Most affluent Indian parents treat their daughters as delicate dolls, mollycoddling them and not letting them lift a finger. Daughters of doting fathers are usually brought up on unlimited access to clothes and accessories. They are gifted cute VW Beetles on their graduation and a new phone every birthday. Most of my girlfriends have been living a fairytale. They never repeat outfits, always have their daddy or a driver to pick them up and drop them to sundry parties and hobby classes. Now that they have jobs, they are not even expected to save any of their income! They still get their pre-job privileges and have all of their salaries available for splurging on binge shopping and parlour treatments.
Unfortunately, I had none of the above. Even though my father loves me very much and earns enough to give me the life of a princess, he has ensured that I have a simple upbringing. I have never received pocket money in my entire life. Whenever I needed money, I would have to tell my dad the reason, and he would hand out a sufficient sum to me - not less, but certainly not more than what I would require. While many of my friends had cellphones at the age of 13, I was lucky to get his old mobile when I was 17. I spent most of my childhood thinking I was adopted. Afterall, my mum got to go on lavish shopping sprees (even to Dubai!), so we certainly did not have financial problems, right?
My father would extoll the virtues of hardwork and self reliance. He would tell me that one day I would be richer than those people with pocket monies, and he was teaching me how to be independent. I did not understand much of it back then, but all of that makes perfect sense to me now. I look back and feel proud of the fact that I bought my first bicycle at the age of 9 with my own savings. I would keep all of the gift-money (which I received from relatives on birthdays and festivals) in my little piggy-bank.
That habit of saving money had made me independent in a lot of ways. When I turned 16, I could fund my dates without having to ask for anything from my parents or having to lie to them in the process. I did not have to be a high-maintenance girlfriend who would literally rob their boyfriends of the very last penny that they managed to save. I saw the biggest benefit when I started working. My finances were impeccable! While most of my new colleagues were spending on expensive labels, fancy dinners and exclusive parties, I was carefully slotting my monthly salary away into retirement funds, bank deposits and mutual funds.
|The king (my dad) hangs out with his princess (me) in Moscow (March, 2015)|
No, I did not turn into a miser. I just learned to manage my money better. Even after saving aggressively, I have enough left to buy myself nice outfits and shoes. I also managed to visit 6 countries this year (yes, you read that right! :-) ) with my own hard earned money. And I do a trip within India every month. Sometimes, even I cannot figure out how I manage to globetrot and save so much at the same time. But I know, it is my father and his excellent child-rearing skills that has made me this successful and independent woman I am today. I cannot thank my dad enough for all the #SachchiAdvice he has been giving me all this while. I know how to stay physically fit, but my dad has taught me the art of staying financially fit!