On August 15th 2018, India will complete 71 years of freedom. While the freedom was an outcome of untold sacrifices of great leaders, the Independence Day is also an occasion to remember the millions of Indians who silently made “Free India” possible. Independence was not just about the passion and dedication of the freedom fighters but it was also the self-belief, conviction and the commitment that they showed. If Indians are breathing the fresh air of freedom today, we owe a debt of gratitude to them.
But India’s freedom fighters did not just free us from the British yoke. They also gave us some invaluable lessons on the ideal models for politics, for civil society and for a family. The perpetuation of a healthy polity, a healthy civil society and a healthy family life is predicated on a different kind of freedom. It is called “Financial Freedom”. Financial freedom is all about empowerment. How to combine the power of investments and the power of compounding to create financial freedom for yourself and for your family? If you delve a little deeper, you can glean some important lessons on financial freedom from these outstanding leaders. Let us look at 7 such lessons (the ordering of leaders is entirely based on the logical flow to achieve financial success).
1. You have to first dream before your dreams can come true (Maulana Azad)
The foundation of India’s freedom was laid by giants like Gokhale, Tilak and Naoroji on the dream that freedom was the birthright of every Indian. That was the dream that other leaders later built upon. This is true of your financial freedom too. Define your dreams and convert them into tangible financial goals. If you are not clear about where you want to reach then it really does not matter how fast you run. This timeless quote from the Maulana should be at the base for your drive towards financial freedom. Build an aggressive dream for your future, put it down in numbers and start working towards it.
2. Freedom is not given; it is taken (Netaji Bose)
This was quintessentially the approach that Netaji Bose adopted all his life. His audacity in forming the Indian National Army with Indian POWs jolted the British Empire at its roots. What Netaji is referring to here is a proactive approach. A dream is only as good as the effort put in. A dream is like a hope and it should be remembered that hope can be a good breakfast but a bad supper. If you want to move towards financial freedom identify your goals, squeeze the maximum savings out of your regular income and let the power of compounding work hard in your favour. The opportunity is there for you to be financially free but the onus is on you take up the gauntlet and make it work.
3. Faith and strength are the key to accomplish any task (Sardar Patel)
Once you get down to the operational part of your financial freedom, you will realize two things. Firstly, the markets and your investments will rarely move as per your expectations. Secondly, achieving financial freedom is a lot more about your mental strength and conviction. Over the long run, equities have created value for investors and outperformed other assets classes. If you want to achieve financial freedom, then you cannot do that without equities. But, equities are naturally volatile and you have to be mentally strong with conviction in the power of equities.
4. Facts are facts and will not disappear because of your likes (Pandit Nehru)
If there is one thing that defines your financial freedom and your investments it is pragmatism. Accepting the market reality and working around it is the key to your investment success. For example, the Nifty could correct 40% and you have little control over it. But you can work your strategy around it by opting for systematic investing through SIPs. To interpret Panditji, focus on what you can control. Even if you do not like the market crash, you have to live with it. Rather focus on how you can make the best of the reality. That is the key to financial freedom.
5. I am not ready to die because it requires infinitely more courage to live (Sarojini Naidu)
Who else but the Nightingale of India could have put it so eloquently? Creating wealth is not just about strategy and intelligence. It is a lot about passion. If financial freedom is the key to long term happiness, then your zest for happiness has to come first. You cannot attain financial freedom or be a successful investor by adopting an attitude that is pessimistic, cynical and fatalistic.
6. An idea needs propagation just as a plant needs watering (Babasaheb Ambedkar)
Babasaheb’s quote is relevant to your financial freedom in two distinct ways. Firstly, you need to sell the idea of financial freedom internally; within your family. When you talk of achieving financial freedom there is budget management and expense planning. Take your family members into confidence on why you are doing this. Otherwise, you are unlikely to create financial freedom. Secondly, look at it from the point of a financial advisor. Financial freedom is a great idea with obvious advantages but unless it is rightly and consistently propagated, it is unlikely to yield results.
7. First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you and then you win (Mahatma Gandhi)
Who else but the Mahatma could have put across such a complex ideal in such a simple manner? You will face this test at each stage; while budgeting your expenses, while you giving up on creature comforts, when holding on to conviction on equities etc. If you want to really move towards financial freedom, don’t be overly influenced by the views of outsiders. They will always bet on the fastest horse not on the longest lasting horse. At the end of the day, it is your conviction and your diligence in investing that will make a difference.
On this 72nd Independence Day, every Indian must take a bigger pledge to move towards financial freedom via long term wealth. You can surely borrow ideas from these worthy men and women!