What started off as a hopeful and optimistic year, slowly turned into quite an unpredictable one. For us at Rupiko, that unpredictability threw us off many-a-times. But it also brought with it a wave of goodness. As the year draws to a close, we wanted to reflect on the past 12 months, talk about some of our highs and lows, and share with you what 2021 taught us.

Discipline is everything

Two years ago, we had an idea – to explore one tiny aspect of personal finance every week, write about it, and share it with all those who had attended our workshops. So, on 20 December 2019, a Friday, we sent out our first official email to a hundred-odd people. We called it “Financial Fridays”. The email you’re reading today is our 100th weekly mail, and we couldn’t be happier. This journey has opened many doors for us, all the while fine-tuning our ideas and opinions about money and personal finance.

The century-milestone leaves us with a bitter-sweet feeling though, because the high of reaching the hundredth email is coupled with a low of having missed a few weeks in between. Over the past few months, on the Fridays that we weren’t able to drop into your inbox, we’ve felt miserable. Our family commitments took precedence. We promise ourselves to bring in more discipline to our writing process, to be able to keep up our weekly date with you.

Having said that, it’s due to the discipline of the rest of the weeks that led us to our first team member at Rupiko, Amisha. And what a joy that has been.

Discipline impacts every aspect of our lives, including our finances. A simple act of setting up an SIP in a mutual fund goes a long way in achieving financial freedom. The tiny habit of tracking your expenses, daily or weekly, gives you insights into your behaviours and helps you establish a healthy relationship with money. Doing just these two things, to begin with, can have a profound impact on your financial well-being.

Seek and ye shall find

Early in the year, we had the good fortune of connecting with a Kinshasa-based NGO to conduct a mentorship program for their community members. Doing this program gave us a better understanding of how NRIs can plan their investments, something we would love to discuss in another email sometime soon.

Closer to home and since the beginning of April, we have been doing a financial awareness program with a small group of women Ultimate frisbee athletes across the country. While our regular workshops have continued, the most recent one was a highlight. It was with a brilliant bunch of about 200 doctors, who reminded us of tax deductions available for certain kinds of medical expenses that even we had overlooked!

The biggest highlight of the year though was being selected to run a project funded by the Lithuanian Development Cooperation on Promotion of Financial Literacy of Women in India. Here are some photos from a few in-person workshops we did with tribal women of Dharampur, Gujarat.

Financial literacy for women at Dharampur, Gujarat
The women at Dharampur share their fears and concerns about money.
Financial literacy for women at Dharampur, Gujarat
Their key learnings were how to have financial discussions with their family openly, which avenues are safe and good to invest in, and which ones are to be avoided.

Our strongest takeaway from all of our sessions has been that everyone across the world is interdependent. Human beings are social creatures, and helping each other is a trait ingrained in us. If finance bothers you, seek help and you will find it. 

Financial education is a necessity

Another major win was a successfully conducted 4-week financial awareness course for final year students of a college in Hyderabad. It was heartening to see how eagerly the students waited for every class. We noticed that students had a keen interest in the field of finance, an interest that only strengthened over the month. Personal finance is something that isn’t part of our school or college curriculum, and it’s time to change that.

Personal Finance Course Certificate Distribution, Bhavan's College
Students at the certificate distribution ceremony of the 4-week Personal Finance 101 course conducted by Team Rupiko between September and October, 2021.

Rupiko is standing tall today because of the shared vision that each one of us had during every session and course. The vision that learning the art of money management has the power to uplift lives. And it can all start with one conversation, with one resolution.

Come 2022, let’s resolve to be a better version of ourselves. Some of us might want to be in greater physical health, some might want to follow more well-rounded mental health practices, and some might want to be fitter financially. Whatever area of life you want to focus on, if you’re making a list of resolutions, watch this two-minute video on how to make New Year’s resolutions like a pro by Daniel Pink.

Team Rupiko wishes you and your family a very Happy and Hopeful 2022! See you on the other side.

PS: A Book of Simple Living by Ruskin Bond is a gem that you absolutely must add to your reading list for 2022.

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