A tale of two cities

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SummaryHaving houses in two cities may not be a good idea, even if you are a CEO

Some time back I came across an interesting article carried by a financial daily. The article spoke of how so many people, especially high flying corporate executives, are living a life spread across two cities. Prima facie they would say they have jobs which are exciting enough for them to take to such a lifestyle, but we all know it is also the pay that is compelling them to do this split; the split of life and time between work and family. Based on my experience such a life is such a wasteful exercise. Here’s why:

The Emotional Angle

There is nothing second to ‘a touch’ or a sense of being there; physically in front of your family. Deep down there is nothing more comforting than to know that you not just around but in the house. While growing your child needs to hold your hand each day. Older ones need to see you in person each day. Being a phone call away or seeing your face and hearing you over Skype is not good enough. Needless to say that you will reap what you sow and this applies in your closest relationships as well. Much more can be said but I will leave the emotional angle here and focus on what I know better; money!

The Financial Angle

High-flying executives have no time. As a result their personal (financial) life is in shambles. Adhoc products, miscellaneous investments, badly performing portfolios due to bad choices and about two or three home loan EMIs running simultaneously. Often the 45-year-old executive does not have Rs 15 lakh of liquid investment which is easily identifiable. By experience, if I were to exclude real estate and provident fund, the networth of someone earning Rs 30 to 40 lakh per annum is even embarrassing to state. I am not saying real estate is a bad idea but during retirement the rental may not be enough and may not be in line with what you need (could be higher or lower) and you cannot eat bricks. Ultimately, it may seem that you are making a lot of profit but over the years if you consider cost of interest you paid and adjust for inflation the profits will not look attractive. Often I even see people selling property in distress after holding for 10-15 years and having paid so much interest.

Life itself can get so much more expensive when it

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