Simple math that makes most sense


The back story

My 2-year-old almost every day stops over at the ‘Turtle Aunty Home’. After play time, he asks to make a pit stop on a floor below ours where this aunty has a pet turtle. He loves to watch the reptile respond to sounds, eat its given food and take its head out when it wants.

Yesterday, we reached her door. Even before we could ring the bell, ‘Turtle Aunty’ opened it to let a few children out of her home. Kids with heavy back packs and very solemn countenance made way into the lift. Aunty welcomed us in and while my son enjoyed his turtle time, the two of us got chatting. I learnt that it was a math tuition class called almost as an emergency since the next day was exam day. The class will assemble again next day to analyze the questions in the paper. I was impressed with her dedication. More chatting ensued as aunty went on to talk about her love for math.

The story of passion

She said she had always topped math exams in her school and made sure her daughters continued the winning streak. There were trophies of various sizes decorating her living room. As a child, she enjoyed the tag of a ‘bright student’ by family and friends. After her marriage too, her in-laws were won over in no time as they got to know about her fluency with the subject.

I heard her tale of passion and in my awe, asked her how she calculates her finances like budgeting and investing. Who else than a math whiz could excel in it. Suddenly, Aunty drew a blank. For a second, I thought I asked a wrong question. After a moment, she said that money management is done by her husband. He allocates monthly expenses to her which is the only part she manages.

Sigh! The tale of passion was now a tale of disbelief. “Never mind”, I thought and asked her for a glass of water. Such a capable lady deserves to do much more. And I couldn’t let the opportunity pass, to tell her that. Yes, it was time to introduce her to the real math – the 50-30-20 math.

The Real Math

We all broadly know what we want money to do for us. We just have to spell it out in what is called as short-term and long-term goals. These goals have to be achieved with some bit of planning. You have to do budgeting smartly to your monthly income post taxes.

50% of Your income – Essentials

To begin abiding by this rule, set aside no more than half of your income for the absolute necessities in your life. In general, these expenses would include housing, food, transportation costs and utility bills.

30% of your income – Discretionary

This is the category that can bring the difference. It’s the part you spend on your lifestyle and therefore the more you keep this in check, the better you can channel towards goal achievements and future.

20% of your income – Savings

This part should be non-negotiable. You have to allocate this amount to savings & investments after taking care of your loans and other debts. This is the part that makes your net worth / corpus / portfolio and will take care of goals.
While documenting my experience yesterday, I found this very simple representation of the rule.


Aunty grasped everything in no time and had a few doubts to ask. I was extremely happy she took keen interest. Little man however, had his fill of the turtle and asked to be taken home. Aunty and I promised each other to continue our discussion later.

Now its me who can’t wait to make a pit stop at the ‘Turtle Aunty Home’.

Checklist: How not to go broke this Diwali

It’s that time of the year when we all say Mera waala Pink.. We are feverishly preparing. Starting with Ganesh Chaturthi, followed by Durga puja, Diwali and right till Bhai Dooj, its packed with festivals. 

To give you a dekko of what all has played on our minds, here’s a cheat sheet of to-dos:

● New upholstery and wall painting

● Cleaning and home decor

● Sweets and savouries – home made and purchased

● Clothes 

● Gifting

● Pooja essentials and crackers

● Hosting a card party and attending a few 😄

This fervour is not going to leave anyone untouched. To achieve all this, major spends will happen. 

I recollect last festive season came as a big learning for a friend. Saying she went overboard in prep, would be an understatement. Some hasty swipes and she was up against massive credit card bills. Soon the festivals were upon us and she was having a delusional celebration owing to money worries.

To prevent from getting carried away, here’s is a checklist everyone should run past.

1. Have you checked inflow (salaries, bonuses received) vs. outflow (fixed expenses, bonuses paid to support staff or house help)? 

2. Have you made a festival shopping budget?

3. Have you made a list of people you need to gift?

4. Are there things you can up-cycle from some other time – especially clothes / gifts / crackers

5. Have you considered saving / investing a part of your diwali bonus?

6. Can you recycle the ethnic attire in the upcoming wedding season?

7. Are you ditching physical gold purchase for ETFs or a child plan?

8. If bringing home a new car, have you paid maximum possible down payment to keep EMIs reasonable?

9. Have you regularised your festival leaves with your boss to avoid loss of pay?

10. Can you manage yourself rather than calling for professional services like home cleaning, decorations and catering?

A motley of measures can save you the post celebration crunch. Have a happy Diwali Momeys! 😊

Knowing Millennials better

We wrote about Millennial Moms yesterday, and we know the millennials are all about experiences than acquisitions. We came across a great piece on Millennial women setting out their #lifegoals and living them up.

Millennial Mom

Have you often caught yourself saying, “Life’s one heck of a bitch right now”. Finding your plates too full or sometimes too much to juggle between – you must be a Millennial Mom.

Millennial Moms have unconventional jobs, role demands, work schedules, and therefore a much higher need to be financially savvy. We are doing a series on how Millennial Moms with varying roles should be dealing with money. Here’s the piece for our first role.

Role 1: Moms who run the Media

Graphic Designers, TV anchors, Executive Producer, Creative Directors, Director of Photography… These mom’s have challenging careers and work differently from regular employed workforce. The work comes in erratic shifts, for days at a stretch sometimes and sporadically.

Most times work comes on assignment basis in the creative field. While the pays are handsome, the receiving g date is not fixed like the salary. How can one then make the best calls in managing money. Here’s a practical guide.

Pay yourself first

Freelancers are very much like the entrepreneurs. It is important to reward yourself to keep going. Take aside your salary to last you your next expected payment before you use it up in clearing the dues.

Use apps to track your payment or follow ups

A hard part of freelancing is deferred payments which you have to diligently follow up. The right apps can keep reminding you for follow ups and keep a note of your money reserves vis a vis expenses.

Emergency fund

We can’t stress more about the need of emergency fund for everyone and its even dire if your pay-checks are irregular. Emergency funds can be limited for salaried individuals who have medi-claims and other cover. But it’s critical if you are independent.

Using the upfront payment mode

When making large purchases like car, camera and heavy equipments, prefer to use the upfront payment option. Since you can time the purchase after a big payment credit, paying lumpsum will earn you rewards like bigger discounts and cash backs. You also avoid the EMI headache and heavy interest rates charged on taking loan.

Don’t compromise on Investment

Not having regularity in payments should not become an excuse to not invest. Make lumpsum investments if recurring is not possible.

Financial Advisor

The financial terms may scare you or you may be very busy to figure the investment tools. Also in freelancing, there are no employee benefits like PF, Gratuity etc. you must engage an advisor to plan your insurance, retirement and other investments.

Get a life cover

A lot of people misunderstand Insurance as an investment tool only. While it can give returns but primary use of Insurance should be of covering your life. Absence of life cover and medi claim can land you in quite a spot in case of any uncertainties.