Money Lessons from the Mahatma

‘Mahatma Gandhi’ and ‘finance’ or ‘ Investment’ in the same sentence somehow don’t jell. Gandhiji was the epitome of non-materialistic living and had virtually no connection with money. But contrary to popular belief, and despite the above facts, there are certain Gandhian ideas that certainly could help in your financial journey.

Mahatma Gandhi’s life is filled with examples, which amaze us with his strength of character. His struggle for India’s freedom is all about his incredible patience, value based struggle, self-belief and persistence towards the goal of India’s Independence.

On the occasion of his 150thbirthday let us look at the preaching of this great man and find out how they can guide us in our investment and financial decisions.
Gandhiji strongly believed that business should exist as part of a healthy community in order to serve the community.

Much before the present government started the “ Make in India” campaign, Gandhiji started the Swadeshi movement as a part of the Indian Independence struggle. It was a strategy based on economic self-sufficiency, which aimed at boycotting foreign goods and reviving the domestic products, which will benefit the local traders, workers, labour and businessman. He wanted Indians to be self-reliant and Indian businesses to flourish so that it would help the local population.

Further, he believed in creating a balance, an equilibrium in society so that everyone could live in peace and harmony.

Here are some valuable investing lessons to learn from Gandhiji’s life and ideas:

Account for each rupee you spend and earn
During his law study in England, Gandhiji was as flamboyant as other Indian boys around. He learnt to dance and play the violin, bought an expensive watch and got himself tailor-made expensive suits. But he would always keep an account of every penny that he spent. One day he realized that he can’t keep wasting his money on such pleasures and not study law. He took out his account book, marked the items which were unnecessary and made up his mind to stop spending on frivolous items. He moved into smaller accommodation, took public transport and cooked cheaper food.
Once Gandhiji’s dhoti, i.e., his garment was torn, and someone said, ‘Bapu, your dhoti is torn.’ So Gandhi goes into the bathroom and adjusts his garments a little bit, and then says, ‘See now, and tell me where it is torn? There is a lot of it left to get torn.’

Everybody should have just enough for his or her needs
Gandhiji once said, “The World has enough for every one’s needs, but not enough for one man’s greed” Such a profound statement! We all have fallen into the “hoarding” trap at one time or the other; be it money, be it food, be it worldly pleasures.
We are afraid that this is thing is going to be not available in the future and we are greedy to accumulate as much as possible lest we miss the bus. We often fall for “buy 2 get one free” kind of offers and buy more than what we need whether it is clothes or in groceries. Let your children understand it too, because Fear and Greed are the two most important emotions we need to control in our investment journey.
It is Fear at the market bottom, that I will lose everything, which makes us sell and exit the market and it is greed which makes us invest the money at the market top, thinking that I must invest now or I shall miss the bus or the easy ride to wealth.

“The future depends on what you do today”
Have you ever found yourself saying this? ‘Yes, of course, I’m definitely going to make some investments and plan out my finances soon.’
This is one of the most common refrain of most would be investors, but alas most don’t start until it is too late.
The truth is, there’s no right or wrong time to start planning for your future. The only thing that really matters is that you start planning your finances as soon as you can. Don’t worry about how the markets are doing, or how young or old you are, or how much money you make in a month. If you have the time and the patience to start investing, then start planning, NOW.


Take the first step forward, even if it is small:
This refers to a feeling of, “What is the point of investing a small amount today, I will invest when I have something big to invest. However, just like the independence struggle where Gandhiji began all freedom movements on a small scale at first, it is more important that we start, with whatever small amount that we have and let compounding do the rest.

Practice more; preach less:
Gandhiji spent most of his time on actions rather than words. He was a great pragmatist. In the same way, we need to become people of action and stop just thinking and planning all the time. Start today because what you do today (or how much you invest today) is a lot more important that what you can do tomorrow.

At times, resilience is more useful than skills: Bapu was a force to reckon with and baffled the British about how a “puny half naked Fakir” could hold the British Empire to ransom. He single-handedly and non-violently spearheaded revolutions despite the brutal conditions,only goes to show his exemplary mental strength.
We have seen market events overwhelm the best of investors. This is where a calm and composed mind is a lot more useful than skill and talent. This is where you need persistence and single-minded focus on goal achievement despite the volatility of the events.As Mahatma Gandhi said “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
“Seek not greater wealth, but simpler pleasure

Despite what many ‘experts’ would tell you, financial planning isn’t just about making money. It’s about WHY you’re making money or why you want to make money. It’s about what you would like to do with that money when you finally have it.

