I am not into celebrating any particular day as father’s day, but it does give a chance to sit and think about a particular person or event.

What has been my Father’s contribution to my Financial awareness? Well nothing if you ask him. Truly, he has never sat down and said ‘this is money…this is how I earn it…this is how you will spend it’……

He was (is) not a very communicative person, but he was a great dad. When I needed money it was always ‘take it from my purse’. Unlike other kids in the 1970s and 1980s, I used to have a lot of money with me. He never asked me what I did with my money. He assumed that I was being responsible. Watches were Omega, Seiko, Cartier. Cameras were Pentax, Canon, Yashica. TV was Sony. Vacations were 3*+, music system was Garrard, and later cheap Japanese products like Akai! His books collection was like that of a small library. Me, my sister and cousins had all the books that we could think of.

In class 7 I told him ‘I spent Rs. 7 to buy a dictionary’ – he said ‘you do not spend on books, you invest on books’. I think that is the only financial teaching I had from him in my whole life. But he taught us one thing – do not WORRY about money.

To me money was never a bucket, it was a tap. Such a situation helps you later on in life – when you know that for 50 years of your life you NEVER had to worry about money being available.

He never said ‘my money’ and ‘your money’ – ever, ever to his parents or his children. Forget children he helped 7-8 people buy homes by bridging the gap between what they had and for what amount funding was available. All that money came back sans interest. He could never have ‘lent’ money for interest. Some of them still tell me about it. He helped all those people around him, and nobody else would know about it. He will wince if he saw this post. Luckily he does not go near the computer, so he will not read this. Unless my mother or sister get him to read it.

He had a large heart – he lent money to bachelors who said ‘my wife is unwell’. When a co-worker brought it to his notice, he said ‘Hey if somebody asks, I give. If he does not return it, bad luck’. Maybe God knew he could not take care of his money, so HE took good care of my Dad’s net worth!

In 1989 he retired and handed over his princely PF amount to yours truly to invest in equities. Leap of faith with a rookie. I could have ruined him, HIS luck, I did not. Today his dividend income is very close to his total PF accumulation over 37 years service.

Sorry if i have bored you. Obviously this is personal, but at age 51, it is time to think of your parents.

I always felt that parenting has one huge advantage – it helps you to ruin something right from scratch!

He did spoil me and my sister, and still does. Money for him is like sunshine, but for him he is the Sun. He has never been scared of darkness, now I know why.

When my daughter writes a note like this for me, I hope she has nice things to say about me. I will have to start work on that!!!

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  1. Subra,

    Incredible article or should I say father or both?

    Yeah, till recently I fear money – BOTH having too much of it and not having enough of it

    Thank you for this extremely personal article – I am sure it will help a lot of people who grew up in the 80s

  2. evolved learning Subra…and the ability to help others financially without thinking whether the money will come back is really great. I have seen God reward such souls really well, financially at least. Congrats, and may God give him good health! (wealth he already has)

  3. ‘When I needed money it was always ‘take it from my purse’. Unlike other kids in the 1970s and 1980s, I used to have a lot of money with me. He never asked me what I did with my money.’
    it reminded me our eldest brother ,who sent two brothers’ education plus hostel expenses during 1964-1970 , without ever asking the accounts of the same. he passed away , but i always remember his virtues when i talk about him with anybody. it had great impression in forming my attitude to my younger brothers and sisters.
    thank you for the article.

  4. Hi Subra :
    Very inspiring article. May God bless him with good health and all the happiness in the world.

  5. Sir, even my exp is almost same. Right after my school he told this is our money & we are all responsible for our money. & we had direct access to cash box at all times. He never checked how much I am taking & where I am spending.

    I only got to know the value of money after I started to work to earn it 🙂

  6. You have great dad….Happy Fathers day
    BTW…I am proud of my father too for everything he has given me so far…..Thanks dad

  7. Wonderful post, Subrabhai.
    Likewise. For education, for extracurricular music, art– it was no questions asked, an investment.
    I think the best lesson he gave me was being sent to the bank to deposit dividend warrants at an age when I was too short to reach the teller counter…Another lesson is don’t owe anyone even a penny– I remember being sent back to pay Rs. 1…
    Such generosity as your parent I don’t think I can ever indulge in, my mind is too hisaab-kitab. Akshaypatra etc an exception.
    Dividend income equal to PPF accumulation is BRILLIANT work, Subrabhai. He must be so very proud of you.

  8. Wow…..

    Again, how do you managed to come up with “I always felt that parenting has one huge advantage – it helps you to ruin something right from scratch!”?

  9. In earlier article you said that your family was typical tamil brahman which will spend huge sum on education but wont pay for movie ticket. Now you are saying that you had above average amenities like Sony tv and Canon camera.
    It is difficult to understand how do you perceive your past. indulegent or frugal?
    Also, do you want to signal something to your readers by this post? That it is okay to be indulgent if you are rich. Usually you tell parents that stop your children from becoming entitlement-oriented by asking them to spend money from own income.

  10. typical Tambrahm but still included that once in a while Air trip, we had a car, we had good vacations, – and my mom would not have paid Rs. 5 for a MOVIE It was not about not affording, it was about not wanting to spend on Movie tickets. So compared to some friends we had an indulgent life style, and there could have been others who were perhaps spending more than us. Children will eat in the same restaurant where parents eat, right?

    I cannot imagine going to one hotel to eat and telling my daughter YOU cannot afford it 🙁

  11. Subra sir

    Please dont misunderstand my question

    “Today his dividend income is very close to his total PF accumulation over 37 years service”

    I fail to understand how this would happen.
    How much investment would it require to get such a return and which stock(s)?

    Kindly enlighten us.

    I am still unable to believe.

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