9 Money Management Lessons To Learn From Navratri
Sep 30, 2019

Author: Aditi Murkute

(Image source: freepik.com; Image credit: photo created by pressfoto)

When you speak of 'Navratri', Garba-dandiya, Ghatstapna and Durga Puja are the first things that come to my mind. But there is so much more to Navaratri, a Hindu festival that means nine nights in Sanskrit. It is symbolic of the nine days and night battle of Durga with a demon and victory of Good over Evil based on epics Ramayana or the Devi Mahatmya.

Besides, it also marks the end of the monsoon season with the onset of autumn and planting & ploughing season. Hence it is celebrated in the month of Ashvin (bright half of the Hindu luni-solar months), as per the Hindu calendar which typically falls in the Gregorian months of September and October.

However, across the length and breadth of the Indian Peninsula, Navaratri is celebrated in various ways---through recitals of the legends, enacting of the stories, chanting of the mantras, reading of the scriptures, staging competitive events at the pandals, fasting, dancing on folk tunes and feasting on yummy traditional foods.

But prominently each day of the festival celebration is dedicated to nine Avatars of Goddess Durga that she had morphed into while battling the demon Mahishasura, who was given a boon that he could not be killed by any man or male god, along with wisdom and prosperity dedicated to Goddess Saraswati and Goddess Lakshmi as well.

(Source: freepik.com)

​I think we can learn valuable investment lessons from such a culturally rich festival. Here are nine lessons to learn this Navratri:

  1. Follow discipline

    During the festival, some people observe a fast and abstinence in a disciplined manner as it signifies the purification process. Similarly, to manage your personal finances efficiently, discipline is essential in the interest of your financial well-being.

    Handling your own hard-earned money with enough care and prudence is crucial. Therefore, engage in a budgeting exercise so that you can save money and invest it sensibly to buy your dream home, your wedding, children's higher education and their wedding expenses, including your retirement.

  2. Set goals

    As mentioned, each day of Navratri represents the nine avatars of the Goddess and signifies various weapons she used to kill the demon, that's why on these days, devotees wear specific colours during those days to celebrate it.

    Similarly, consider setting Specific, Measurable, Adjustable, Realistic, and Time-bound (S.M.A.R.T) investment goals and execute a plan to accomplish them. When you set goals, do classify them into short-term, medium-term, and long-term along with assigning times frames to it.

    [Read: How to Set S.M.A.R.T Financial Goals]

  3. Save and invest sensibly

    When you think of investing, the first thing is to save mindfully, i.e. control your expenditure. Eradicate, your excessive spending habits, just like Navratri which is symbolic of the triumph of good over evil. You should let go of your impulse spending to eliminate bad financial decisions to avoid having debt burden.

    If you are borrowing thoughtlessly, it could result in a situation of debt-overhand and jeopardise your long-term financial health. Hence, just as you clean your home during festive times for it to appear neat, make it a point to repay and clear your debt diligently over time. Instead, manoeuvre your thoughts to invest prudently from the savings based on a strategically created investment portfolio.

  4. Diversify when you invest to grow wealth

    During this time of the year, farmers plant a variety of crops of cereals, pulses, food grains, etc. Similarly, do consider creating an investment portfolio that is robust and highly diversified across asset classes.

    Different asset classes have different attributes, which help in maintaining the required balance in the portfolio. While equity as an asset class can beat inflation and provide alpha returns over a longer time horizon, debt instruments usually provide stability to one's portfolio and can generate a regular income stream.

    Hence follow a suitable asset allocation pattern that will help your portfolio to grow at an attractive rate of return and safeguard it from market volatility. Remember a strategic portfolio is built considering your investment risk profile and financial condition with diversification.

    [Read: Why You Should Not Ignore Personalized Asset Allocation While Investing?]

  5. Always stay focused on the journey of wealth creation

    As the Goddess Durga slayed the demon for the good future of all humanity, likewise for your future financial well-being, it is imperative for you to remain focused on your goal based-financial plan.

    Do not get swayed due to market turbulences, policy changes or any other short-term aberrations.

    When you invest to accomplish your envisioned financial goals, it is important to stay focused and be patient. As "Patience is a virtue", a wise man once said, so if you have sensibly engaged in investment planning to build a solid investment portfolio of worthy instruments, you need not worry.

  6. Monitor and realign

    Popular dance form "Garba" - danced in a group within a circle during Navratri represents self-realisation and joy. With each step of Garba, you experience joy to bring you back to your first point after dancing so many steps without any worry.

    Similarly, if you review your portfolio regularly to ensure that you're on track in the journey of wealth creation and accomplishing financial goals. A periodic review and tracking of your investment portfolio help you to weed out the duds from your portfolio to replace new ones that could help you achieve your goals faster and know the performance is in sync to your goal's approaching timeline.

    Once every year, review and realign/rebalance your portfolio to make necessary adjustments to incorporate personal changes or economic fluctuations to stay in line with your targets set.

    Plus, it allows you to look for more investments opportunities to generate a strong flow of income. And use the income earned to generate more returns or wealth so that it leads you to financial freedom. In turn, this will help you relax and give you peace of mind.

    [Read: Is Your Mutual Fund Portfolio On Track To Accomplish Your Financial Goals?]

  7. Insure yourself optimally

    When you light a lamp to offer puja to the Goddess during Navaratri, you are focusing on the divine power of the deity. Similarly, you should focus on your inner power and insure yourself against risk as well with an adequate insurance cover. The purpose of insurance is indemnification of risk from an untoward event.

    Hence, make sure you've optimally insured yourself for both, life and health. And as far as possible, do not merge your insurance and investment needs, keep them separate. For life insurance, consider a term plan, and for health insurance needs a medi-claim policy with worthy features, as medical inflation is skyrocketing.

  8. Plan for the unexpected

    In every avatar of the Goddess, she is seen holding various weapons in hand prepared to fight. In life similarly, you should be prepared for a nasty surprise or any other emergencies like loss of a job, hospitalization, unexpected increase in your child's school fees, etc., can arise at any moment and leave you high and dry.

    Hence, it is better to be prepared to counter such events by building a rainy-day fund/contingency fund. Remember the adage,  'A stitch in time saves the nine'.

    Ideally, you must maintain at least 6 to 24 months of living expenses, including EMIs as your emergency fund in a savings bank account. You may add a little 5%-10% extra for medical emergencies, taking cognizance of the health insurance and medical records of you and your family members.

  9. Seek knowledge and ask for guidance

    During this time religious scriptures and holy books are referred to chant mantras or perform puja. Likewise gain investment knowledge through reading, doing research and continue to develop it. So that you can make better sound investment decisions.

    Also, sometimes we appoint a Pundit to guide us to perform a puja, in a similar way you should seek guidance from financial experts when you can't figure out how to go about investing. A proficient financial planner will not only guide you but will handhold you in your financial decision-making process to provide you with an unbiased ethical and research-oriented solutions.

During this festival you honour the divine feminine Devi (Durga) and her forms (Lakshmi and Saraswati) with respect and revere. Equally ensure that you respect your own financial decisions so that you can lead a prosperous life as well.

And just like the 10th Day called Dussehra or Vijayadashami, one of the most auspicious days, signifies the end of evil and new beginnings. This year you end your bad financial habits and begin a new journey with focus, discipline, and a positive outlook which can brighten up your financial future.

Happy Navratri!...

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