Iam reminded of an old story, which fits in very well here.
A farmer had a dog that used to sit by the roadside waiting for vehicles to come.
As soon as one came he would run, barking and trying to overtake it.
One day a neighbor asked, “Do you think your dog is ever going to catch a car?”
The farmer replied, “That is not what bothers me.
What bothers me is what he would do if he ever caught one.”
Many people behave like that dog that is pursuing meaningless goals.
They are trying to catch the elusive car, even if they catch it,
Then what?
Pursue only what you want to achieve.
The secret is to focus on the future that you require. Work with your financial advisor to clearly define your financial goals at different stages of your life. A host of factors come into play when you get down to doing this.
Your long-term milestones would include things like retiring early, sending your children to a good university, or maybe even going to university yourself. And your short-term milestones could be going on a long vacation, or deciding to learn a completely new skill, or being able to fund your hobby without digging into your savings.
What you need to remember is that running after high risk or high return investments or that elusive ‘Car” like the dog, isn’t what it’s all about, otherwise everybody would be doing just that.

Isn’t it ironical then, that the most that we remember of our ‘Father of our nation’ on this day, will be when we be digging into our wallets to hand over currency notes bearing his image, for our spending or curse him that today is a “Dry Day” because of him and we cannot enjoy our favourite Malt at the new Bar despite it being a holiday..

Whether humanity will follow the law of love, non violence and values propounded by Bapu, we don’t know, But that need not disturb us, The law will work just as the law of gravitation works whether we accept it or not.

Lets pay our humble homage to Gandhiji on his 150th Birth anniversary by following his principles and“Let’s be the change that we want to see in the world.”

Happy Investing!
Stay Blessed Forever

Note: All information provided in this blog is for educational purposes only and does not constitute any professional advice or service. Readers are requested to consult a financial advisor before investing as investments are subject to Market Risks. About The author

About The author

Sandeep Sahni

Sandeep Sahni

After completing his schooling from St. Johns, Chandigarh (Class of 1980) and Modern School, New Delhi, (Class of 1982) Sandeep did his B. Com (Hons.) from Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University (Class of 1985)

Sandeep is an alum of IIM Lucknow with a Post Graduate Degree (MBA class of 1988).

He has also written two books, ‘Dear Son, Life Lessons from a Father’on the teachings of Life https://www.amazon.in/dp/1637815271 and the Second book which he has Co Authored titled, ‘What My MBA Didn’t teach me about Money’ on the Human and Financial perspective of money. https://www.amazon.in/dp/1637816502

He has a rich work experience and started his career as a corporate man with Asian Paints after IIML. He has a rich experience covering the FMCG, Food Distribution, Cold Chain, Logistics, and Hospitality Industries. He is currently in the Wealth Management and Personal Finance domain. He has a passion for finance and is an active speaker on topics in finance. The stories he narrates strike a chord close to his heart, as they are based on events from his own life. He believes in a holistic view of Personal Finance.

Sandeep’s investing experience and study of the Financial Markets spans over 30 years. He is based in Chandigarh and is advising more than 500 clients across the globe on Financial Planning and Wealth Management.

He has promoted “Sahayak Gurukul” which is an attempt to share thoughts and knowledge on aspects related to Personal Finance and Wealth Management. Sahayak Gurukul provides financial insights into the markets, economy and Investments. Whether you are new to the personal finance domain or a professional looking to make your money work for you, the Sahayak Gurukul blogs and workshops are curated to demystify investing, simplify complex personal finance topics and help investors make better decisions about their money.

Alongside, Sandeep conducts regular Investor Awareness Programs and workshops for Training of Mutual Fund Distributors, and workshops and seminars on Financial Planning for Corporate groups, Teachers, Doctors and Other professionals.

Through his interactions and workshops, Sandeep works towards breaking the myths and illusions about money and finance.

His passion has driven him towards career counselling for young adults and mentoring the youngsters on achieving their life goals and becoming “Successful Humans”

He also writes a well-read blog; https://sahayakgurukul.blogspot.com

He has also conducted presentations, workshops and guest lectures at professional colleges and management institutes for students on Financial Planning and Wealth Creation.

He can be reached at:

+91-9888220088, 9814112988,
sandeepsahni@sahayakassociates.in

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