Where Do You Put Your Hard-earned Money

Updated: Oct 20 2002, 05:30am hrs
Taking care of money is a dilemma faced by all, regardless of position, power or economic level.

The avenues chosen for investment or spending may differ. The bottomline, however, is clear that money does matter.

While some are keenly interested in monitoring their active investment/expenditure themselves, some prefer passive and risk-free investments while the rest would rather hand this responsibility over to experts claiming that they dont have a head for numbers. A cross section of personalities share their views on money matters.

M Damodaran, Chairman, UTI
"If I had a lot of money to invest, it would have been nice. Since thats not so, I think it is safer to invest money in banks depending on what good returns you can get. One can also invest in well-run mutual funds. What about investment in property "I dont consider property a worthwhile investment. One must have a roof over ones head but roofs"

What does Mr Damodaran spend his money on "I like to buy books. Sometimes, I do it on impulse especially at airports. I dont spend much on clothes. I like wearing half-sleeve shirts. But working at the UTI, I have to be reasonably well-dressed and so the half sleeves are out. I like to travel and most of it is now for official work. Food can cost you a lot, if you eat out. Once in a while, I catch up on new restaurants. I am not a big spender."

Pramod Navalkar, MLA, Maharashtra
He says he has never stepped into a bank in his life. "I do not know how one looks like. When I was a bachelor, I gave my earnings to my father who invested it for me. After my marriage, my wife has taken over. I find it exciting to see the passbook once or twice a month and see the figures on the right hand side. It is nice to see the money I have managed to save. I have worked with Mckinnon Mckenzie and after my retirement, I continue to work with them as a consultant. My income is a fixed one which I get from the company. And so I dont risk it by investing in shares and property. We, the middle class, cannot afford such luxuries."

What would he consider to be ideal forms of savings "I can only answer for the middle class," he reiterates. "As far as savings in banks go, some of the income is put away in fixed deposits and some in recurring deposits. They are ideal forms of savings. But the best I think is the Indira Vikas Patra. Only if my father had invested a mere Rs 5,000 in my name, it would have made me a crorepati. Can you imagine ... I would have Rs 2.08 crore! What more could a salaried employee like me ask for"

Venugopal Dhoot, Managing Director, Videocon
He says he does not attach much importance to money.

"Money is created by the central banks and not God. For me, moral principles, ethics rate much higher than money per se."

But the fact remains that he is a creator of wealth that is a source of livelihood to many.

From that context, what does he consider to be a safe investment option

I think RBI bonds, which are tax-free are the best. At 7 per cent interest, which other institution can you think of in the world that would offer this

I dont know how far this scheme by the RBI will last, but as long as it does, it is the best option."

Piyush Pandey, Group President, National Creative Director, O&M
He says he has no clue about savings. "Money cannot mean more than general happiness. At times I am scared. I ask myself, can I go back to Jaipur, to my roots, and be able to eat dal, roti and sabji. The answer is yes and I am very happy. Now the only thing that scares me is whether I would be able to live without an a/c!"

"I feel it is important to learn to live with what one has. I earlier lived in a company flat but when I brought my own 560-sq ft house, I was thrilled. It was fun paying back the loans I owed to my near and dear ones. Owning ones own house is a big thrill. My financial condition is known more to my CFO SN Rane. He runs my life. When some friends said, invest in mutual funds, I did and what I got later was half of what I invested. Later, someone said invest in property. I brought a flat in a high-rise apartment in Delhi and then the Bhuj tragedy happened. The property prices fell and you can imagine what I got out of the Delhi flat. Now I live on the first floor of a building in Mumbai and I am only worried about the floods!"

"I once made some investment in preferential shares and by sheer fluke earned some money on it but was very uncomfortable about those kind of gains which I hadnt earned and so blew it up. I dont really know about savings," he confesses.

Neeta Lulla, Fashion designer
She feels money plays a vital role for procuring the basic needs of life. "Also the basic comforts," she adds after a pause. However, she feels there is more to life than earning money. She puts job satisfaction on a higher note. "That spurs one to do better and then money becomes a byproduct."

Regarding investments, she feels it is best not to put all the eggs in one basket. "Invest a bit in shares, property, gold, etc so that if one crashes, one does not crash land."

Tanaaz Currim, TV and film actress
She is very serious about money. She would like to have lots of money for the security factor. "Also then it is easier to spend without worrying about it. I also dislike going in for high purchases as that requires a lot of money. It is important that money lasts and so I would like to have abundance of it." That would mean she is very careful of investments. "Yes. I am. All the economics that one learnt in college has gone for a toss in the conditions prevailing today. One studied about ideal conditions but look at the state of the economy. In such an environment, one does not want to invest in shares as the stock market is highly unreliable today. I would prefer going in for debt-related investments. Mutual funds are very reliable. Since I am secure where property and jewellery are concerned, I do not look at those options."

Sanjeev Kapoor, Chef
He feels money should be spent. His logic: "Dont run after money for then it will run away from you!" Mr Kapoor feels that money should be spent sensibly. "If you keep your earnings in long-term savings, you never get to use it. Only when you spend your money, will there be an incentive to earn more. Having savings can make you complacent."

Mr Kapoor feels the ideal form of savings would be a mix of two things: shares and property. "I wouldnt recommend trading in shares. I would prefer buying shares of bluechip companies and forgetting about it. Property is also a good buy. It is not a saving actually but a form of security." Where does Mr Kapoor spend his money on

He laughs. "Food." Meaning opening hotels or being a consultant and earning money through it and letting people spend on food "Yes," he says amidst laughter.

"Actually, I dont plan on spending. I am an impulsive spender. I mostly spend on personal items that I am fond of. Like pens and watches." And then adds to say, what else, knives. "I need it, you know," he reiterates.