adjoining garden, tending plants, watering them, pruning trees and clearing the weeds.

Despite living in a metropolitan city, she has managed to grow mango, coconut, jackfruit, papaya trees, apart from several varieties of herbs.

Apart from gardening, she loves reading books. Like the way she used to buy books for me in childhood, I now buy books for her and seeing her reading them brings me immense joy.

I am now in my late 30s, and have a settled for career in academics. But unlike most of my counterparts, I don’t think that I will be able to “retire” ever.

These days I am thinking a lot about what can I do after retirement, and I am sure that my mother will inspire me to do something productive in my golden age.

Image Source: Still from trailer of Tribhanga, edited on CanvaPro

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About the Author

Priyanka Roy

Assistant professor and a mother to a young daughter, I am learning to balance my personal and professional life. read more...

3 Posts | 2,282 Views

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