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Catch them young!

Preetha Wali

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who
prepare for it today” – Malcolm X

Indian parents are excellent with providing support for their children at any cost
(taking a loan, selling their jewellery or property or even dipping into their
retirement corpus), to ensure their children excel in school and colleges, as they
believe this to be the road to secure a good job, a good salary and ultimately a
comfortable life.

But one of the most crucial aspects that they miss teaching their children is that
the journey to achieve a comfortable life does not lie in just earning well but
more so in saving and investing wisely. There are many stories of the rich and
famous who lost everything because of bad money-management skills or
because they trusted someone else with their hard-earned money.
Even in schools personal finance is not taught as a separate subject under the
Life Skills series, even though it’s an essential life skill each and every girl and
boy needs to have.

In addition to not having been taught at home or in school, parental ideas on
traditional methods of investing, rampant mis-selling in the financial industry,
rising consumerism, easy availability of credit, lure of a better life, and changing
aspirations have made it very dangerous to start ones independent financial
journey with minimal knowledge or, worse still, the wrong kind of knowledge!
While there are many good websites and videos that teach us the nuances of this
topic, we find that very few people are actually motivated to learn this way, on
their own, as they find the subject boring or something that’s not relevant to
them today. Even those who want to learn don’t even know where to start.
(“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a
fortune.” ― Jim Rohn

Many youngsters believe they still have plenty of time to save and invest and
today we need to spend and enjoy a plethora of experiences. Women have a few
stereotypes attached to handling money and investing. They either assume it’s a
male domain or that it’s a tough subject to deal with, or that they don’t need to
know! These mindsets create a perfect trap for their future selves! (Opportunity
is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. --
Thomas Edison)

With life expectancy and cost of living heading northwards, such attitudes are a
perfect formula for making some simple, yet costly, money mistakes (“Without
education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people
seriously.” ― G.K. Chesterton)

We at Pay It Forward believe the need of the hour is basic financial education for
youngsters and women.

Our attempt is to break these myths and stereotypes using interactive games and
case studies and demystifying a so called difficult-to-understand subject like
personal finance, without using any jargons or more importantly without selling
any financial products. Being social entrepreuners our aim is to fill a niche gap
that many do not even realise exists, but one which each and everyone needs
urgently (“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live
forever.” ― Mahatma Gandhi)