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#1 | Arun: Millennials — Part II

A fit body, a calm mind, a house full of love. These things cannot be bought. They must be earned. — Naval Ravikant

Short story:

Arun, a 25-year-old is the single child who lives with parents in the heartland of Bengaluru. Arun has lived in this city all through his life and is a true Bengalurian by heart. He currently works as an operations manager in a young tech startup. Arun’s love for technology makes him an early adopter of tech gadgets and services as and when he discovers them. Arun comes across a very mindful individual and he does not cease to surprise you with his quotes on life. This is a story of Arun’s journey through his finances, technology and mindfulness.

This is a two-part story, you can read the first part of this story here

Assets:

Buying a home:

D: How did you decide to buy a home?
A: My parents are now 56–57 and they are getting old. I wanted them to provide with some security and comfort. I wanted a place that was surrounded by the people that we knew such that even when I am not there, they would have someone to help. Also, we had a property that we were planning to sell. At that point in time, all my desires were fulfilled and I wasn’t longing for anything and why I signed up to buy a home. My cousin had recently bought a home and she had moved into the apartment. It was a 3 BHK apartment but quite old. It had been 3 years since construction but no one had occupied. It took me some 6 months to convince my parents for it. We later then sold the land and on top of that, I got a loan of some 50 Lakhs to buy the home.

Buying a car:

D: When did you decide to buy a car?
A: I thought it was a need and I went and bought the car. We never really had a car. My dad an office car which would pick him up and drop off but we did not have a car on our own. I thought it was the right time and I had just learnt to drive cars. So I went and purchased one.

D: Did your friends have a car? Did they influence your decision?
A: Some of my friends had a car and some did not. They might have influenced my decision but my primary motive is for the entire family to community conveniently. We always either took an auto, OLA or an Uber. I thought a car would make it more comfortable and hence the decision of investing in a car.

D: Why a second car?
A: I have never fancied cars as such. I also did not have the budget for it. I thought I will go for a second-hand car and make all the mistake that I can make. I don’t think even my second car that I would purchase be a new car, as I said, I don’t fancy cars that much. I believe a car should just serve the purpose. It is a utility.

Buying a bike:

D: Do you have two-wheelers?
A: Yes. I had two-wheelers but I had sold one. I first two-wheeler that I had was a Duke. I took a loan for Rs. 75,000 at that time. Sorry, I forgot to mention it. This was during my startup time. I told my parents that I want a bike but they refused it and told me that I can buy whatever I want with my own money. I had just seen Duke and I liked it a lot. I was not even 18 to get a driving license. The bike was lightweight and I went along with my friend to the store and picked it up. I didn’t even know how to ride the bike properly. My friend only drove that for me. I had just learned how to drive a bike a couple of weeks earlier.

Credit Journey:

Home loan:

D: How long is this loan repayment journey for you?
A: I have signed up to pay back the home loan in 30 years. But I am optimal about paying it back in 6–7 years. Let’s assume you will have to pay 40k per month as repayment every month, it would come to around 1.2 cr for the 50 lakhs loan I had borrowed. What I want to do is also to pay the principal amount along with it. Whenever I have money I would want to go and deposit that amount to repay the principal. Thankfully the repo rates are also coming down and that would decrease my interest amount.

Two-wheeler loan:

D: How did you get the loan?
A: Through my mom. My mom was working in the bank and she got a loan for me on my behalf. I was supposed to pay it back every month, but I paid her back in 25 days. That month, we had a good run and I paid it back sooner than expected. After that, my dad purchased a two-wheeler for him. He bought a Honda Dio. Now its roo risky for him to ride. I use that to drive to the office.

EMI loans:

D: Do you pay EMIs for anything that you have bought?
A: Oh yeah. I have purchased a lot of things through Bajaj Finserv card. My mom once wanted to purchase a refrigerator, that’s how I got introduced to Bajaj Fineserv card. It basically gives you interest-free EMI and ties up to your bank. This card is given to you on a point of sale checkout. I have extensively used it and have also given it to my friends to buy phones. You give this card at the checkout and you pay 30% of the cost upfront and the rest of the amount will get converted into interest-free EMI. So essentially the retailers like Chroma are bearing the cost of the interest to acquire the customer. I have used that card to buy my 1st and 2nd washing machine, fridge, iPad, friends phone etc.

