As India completes 75 years of Independence, let’s talk about Financial Freedom
No Indian can ever forget the epic speech delivered by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru from the Red Fort at midnight on 15th August 1947. After all, India had attained its freedom after almost 200 years of British rule. It was the grit of many freedom fighter that made it all possible.
Fast forward to 75 years from that day, we can look back at our glorious past during which we have achieved a lot of things. To name a few, we built Asia’s first nuclear reactor in 1956, became the world’s largest milk producer in 1970, won the cricket World Cup in 1983, sent out our first astronaut to space in 1984, became a full-fledged nuclear state in 2000, launched Chandrayaan to explore the moon in 2008, and have the world’s largest railway network as of current date.
However, as we celebrate our glories, one thing that still stands like a thorn in the flesh is poverty and financial dependency. As per a Deccan Learn to invest from an early ageChronicle report, almost 12% of Indians are living below the poverty line. Another Indian Express report suggests that about 33% of women in India struggle to meet their costs of living and they find it one of the main reasons why they do not feel financially independent.
Although India is making good progress towards economic development as a nation, the financial freedom of its citizens remains an unanswered question. As per an Economic Times report, only 57.9% of Indians believe they have complete financial freedom. Several reasons can be attributed to this, the main ones being poor financial awareness, lack of planning, and inability to become self-employed.
The importance of becoming financially independent
Being financially dependent implies one of two things – you’re dependent on others for your financial requirements or you aren’t able to do what you want due to a lack of personal finances. In either case, financial dependence doesn’t augur well. It either allows others to control your life or forces you to compromise on your ambitions. Additionally, you may face extreme difficulties in tackling emergencies.
For example, a global contingency such as the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed this weakness badly. In the face of an emergency, several Indians were found wanting to arrange the necessary finances to get proper treatment. This should serve as a wake-up call for all of us and we must start taking collective measures to achieve the financial independence that has eluded us even after 75 years of independence.
How to be financially independent?
We've focused a lot on achieving financial independence so far. However, here's the question: how will we achieve that?
To get an answer to this question, we will first need to find out the reasons behind the financial dependence of Indians. More than middle-aged men, it’s the women and young individuals that face this problem.
So, if you go back to the third and fourth paragraphs of this blog, you will find that the reasons behind this include high costs of living, poor financial awareness, lack of planning, and the inability to become self-employed.
Now that we know the problems, we can discuss the potential solutions to them:
- Learn to invest from an early age
According to a recent survey, nearly 72% of Indians do not know how much and where to invest to achieve financial freedom. That’s one big thing that’s hindering most of us from getting that elusive tag.
So, you need to learn to save and invest from a young age. As soon as you start earning, you need to make it a habit to keep aside a portion of your earnings. This will allow you to create a corpus upon which you can fall in your time of need. You can invest in either fixed-income generating instruments or market-linked avenues, such as stocks, mutual funds, etc.
- Create a financial plan
Failing to plan is planning to fail. You must have heard this line a thousand times in your lifetime. But have you followed it yet? If not, then you must. Creating a financial plan is as important as anything else in your life. You need to be aware of your income, your expenses, and your savings. You can decide how much you to save and create a roadmap accordingly.
- Look for self-employment opportunities
To save and to invest, you need to earn. And in the face of rising unemployment in India, the best way to go about is to look for self-employment opportunities. It’s more crucial for housewives and students to search for work-from-home opportunities that can provide them with a sizeable income.
The Government of India has also come up with several favourable policies – such as the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) and the Nari Shakti Scheme (NSS) – to foster the ambitions of young entrepreneurs.
It is time to celebrate the glories and accomplishments of the past as India celebrates "Azaadi ka Amrut Mahotsav". To commemorate the 75th anniversary of Independence, we can all proudly hold the tricolour and sing "The National Anthem..." together.
But at the same time, we must not forget that we are far from enjoying the financial freedom that we should by now. We must learn to take the control of our finances into our own hands by earning, investing, and spending them the way we want.
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