Financial Literacy

08 Aug 2019

When I was 18 I asked an Uncle of mine, who had his own business, to teach me. He told me to forget about it for now and just focus on my education.

I started my first business when I was in Kindergarten. On one Eid I got a lot more Edi then I expected, which was about 20-Rs, this was back in the year 2000. With this insane amount of money I had, I decided to start an Eid card business. This idea wasn’t any revelation or anything like that. I just saw a neighbor’s kid selling cards outside his house and I wanted to do the same. And now I had the money to do it.

I went to a shop and bought some Eid cards of Rs-1 and Rs-2. I was just doing it because I wanted to sell cards. I had not yet developed the idea of making money.

After buying a doze or so cards I hanged them on a window outside the house and at sat there waiting for customers. I sold a few cards. The only thing was… I was selling them on the same price for which I bought them. No one told me what I was doing wrong until… I don’t remember. Eventually someone told me what was wrong but by then it was too late. I had failed in my first endeavor of my own business.

At 18 when I had just finished 12th grade I came across the book “Rich Dad Poor Dad” I read the book a little but after the first diagram that was displayed in the book, it stopped making sense to me. I was unable to understand the concepts that were being depicted. One thing I did realize what that if I want to learn how to run a business I need to find someone who can teach me. I did not realize that I needed to first learn how to CREATE a business. I went to my uncle who was a successful businessman but he refused to teach me.

I went on to study and gave running a business a second try. It was a miserable failure. The result was that I walked away with the experience that people who have grandiose ideas to make quick money are often crooks. This proved to be true a few more time during my time in university. I was a victim only the first time. The other times I knew better to stay away.

After graduation I gave running my own business a third try. This time with friends who knew more than me about how to handle money and how to make money. I wanted to learn from them in the process. I did learn from them a lot. But due to some conflicts in our ideas of what a business is and the direction we should take… mostly on my part, it didn’t work out. I failed a third time. But this time was different. This time I learned something more. I learned that I can either go after quick money by working for clients or I can take the long way to a more stable long term income by developing my own product. I decided nothing. Even though I had learned this lesson I had lost my will to do anything anymore.

A few months ago a junior of mine from university posted a review of “Rich Dad Poor Dad” on his WhatsApp status. I went out and bought the book. I started reading it and this time I actually understood the book. I still haven’t finished reading it but I do know that half way through the book, it has taught me more than my uncle would have been able to and I have good reason to believe that.

My father has always been against me reading book from the western world. I remember getting into an argument with him over this subject on a family gathering in front of everyone. This doesn’t make sense to me. Isn’t it the best thing to learn from the person who knows about a subject the most?

Financial education is scares in our community and it needs to be in abundance.