Investment Journey:

  • Arun had been an active investor in financial instruments since he started working. But lately, he has pulled out the majority of his investment to pay the downpayment for the home loan.

Mutual Funds & Smallcase

D: So what happened, after R.D?
A: I knew only R.D and F.D. When I joined my first company, my then boss and now friend introduced me to mutual funds. He introduced me to scripbox and advised me to invest through them. I used to invest 10k every month on scripbox. I invested around 6k in the long term plans and around 4k in the liquid fund plan. I had stopped investing in the middle, whenever I wanted some cash. Recently when I was bought a home, I withdrew all the savings to pay for the home loan. These investments were never systematic, I did not do a SIP. There is still some money left in these mutual funds which I cannot withdraw. Some due to tax savings lock-in period and few funds have an exit load where they withhold a certain percentage of money if you withdraw before a specified period of time. Currently, I invest around 5k in mutual funds through Paytm money. I do it because I like the interface and I like the idea of making investments simpler. I also have a Zerodha account, which I had opened to explore smallcases. I have around 3–4 smallcases in IT and FMCG sectors. I have a considerable amount of money in BitBNS.

D: The 5k that you invest in Paytm money, is it tax savings?
A: No. The 80c ELSS funds are of no use to me as I cover the 1.5 lakhs tax exemption under 80c through the payment of my home loan principal repayment. I also have a LIC plan, because someone in my family told me that its a good plan. I pay around 55k per year for it. I would get around 1 crore after 35 years. I would want to withdraw the money but parents wouldn’t let me to. aware that the 1 crore after 35 years would be valued much lesser than what it is today. I might just be able to purchase a car with that 1 crore that I get at that time.

Recurring Deposit

D: Lets talk a little bit about the savings. Do you have any active investments currently?
A: Due to the loan, I do not have any. Whatever I have, I am planning to save that up and repay the loan. But I can tell you how I had started savings. When I was doing my own business, I had started a recurring deposit (R.D). My mom introduced me to it. She was concerned that I was just spending the money.

D: How much would you put in them?
M: I would give my mom some 3–4K every month which she would put in her account. 2k for the RD and 2K for the savings account. Before that, I had a hundi (piggy bank) where I would just put the money.

D: Were there conversations around money at home, since your mom was a banker?
A: None. She would advise me to not spend on unwanted things. That’s it. I was buying a lot of gadgets at that time like T.V, headsets etc. Every time there was an Amazon delivery, she would ask me not to spend on those things.

Insurance Journey:

D: Lets talk about insurances? You had mentioned that you have LIC, what are the other insurances that your family has?
A: When my mom used to work in the bank, she used to get family floater insurances, which covered for all three of us for 1 lakh rupees. When she quit the job shew extended the insurance and also increased the coverage to 2 lakh rupees. When I met with an accident, it covered around 80k for my medical expenses. My dad’s dialysis completely runs on that insurance. I pay around 12k for that insurance plan which covers for around 2 lakhs per person. Since my dad has a deadly disease, no insurance company would give him insurance and in this new company, my dad is also covered. So I don’t have to worry about getting one for him in future.

D: Do you have LIC for your parents?
A: Nope. My dad used to have a policy but has withdrawn the money. There is no outstanding insurance.

D: Do you have any retirement plan?
A: No, I haven’t thought about it. But I have been doing NPS. I got introduced to it through Zeta. My previous company was on Zeta and I invested in that.

Goals & Lifestyle:

D: Do you have any long term goals?
A: To be honest I never really wanted to purchase a home. I’m happy to stay in a rented home for the rest of my life. I did this for my parents. But on a long run, I would not like to be in Bangalore, I would like to move out of the city even though I have closer connections here. not running away but I’m choosing what is better for me. I also want to start a startup that helps society. But I’m not sure what that is going to be. I don’t think I think about anything else till this loan in there. I’m just a 25 year old trying to figure out life.

