A few months ago, Komal discovered the book, “Dear Me: Inspiring Letters by Sports Stars to their Younger Selves”, published by the Hindustan Times. It’s an uplifting read that offers a peek into the journeys of some of the most brilliant sports heroes of our time. As she and I discussed some of these letters, an idea struck us.

Why not write to our younger selves about our journey towards financial freedom? And the things we wish we knew more about when we were younger.

So we did just that. And today, I want to share with you what I wrote to my 16 year old self.

Here it the letter in its entirety.

Writing to my younger self

Dear 16 year old Rohit,

Do not rub your eyes, it’s me, your 32 year self from the future. Yes I still am the same goofball who is now married and living in Hyderabad with a beautiful wife. What can I say, we lucked out in the end! You might be wondering why I am writing to you. Don’t worry I won’t give you any spoilers about your favorite shows. I just want to take this time to talk about money and the choices we made.

Yes I know it sounds really boring. I would rather discuss how far Manchester United have come or what your future wife is like. This is really important. You are at an age when we really struggled as a family financially. I am glad to tell you, you have figured out that part now. You are comfortable now but there were so many things I wish we knew back then.

On Saving Up

We never saved up anything during our college days. Yes, we don’t get as much as some of the others but we were quite thrifty with what we got. Maybe not go for every movie. It’s okay to say you can’t go to McDonald’s with your friends from time to time. You do not need to eat that plate of Chinese ‘Freed Rise’ at the canteen. Put aside at least 300 rupees a week into that bank account Papa opened for us when we were kids. You do that for a year and you have 15,600 rupees gathering interest. Remember the Yamaha FZ you want so badly? Well now you can give dad half the down payment and take on the EMI yourself. If you keep sticking to the plan of saving up, you’ll clear the loan without being a burden to Papa too.

Loans and EMI’s

Speaking of loans and EMI’s (Equated Monthly Installments), you really need to understand how those work early on. You will see a lot of young people your age stuck in credit card debt and huge loan payments very early. It all sounds like easy money once you get your first job but before you know it, if you are not careful, you will find yourself paying off almost all your salary towards loans and debt. Ask yourself what is the purpose of the loan. Long-term, will I benefit from this? Do I really need to swipe my card for it? As you grow older, ways to spend money will get easier. From movie tickets to clothes and even groceries, they can all be delivered and paid for instantly. You need to really work on your self control and will power. Also keep your Credit score above 800 at all times!

Mutual Funds and Investments

If you keep up that habit of saving, soon you will have a sizable amount of money that you may not need to use immediately. Sure it generates interest in the bank but you must get into investing in Mutual funds as early as you can. It’s a world you may not understand immediately but if you read about it I am sure you will be able to save more than just your pocket money over time. That rapper you make fun of at the end of those ads on television? Slow down what he is saying and understand what he means by “read the offer document carefully before investing.” You won’t even need a Demat account for it, that’s only for investing directly in shares. But talk to a financial advisor about it. You just joined Karate class, right? The blue belt teenager will make a brilliant friend and financial advisor one day.

Filing Taxes

Where do I begin? Remember Papa going to meet Pinto Uncle every year around March? He used to carry all his old bill books and bank statements. How you hated it. Well, one day you will be in his place and you will wish you had figured it out before forty thousand rupees suddenly disappears from your salary one day. Our schools and colleges never really teach us about taxes and filing returns so you depend on Papa for this one. He runs a business so it’s different for him but he can give you all the information you need. Do not be shy to ask!

Finally, I hope you make better financial choices. One day you will need money to get married, start a family and perhaps even buy your own home. I wish I was able to make those sound choices when I was your age. Now I hope you will make those choices.

Take care of your body and give your love to Mummy, Papa and Rhea. Everyday.


Yourself from the future


People often say that there’s no point in dwelling on the past and in worrying about the future. We believe that too. And neither of those self-defeating exercises are what this letter is about. What it’s about is reflecting on your journey, learning from it and knowing that taking just a little right turn (or a left turn) can greatly impact your well-being.

I hope that this letter has planted a seed of thought about how you can progress on your own financial journey. Maybe write one to your younger self this weekend, and tell us what it inspires in you.

 You could also read some of the sports stars’ letters here – https://www.hindustantimes.com/sports/dear-me-series/.

Rohit Thomas

Related Posts:

Share this article