5 personal finance lessons from Mahatma Gandhi
- Despite living the life of an ascetic, Gandhi also championed personal financial freedom and self-reliance
- Maintain self-discipline and avoid going for that elusive magic investment vehicle that may offer too good to be true returns
- If you are buying an investment or insurance product, insist on the complete truth about what that product may mean for you
Father of the Nation, champion of non-violence and promoter of peaceful co-existence, Mahatma Gandhi had numerous facets to his charismatic personality. He not only shaped the roadmap of independent India but also gave us significant ideals to follow.
Despite living the life of an ascetic, he also championed personal financial freedom and self-reliance. He also insisted on truth and transparency, which are also needed in financial dealings.
Here are five essential personal finance lessons that we can derive from the life and teachings of the great man and ensure we truly live up to his legacy as proud Indians.
Have Definite Financial Goals
Mahatma Gandhi’s life inspires us to maintain a long-term goal. His sole goal was to get India freed from the British colonial rule, which he achieved after a huge amount of patience and perseverance. Similarly, you should have definite financial goals, which can reap benefits in the long run and challenging times. Understand your financial goals, break the long-term goals into smaller ones and then choose the right investment options to fulfil each of the smaller goals and in turn the bigger long-term financial goal.
Maintain Self-Discipline in Investment
Gandhi lived a life of self-discipline and simplicity. He had meagre possessions and ate simple vegetarian food, which he called key to a happy and healthy life. Not only did he practice what he preached, his self-discipline made others follow a similar lifestyle of simple living and high thinking.
Likewise, self-discipline is very important to achieve financial goals successfully. You should not deviate from your goals and adhere to your investment rules, rather than following your friends or neighbours. Maintain self-discipline and avoid going for that elusive magic investment vehicle that may offer too good to be true returns.
The road to freedom has been a long one with many lives sacrificed and many challenges overcome along the way. The freedom struggle went on for decades as Gandhi persevered along with his followers. Perseverance is key in both life and financial investments. Once you make your mind on a financial goal, and opt for the right investment instrument, perseverance is what will take you to your final destination. The road may be a long one but will ensure you reach your financial destination surely.
Gandhi was one of the first to underline the significance of self-sufficiency of rural India as the key to India’s progress. In the financial world, self-sufficiency is just as significant but can also be largely ignored in a larger scheme of things. For example, having Life and Health Insurance can mean one’s family is self-sufficient even in the unfortunate events, such as death or health emergency. Yet many individuals seek insurance plainly to save tax or to invest, while ignoring the real need for insurance.
Believe in Simplicity, Insist on Truth
Gandhi lived a simple life which was transparent and inspiring. Likewise, our financial investments are best when they are less complicated. Investing in instruments offering assured returns, for example, can lead to peace of mind without having to constantly worry about risks and market fluctuations etc. If you are buying an investment or insurance product, insist on the complete truth about what that product may mean for you, and avoid regretting a poorly thought decisions later.
(The author is CEO of Bank Bazaar)