D: Lets talk a little bit about tech. You have been very progressive about trying out new things. Let me keep it short. If you have 10 mins of free time, where do your attention go? To which apps?
A: To be honest, I used to use Instagram a lot and nowadays I use a lot of twitter. I also go on a digital detox, I go off these apps for 6 months. I have also been trying out these meditation apps. I have started using ‘Wake me up’, its meditation app for non-religious app. Someone gifted me headspace app and I used to meditate after my run.

D: Do you read books?
A: I don’t read as many books but I read a lot of blogs. Everything that comes my way. I listen to a lot of podcasts. I used to listen to this podcast called serial and that hooked me up. I als0 discover Tim Ferris and he had written and book and that’s how I started reading books. I moved from podcast to books. I would like to read more books

Aha moments:

Arun’s straightforward view on life and the mindfulness towards his decision comes across as a pleasant surprise, given that millennials are perceived as a ‘restless generation’. Its no wonder that he loves listening to the ideologies of Naval Ravikant. Some of my favourite quotes from this conversation.

Arun on his how he used to charge money for the iPhone service:

D: Did you charge them upfront or post the service?
A: I always charged my customers after the service. I even advertised that as a feature in all my ads online to gain their trust. I also lost money in some cases where they wouldn’t pay after the service. But that was okay. There were times where you could do things remotely and they would have promised me to pay online but they wouldn’t have. I also never bother following up. It’s okay, karma will take care (laughs it out as a joke).

D: So, when you say that you do not have desires anymore what does that mean?
A: I will tell you what I feel. We generally purchase things based on our needs. If there isn’t a need, we create a need and then we purchase it like vacation, gadgets, appliances etc. I had done almost all of them. I have started seeing money in the early stages of my life and that could be one reason. My employment was all about saving up and doing the right things.

Though Arun has a modern outlook on life, he still somewhere grounded with the traditions with which he was bought up and finds a fine balance in both. I believe this is one such instance of modern India which juggles the philosophies of the west and the east.

D: Do you aspire to buy more appliances for home?
A: Not really. I would have loved to have a microwave oven. But we come from a very orthodox family where there are certain rules in the kitchen. We have an electric stove for boiling milk and another gas stove to prepare the food. We don’t mix up things or it is not supposed to be mixed according to my parents. So the microwave oven was an outcast to us. Also in the earlier home, we did not have much space to keep a lot of things. Now that we are moving to a new home, I guess my mom will approve of buying an oven. She has also started being a little liberal.

D: Did your friends have a car? Did they influence your decision?
A: Some of my friends had a car and some did not. They might have influenced my decision but my primary motive is for the entire family to community conveniently. We always either took an auto, OLA or an Uber. I thought a car would make it more comfortable and hence the decision of investing in a car.

D: Why a second car?
A: I have never fancied cars as such. I also did not have the budget for it. I thought I will go for a second-hand car and make all the mistake that I can make. I don’t think even my second car that I would purchase be a new car, as I said, I don’t fancy cars that much. I believe a car should just serve the purpose. It is a utility.

This interview is broken into two parts. The first part of the interview talks about Arun’s job, expenses, banking habits in detail

In meanwhile check our other series called ‘Decoding Bharat’, where we interview people from emerging economies in India

To read the complete transcript of the interview, please use the following link

About the research:

This documentation is a result of the in-person interview along with the participants’ consent. The interviews might be conducted in their native languages and translated to English in the best possible way to reach a large audience.

Disclaimer: The names and organisations in this documentation are masked to honour the privacy of the participant.

About D91 labs:

This research was executed and documented by D91 labs. D91 labs is an open-source initiative by setu.co to help Bharat build great fintech products. We organise and publish user research, insights and frameworks for fintech in India. Please follow us on medium for more exciting stories and insights on Bharat.

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Dharmesh Ba

Dharmesh Ba

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Building @D91Labs, Design lead @setu. NID alumnus, ex-Cleartax. All things fintech.