Financial Independence

I grew up with a powerful belief system related to money and relationships. My mother was from the family of a rich businessman. Unfortunately, she was going through a bad financial phase that paved the way to compromise by marrying off my mother to my father, who was a simple government employee. 

Emotion for an uncertain future. This had its own consequences for my siblings and me. I grew up fearing money and waited for someone to save me during a crisis that I would routinely find myself in, unwillingly. I never felt that I deserved to own anything. In fact, I did not even get to choose my own wedding saree.

Being a girl, I also had my own restrictions as my parents would never send me to a bank. All the finances were managed by the men and by my mother who managed budgeting and savings. My mother taught me to save but never gave me any money to start with as all my needs were taken care of by my father and brother. I was managed by the adults in the family. Even if someone would gift me money, I would give it to my mother and totally forget about it. In fact, I would not even count before handing it over to my mother!

“As long as someone manages me by taking care of my basic needs, I am happy to give my trust to them.” This belief had protected me a lot. I would feel guilty to spend even a single penny on myself. Moreover, it was like breaking the trust of people who took care of me. The reason I met Dileepan at the time of my earlier breakup was to get over this fear. At That time I was working as an educational counsellor and my income was sufficient enough to maintain my livelihood and my daughter but my fear of dealing with money easily won over my core capabilities and strength. When I began to open up to him, I realised that money was never my priority. In fact, I had to embrace something that was more sinister than money, which was my own fears!

I gradually realised how my belief system got me to the stage of fearing my ability to manage my life without having someone to love me because when I started a new life with him, my mindset towards money did not change. Instead, I saw myself in abundance, which happened in the form of children and fearlessness to save or hold on to money desperately. The concept of “my money” slowly faded and became “our money”. 

This included running a big family with no restrictions on the quality and the quantity when it came to basic necessities such as food and education. In fact, our kitchen feeds a minimum of eight to ten people on a day-to-day basis. I can say with certainty that I am financially independent as my belief system has completely changed towards money. Today my beliefs are “I deserve money as I am worth it and it is perfectly fine to spend on myself.” This shift has opened doors to me on many levels leading to a fulfilling and a guilt-free life. My father on the other hand, hails from a moderate middle class Brahmin family. To him, money has to be accompanied by struggle. For my mother, money was about taking risks. They both had conflicting value systems related to money which resulted in struggle and investments based on spontaneous .

By-Ms. Gayathri Natarajan
From – Mumbai

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