Numbers are essential in life. Every activity involves some kind of mental math – from time spent staring at an excel sheet to a calculative gamble. Having said that, are numbers fun? That's the million-dollar question. Through every step of the way numbers have left a lasting scar. Let's take a numerical journey to see how digits have always put us in a spot.
"Six, nine, eight, nine, ten!" And parents would start clapping as the toddler went about, eager to catch someone. It didn't stop with clapping; parents would correct mistakes too. "Not nine baby, it's seven. Now count again". The kid would go "six, nine, eight, seven, ten!" Wasn't the entire game about finding people – not counting? While we ponder, let's step into the school zone.
Most of us would have gone through the phase of memorising tables. But how many times have we wondered what's the point of remembering something as weird as 13 times 7? Instead we believed we were better off counting every second spent getting past those deadly math classes! It is easy to give up on maths when we score '0' after confidently calculating 3*3=6! Finally we reach college, and we realise nothing has really changed.
Every kid steps into college full of dreams. We look forward to making awesome friends, sneaking out of classrooms to watch movies, trying our luck with falling in love and suddenly a few Greek words bring us back to earth – theta, gamma, delta (no, we are not talking about sororities/fraternities here!) Comprehending numbers is challenging and working with signs and symbols is insane. We wait to get done with college assuming working will be fun.
Unlike school or college where a simple bell would wake us up, we start clocking in hours. Slowly, we get introduced to timesheets, excel sheets, formulae, statistical models, and other tools which supposedly help us calculate easily. Really? We end up in a world which revolves around "data"! To top it, the biggest boon and bane happens – we start earning! Well, you know what's coming next.
A big fat number comes around every financial year – 80C— apart from other fancy numbers. The digital era promises to make taxation and savings easy... wonder why many of us hire a charted accountant to help us out! Especially now, when March has us nervously doing cumbersome, last-minute savings just to cut taxes. As the entire experience is daunting, no one bothers to find different, easy ways of saving taxes – heard of equity-linked saving schemes (ELSS)?
We struggle, we save and we get ready to have a beautiful family. We start thinking for two people to begin with – should we have one vehicle or two, what about the number of TVs (cricket vs soaps), how many date nights, and how many children to make the family more beautiful. Well, these calculations may be simple but the savings behind enabling each one are nowhere close to easy. Even after knowing that numbers are difficult, we decide on two.
- When we started counting, we were playing hide and seek!
- Interesting math classes – they don't exist even in fairy tales!
- It sounds like Greek – but don't be fooled!
- Reality strikes—one cannot live without numbers!
- Building wealth – savings and taxes
- Family time – Hum do humare ek ya do?
- EMInent addition - What goes around comes around
To satisfy every individual's need in a family, including ours – we shake hands with EMIs. How many times have we scratched our heads trying to make sense of "zero interest" EMIs when all we wanted was chilled beer in the yet-to-be-bought fridge? No one really gets a clear hang of understanding how EMI interests are calculated. Well, we ending up spending in bits. Ever thought of saving in bits?
Maybe we could have dealt with the fear of numbers if we had a systematic approach – right from calculating to saving. Well, you can't go back to school and learn what's 3*3 but you can definitely find easier ways to meet your financial goals by investing. You don't need a mathematical genius for this. For example, a mutual fund plan that makes the going easier for your child through school, college and more. Or a simple systematic investment plan (SIP) –a step-by-step approach that barely pinches your pocket but promises compounded (it's not as complicated as it sounds) returns.
It's a numbers game, after all! It's time to score.