In the Beginning – the Origin Story
Hello and welcome to my blog, The Faithful Investor. Today I want to tell you the story of how I came to the realisation that I didn’t want to spend the better part of my life working – say, until 50 like 96% of my fellow millennials plan to. Yup I am a millennial apparently, being 30 years old in 2017. I am not into Snapchat though, I am not that young.
I have always been frugal, having been taught the value of money from an early age. I didn’t get an allowance when I was young, this concept being alien to most middle class Indian families in the 90s. However, I could ask for whatever I wanted and if the request was reasonable, it was granted – be it a few rupees to buy a sip-up, a new toy or, in my teens, a new mountain bike.
No, I didn’t get paid for doing chores – we were expected to do what we were asked without any monetary reward. Popular wisdom suggests that all this would have resulted in me not learning the value of earning or saving money. To the contrary, this system made me think very carefully about what I wanted vs. what I truly needed. Of course, I did save a few rupees here and there that I called mine but for some childish reason kept in my mom’s tea-cups in the ‘showcase’.
Fast forward to 2015. By the grace of God and the work ethic I learnt from my parents, I had gained an engineering degree, an MBA from a top b-school and a great expat job. Married my best friend and now with a young child, I was still frugal and saving a good amount of money every month thanks to my very sensible an even more frugal wife. But we hadn’t started investing it in anything other than a house and high interest current accounts. Simply because I didn’t know of other options.
After reading article after article of how millennials are not saving for retirement, I started thinking about our own retirement. I had never given much thought to it before even though when I was a child my dad always used to say “work hard and retire at 35”. I never took it very seriously but now at 30, I started thinking about our savings and our future. I also began to realise how much time I was not spending with my family because I was at work.
So around Christmas time, I was wandering around the only social network I like, Reddit, when I somehow ended up in the Financial Independence sub. Over the next few days, I learned about the principles of Financial Independence and Retiring Early (FIRE) and my eyes were opened to the possibility of not having to work till the traditional retirement age of 65 or whatever the government says it will be (66,68,75,84,… whatever). Here was a wonderful world where people don’t have to work through the prime of their lives in servitude to The Man.
I devoured blogs such as LivingaFI, The Retirement Manifesto, JL Collins, Monevator and after 3 months of extensive research dipped my toes into the Indian equities market. After 3 weeks of being an equities investor for the first time, I won’t claim to know much. But what I do know is that investing in the stock market is the way I can realise my Indian FIRE dreams. So join me as I plot my path to financial freedom.