Rachel Green, the legendary character from the show F.R.I.E.N.D.S left the groom at the altar and ran away from her wedding because she thought her husband’s head looked like a potato. She found a gravy boat more attractive than her fiancé.
Hilarious, was it not?
The show was the lifestyle Bible and still provides solace to everyone who has ever watched it. As the show progressed, the viewers realized, Rachel did not leave her fiancé because she thought he looked like Mr Potato head. She left him because of her drive to be financially independent.
The Indian youth has a significant disadvantage in terms of being financially independent. They live-off their parents as the latter’s cultural duty. There is a set trajectory that life takes, albeit at a different time for everyone. After school, college, job, marriage, children- repeat. There is little space for financial independence.
The space for financial independence that should, in theory, be free from all interferences of culture is actually saturated with it. The first thing a millennial in India needs to do is: Leave such a trajectory at the altar because it is antediluvian.
As India aspires to be ‘Brand India’
The cultural influence on the idea of financial independence is enormous. Terms such as, ‘middle-class’, ‘simple life’, ‘simple needs’ are not only glorified but are considered legitimate goals to aspire towards. Even as India aspires to be ‘Brand India’, banking upon her absolutely gorgeous demographic dividend; being a depositor, simple, average, middle-class person with a stable job (a clear misnomer in the twenty-first century) and small short-term desires are considered noble. Here is the second thing a millennial needs to do: break away.
The term ‘noble’ is as antediluvian as the trajectory mentioned earlier. The contradictions of traditional simplicity as a goal to aspire towards is not a choice anymore. The intoxication with the simple, sub-continental life ended in 1991 and more so in 1993, when the Securities and Exchange Board of India was established (more on this in the next issue of Mad About Money).
You are so lucky!
The world is standing at the cusp of a new beginning. More than the exciting politics of our times, it is technology that shall change the manner in which life operates. Did you know that by 2030, privacy is going to be a thing of the past with the rental economy in its full bloom while your morning coffee shall be served with toast by a robot? (Check out the World Economic Forum’s website for more details).
What this means is, you shall have enough money (hopefully with a basic income if the governments decide in the affirmative) to invest. The cardinal choice that you shall make 10 years later is not which course to study, but which skill to invest in!
The third thing a millennial needs to do
Lucky to be born in such exciting times, are we not? So, the third thing a millennial needs to do: Skill up, and then diversify. The term ‘interest area’ or specialization as we know it today will undergo huge changes in the new economy. For instance, Political Science, Research methodology, Python (or its grandchild) in Data Sciences and Economics or Eugenics, Nanotechnology, Quantum Mechanics and Financial Market shall be ONE skill.
The change is evident in the new MOOCs one can find online. Mass production of skills is history! Robots have it covered. And that gives the Millennials of today an unprecedented opportunity to be the risk-takers, history-makers!
Uno, Zwei, Trois!
A successful investment banker who works in the city of London leaves his job to start a juice bar that also sells quinoa in central Delhi. Be ready to hear more stories of the kind because profit, money, quality, passion and drive to succeed is going to converge in emerging economies like India.
Our advice? Invest, invest in this new form of sustainability! Uno (success), Zwei (knowledge) and Teroi (happiness): nothing is more real in the new economy than these three virtues.
In our subsequent issues, we introduce you to the options that are for the risk takers, the ones with the appetite for more-than simple. So the fourth thing a millennial needs to do is: subscribe to Mad About Money!
Skill for the twenty first century
Let us leave you with a problem that requires emotional intelligence and critical thinking (an indispensable skill for the twenty first century):
You start earning via freelancing as a writer/developer. You earn your first income, i.e., twenty five thousand. It is not much. But it is your first. You have your eye on a new range of hair products by the ever-fantastic Body Shop. You have been longing for it. The money is in your account. You have three options: set up a professional website to showcase your work, invest in a SIP (systematic investment plan) or purchase the ginger-castor-argon hair care range that you have longed for a year. Ponder away!