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Four money lessons from Dussehra

By Rajiv Raj
Last updated on: October 03, 2014 17:29 IST
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Dussehra is a festival that marks the defeat of the evil king Ravana by Lord Rama who stands as a symbol of all that is good in humanity according to mythology. In some parts of India it is also celebrated as Vijayadashami or the day when the Goddess Durga defeated the demon king Mahisasura.

In Hindu tradition, Dussehra calls for big celebrations and is regarded to be a time to take a fresh perspective of life and marks the beginning of new things.

As you spruce up for Dussehra puja this year, we have a suggestion for you! How about looking at your finances in a whole new way?

In fact Dussehra has some precious financial lessons that you can implement.

Cast away your bad debt

Hindu men prepare to burn an effigy of 10-headed demon king Ravana during Dussehra festival celebrations in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad October 13, 2013. Effigies of the 10-headed Demon King Ravana are burnt on Dussehra, the Hindu festival that commemorates the triumph of Lord Rama over Ravana, marking the victory of good over evil.

Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

Dussehra, as we mentioned earlier, is the time when good conquers evil, so if you have too much of credit card debt and are perilously close to reaching your credit limit, focus all your energies towards the repayment of this kind of debt.

This is a debt of the worst sort and can be the real enemy of your financial plan.

Not only is it a high cost debt, as you pay a steep rate of interest on it, it will also impact your credit score negatively over the longer term.

Lead a life of financial self discipline

Lord Rama advocated a life of ‘Dharma’ meaning one has to be upright and responsible in life. The same principles should be made applicable to your finances as well.

If you are an important earning member of your family, you must apply financial discipline in a manner that you take care of your family’s needs not just at present but provide for the future as well.

This means you need to save wisely.

Just like Lord Rama, did not deter in living a life of frugality when it was required of him, you too must learn to live on less than you earn so that you save enough for future needs, like education of your children, health and other emergencies and most importantly have a comfortable and stress free retirement yourself.

Protect your finances

Dussehra is a time when the Hindu faith is renewed in the divine promise, that whenever there is evil prevailing on Earth, a saviour will be born to protect humanity. You too should take a cue from this message and learn to protect your finances.

By protection, we mean, you should have enough life, health and asset insurance.

Mostly, people get so caught up with growing their portfolio that they keep insurance at a minimum. On the contrary, it should be the other way around.

You should first assess the insurance needs of your family and then invest the surplus in other instruments to maximise your gains.

It’s a time for new beginnings

Dussehra also signifies doing away with the old and getting a new lease of life. Apply this principle to your finances as well.

If you do not have a proper financial plan chalked out according to the short term and long term financial goals you have in life, there isn’t a better time to begin!

Dussehra is a time of joy and hope, so make this Dussehra an occasion of immense joy as you vow to approach your finances from a new and fresh perspective.

The author is a credit expert with 10 years of experience in personal finance and consumer banking industry and another 7 years in credit bureau sector. Rajiv was instrumental in setting up India's first credit bureau, Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited (CIBIL). He has also worked with Citibank, Canara Bank, HDFC Bank, IDBI Bank and Experian in various capacities.

The author is Director & Co-founder,

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Rajiv Raj