While I keep talking about compounding and investing it does not mean that you should not have fun and live a life.
I am actually wanting you to invest so that you can enjoy your life. While some of my advice may make you wealthy in the long run, most of my advice is to help you live a life today.
A well lived life is about getting experiences. In my view the best experiences are gained when we travel to different parts of the world and see different cultures and eat different foods.
I got this trait from my father, who showed us so many countries when we were kids. The education and learning I got by travelling helped me become a more tolerant and considerate person. It also taught me on seeing different points of view, appreciate different food habits and enjoy in whatever surrounding I am.
When I became an adult, I decided that India itself is a very big country and I made it a point to see and show my family various parts of India first.
There is a treasure trove of history, food and culture all across India – whether you go to Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra in the west, to Bengal & Assam in the east, to the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala in the south to Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh – there are snow clad mountains, to forts to human evolution – everything and no two states are alike. That’s the beauty of India. We have been to most of India, sometimes travelling the countryside by road and enjoying local fruits and foods and sights.
Then over the last 2 years I have been making it a point to first show my family all the countries I had seen as a kid and then cover my bucket lists.
So I have taken them to Canada, Switzerland and France. Some more countries remaining on the agenda include UK, Singapore, UAE and USA
I have shared earlier also that I have a huge bucket list – from seeing the northern lights and southern lights to seeing the giraffes in their natural habitat, to exploring the Mayan and Aztec civilizations and to see the Gold Coast.
This kind of extensive travel, often, is not easy on the pocket, specifically for an individual who is earning a salary in India. Especially when whatever you save becomes 70 times less when converted into the US Dollar or about 85 times less when compared to the Euro.
That’s where the concept of buckets comes in. Again this is not something I have invented. I use this concept to build my asset allocation. Some of the money is kept in cash equivalents for emergency purposes. This is usually not with me because I would end up spending it. Then I have a set of regular SIPs (Systematic Investment Plans) for mutual funds and stocks. These are my forced saving methods where the money goes out of my bank account on a pre-determined date and I cannot do anything about it. And then I have a bucket for my “bucket lists”.
Whenever I get some backlog of salary or allowances I put this amount into putting together my corpus to fund the initiation of my trips. If I can find a way to pay for the tickets and the visa costs then I plan my journeys. Usually planning a journey takes about 2-3 months. During this time and till I complete my journeys I save whatever I can to pay off the travel bills without taking credit card debt.
Inspite of all this I am short of some amount always, because we always end up spending more than our budget. That’s when I take some profits off the table from my investments. This is not a good strategy because I only tell you that the longer you keep the investment the better is the chance for compounding to do magic. But the value of the experiences which I can give my family have a much higher value so I do encash some of my investments to pay-off the expenses.
My advice to you also would be to always create a budget for gaining life’s experiences. Using those experiences you can tell stories to your friends relatives and grand children. That’s what will make your day and give you a richer life. Wealth can follow.