Becoming an adult is one of the biggest thresholds that a human being crosses in his or her life. For a young one on the verge of this threshold (for context, we are talking here about the legal definition of crossing the age of 18 years), it comes with the promises of many excitements and thrills. It is about being an independent person (As Bollywood would say – apne pairon par khada hona), owning a driver’s license, the right to cast a vote, legally marrying a partner and much more. It also comes with the sense of responsibility of having to fend for oneself officially since he or she is no longer on someone’s dependent list. It is also about being responsible about making many important life choices, including partner and career.
So, all of my readers, tell me, which do you think are the most important 3 words that you have ever said since becoming an adult? While I am sure there would be many, am putting down below a few which I would think make the top of the list.
Right at the beginning, there’s the cliched but very important “Mujhse shaadi karogi / karoge”. Arguably one of the biggest decisions that a young adult makes is to select his or her life partner and these three words signify a huge commitment that one makes, one that is expected to last the entire lifetime. These 3 words would count as some of the most important words said, and rightly so.
But there are others. As the early excitement wears off adulthood and responsibilities begin to make themselves felt, 3 more important words are uttered, this time, “Buy a house”. Important because, these signify a long-term financial commitment that the young adult makes from the meagre salary that he or she makes, all for the promise of “apna ghar”.
And then, as the years pass by, either due to personal choices or egged on by familial pressures, the next set of 3 words get uttered, these being “Start a family”. Again important, because, apart from long-term financial commitments, these words also add the responsibility of bringing up new lives in this world, with the right set of values, just as the adult was brought up, many years back.
There may be more, but I would guess the above 3 would largely be the 3 biggest decisions that any adult would take in his or her life, especially in their early adulthood years. I have to admit, I have uttered all the above, and whenever I said them, they felt to me at that time to be the most important words that I have uttered until then.
So then, which of these 3 were my most important words, you ask? Well, while at the time I found each of these to be very important, let me say that my most important 3 words are none of these, especially with the benefit of hindsight. So, what are my most important 3 words?
My most important 3 words were uttered some years back, in what I would like to think was a moment of enlightenment. And they were – “Become financially free”.
Let me explain. Like most adults my age, I was caught up in the race to build assets and fulfil responsibilities, and like all others, went about “ticking” off the various “goals” – namely marriage, first house, second house, children, nice cars, latest gadgets, name it. Thankfully, both me and my spouse Prathiba come from middle-class families and still remember those struggles that our parents went through in bringing us up. Somewhere, as we were zipping along merrily through this “tunnel”, prudence prevailed and we also started looking for the light at the end of it.
It was then (about 8 years back) that Prathiba and me decided that we would become first debt-free and then work towards becoming financially free. We achieved our first goal of becoming completely debt-free about 5 years back and since then are working our way towards achieving financial independence. For us, financial independence means having enough money or assets to take care of our major goals in life, allowing us to work towards one’s passions.
Following this and emboldened by our own experience, Prathiba left a lucrative private sector career and founded and successfully runs a Financial Planning firm called Finwise Personal Finance Solutions some years back, which helps families plan for and achieve financial independence.
As far as I am concerned, I spent a few more years in the corporate world to bolster our financials and have recently left the corporate world to join Prathiba and grow Finwise to the next level. This would have been unthinkable a few years back, but timely planning as well as diligent focus over the last few years has allowed us to take this bold step.
So, now that you have heard my story, what’s yours? Have you discovered 3 new words that seem important to you? Do you wish to get on the path of financial independence? Do write in to me with your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image credit: Unsplash.com, Shot by Victor Rodriguez