Humans with Money #1 : Hari Shankar

Humans aren't wired to handle money. Teenagers sure as hell aren't. 26 year old Hari Shankar talks us through his journey.

Hello from Munch! 👋

In our journey to reform our relationship with money, we’ve started a new series focused on young millenials and Gen-Z. The series will document their experiences with money as they navigate the confusing world of making the right financial choices.

Everyone has a unique story with money. Want to share yours? Contact us 📩 and we’d be happy to work with you to publish it!

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Disclaimer: The name of the individual has been changed at their request.

Hari is a 26 year old finance professional living in Pune with his family. Hailing from an upper middle class family, his experiences with money are best described as a combination of privilege and forceful discipline. 

Raised by entrepreneur parents, Hari internalised the ideology of “Paisa aaj hai, kal nahi, parso aa jayega” (we have money today, maybe none tomorrow, but we’ll get it the day-after).

Read on to know how he’s changed over the years. 👇👇

Need more money 😞

A free spirit by nature, Hari equated money with leisure. He loved to hang out with his friends and have a “good time” (read: spend money).

Unfortunately, this clashed with his reality. Worried about developing unhealthy habits, his parents limited his pocket money. Though well-off, his father would reinvest all surplus money back into their business. He would ensure his son’s “needs” were satisfied. Wants? Not so much.

Frustrated, having his own money seemed like a distant teenage dream. 😭

Party Time 🎉

On turning 21 and getting a job, Hari knew this was it.

This was the time he’d been waiting for all along. He could spend on what he wanted and not be answerable.

He was the kid left free in a playground for the first time ever. 

Hari spent more than 50% of his salary on leisure; music festivals and beer became the focal point of his life. But, at the back of his mind, he knew the importance of being responsible with money. It just didn’t feel important enough.

He’d sometimes end up broke by the end of the month and would ask his parents to cover for essentials. He'd get a lecture or two, but it didn’t matter. He was in his own funk.

“I’m only 22, I can do this boring stuff later.

Ugh, maturity. 😰

Over the next few years, things started to change. He spent more time at work and began to realize the price he was paying for his now increased salary. As a result, personal maturity ensued. His perspective towards money began to evolve.

As work became a bigger part of his life, he started getting pulled towards activities that made him feel at peace. Meditation sessions at the Osho ashram, artisanal coffee, and yoga became a part of his expenses. Vipassana retreats have now successfully replaced his usual drinking sessions.

There was change at home, too. Having never pitched in for family expenses before, Hari started shouldering some of the household expenditure. Finding himself in unfamiliar territory, Hari took some time to get used to this. He got there soon enough, and became content with paying for things that didn’t give him instant joy. 

He slowly grew into this new phase, becoming more comfortable with paying for things that didn’t give him instant joy, like alcohol or music festivals did. 

In this process, Hari learnt about financial independence and the FIRE movement (read: not being dependent on your salary). Enamoured by the idea of living your life on your terms, Hari wanted to be the boss of his own time. There was one slight problem. He didn't know how to get there.

He didn’t want to be dependent on just one income source and wanted to pursue his interests.

Hari decided to educate himself further by reading cult personal finance books, such as “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”. He also sought perspective from people already working towards their financial goals. 

Though Hari did not have a concrete goal like buying a car or a house, he wanted to be able to live life on his own terms. The importance of investing for his future and freedom finally dawned on him.

Finally motivated to do these "adult" activities, Hari looked to his friends for help. After helping him create a basic plan and open a demat account, Hari had to figure out how much risk he was okay taking on. Having limited financial obligations, Hari was comfortable with short-term volatility. As a result, he chose mutual funds with a strong track record that fit his criteria of a solid long term outlook.

Hari has come a long way from being a carefree teenager. He finally feels comfortable in his relationship with money and looks forward to saving up enough that doesn't tie him to a single source of income.

In the modern day 40+ year earning window, our 26 yo Hari is in his early stages of journey with money. If he can manage to build on his recent behaviour, he can look forward to some major (financial) gains thanks to the power of compounding.  💪⏰

Don't have time to read the story? Don’t worry, we got you covered - here’s a quick summary for you👇

  • Need more money - Disciplined by his parents as an adolescent, Hari was annoyed he couldn’t do the things he wanted to do. He couldn’t wait to start earning his own money.

  • Party time - Own money meant party time for Hari. He was now a freebird, a little kid left alone in the playground for the first time ever. Beer and music festivals had him now.

  • Getting accustomed - Slowly, Hari settled into his adult life and realised the price he was paying for this money and lifestyle. Growth ensued.

  • The path ahead - Only 26, Hari has a looong way to go. But he’s finally gotten on the path to self-discovery. After going through the phase of youthful exuberance (read: mistakes), he’s begun to better understand his likes and dislikes and planning for the future.

If you relate to what we’re talking about and would like to know more, give us a holler on Instagram or TwitterWe love to make new friends, discuss these problems, and figure out ways to help. We'd love to duct-tape your money-related problems while we build a sustainable solution.

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