In a world obsessed with degrees and academic qualifications, it’s intriguing to ponder why society places such a premium on a piece of paper rather than on building a robust financial foundation. Imagine walking into a bank seeking a loan, and the manager demands your degree as collateral, offering a hefty sum of 1 crore rupees if you hold a B.Tech. It sounds absurd, doesn’t it? Yet, the reality is that our society is fixated on degrees as a measure of success.

Look around, and you’ll notice that people are tirelessly pursuing degrees, believing that it’s the key to a prosperous life. The irony lies in the fact that when the time comes to secure funds for a house, a car, or to expand a business, degrees are rendered worthless. The harsh truth is that you won’t get a loan solely based on your educational credentials. Interestingly, those less educated than you often secure more substantial loans and amass greater wealth. This phenomenon raises a critical question: Why does society place so much emphasis on degrees when financial success is contingent on a different set of skills?

The societal obsession with degrees may stem from the prevailing mindset that perceives education as the ultimate pathway to success. However, when the need for financial support arises, the stark reality hits home – degrees hold little weight in the eyes of lenders. Unlike the conventional belief that degrees pave the way for a successful future, it’s crucial to recognize the value of building a formidable financial statement.

The root of the issue lies in the inadequate focus on practical financial education within our educational institutions. In many cases, educators themselves are not equipped to impart valuable insights into entrepreneurship or finance. Picture this: A teacher, who has been in the education system for over a decade, attempts to teach entrepreneurship without firsthand experience in the field. It’s akin to a mechanic attempting surgery – a mismatch that hampers the effectiveness of the education being delivered.

While teaching mathematics or science requires a deep understanding of the subject matter, entrepreneurship demands real-world experience and financial acumen. Unfortunately, the disparity exists in our education system, where financial topics are often taught by individuals whose financial standing may not be exemplary. This mismatch between educators and the subjects they teach perpetuates a cycle of financial ignorance.

It’s essential to acknowledge that professions like teaching are noble, but the financial burdens that educators bear cannot be ignored. Underpaid teachers, grappling with their financial challenges, may find it challenging to impart invaluable financial lessons to the future generation. Expecting extraordinary teachings from individuals facing financial constraints is an unrealistic proposition.

The crux of the matter lies in the oversight of teaching individuals how to build a robust financial statement – a skill that could be more instrumental than a degree in the long run. Financial statements form the basis on which banks are willing to extend loans. Whether it’s a home loan, a car loan, or a loan for business expansion, a well-crafted financial statement is the key to securing financial leverage.

Consider the example of successful individuals like Ratan Tata or Mukesh Ambani. They didn’t amass their wealth solely through personal funds; they strategically utilized loans to fuel the growth of their businesses. The ability to leverage borrowed funds wisely is a testament to the importance of financial intelligence.

In the pursuit of financial IQ, it’s crucial to understand that intelligence alone doesn’t guarantee financial success. Warren Buffett’s advice to those with a high IQ is poignant – if you aim to make money in the stock market, extraordinary intelligence is not a prerequisite. Similarly, building a financial IQ doesn’t demand extraordinary abilities; it requires a practical understanding of financial principles.

Understanding the nuances of financial intelligence is often the key to navigating the complexities of wealth-building. In the realm of financial statements, there exist four fundamental components that serve as the pillars of financial understanding: income, assets, expenses, and liabilities.

Let’s break down these components to demystify the world of finance. First and foremost is income – the money one earns through various means. This figure is the starting point, the foundation upon which financial success is built. Second, we have assets – those valuable possessions and investments that contribute positively to one’s financial standing. Assets are the money-makers, the entities that add to your wealth.

On the flip side, there are expenses – the inevitable costs associated with living and maintaining a certain lifestyle. Subtracting expenses from income leaves us with the elusive profit, which is subject to taxation. Moreover, the net worth of an individual is determined by subtracting liabilities from assets. A positive net worth signifies financial strength, where assets exceed liabilities.

Now, the key lies in understanding the significance of these components. Assets, in essence, are the items that contribute to your financial well-being, putting money into your pocket. Conversely, liabilities are the entities that drain money from your pocket. The mantra here is clear: build assets, and reduce liabilities. It’s a simple yet powerful strategy that can elevate your financial standing over time.

Embarking on this journey requires a shift in mindset. Many individuals unknowingly live a life of financial negligence, unaware of the impact their financial decisions can have on their future. To remedy this, a heightened understanding of the four financial components is paramount.

In developed nations, it’s surprising to note that only four out of ten individuals possess an in-depth understanding of these financial elements. The situation is even more pronounced in developing countries like India, where eight out of ten people lack this basic financial knowledge. This discrepancy emphasizes the urgent need to bridge the financial literacy gap.

To enhance financial intelligence, one must focus on three pivotal aspects. The first is budgeting, a fundamental skill that often gets overlooked. Implementing the 50-30-20 rule serves as a practical guide for budgeting. Half of your income should be allocated to needs – essential expenditures like food, housing, and education. Thirty percent can be designated for desires, fulfilling personal wishes and wants. The remaining 20% should be committed to savings, a crucial aspect often neglected.

However, it’s essential to recognize that the 50-30-20 rule applies primarily to those with an income below 4 lakh rupees. As income surpasses this threshold, the dynamics change, necessitating a reevaluation of budgetary allocations.

Increasing income and building assets are long-term goals that demand consistent effort. It’s crucial to cultivate a mindset geared towards creating multiple income streams and acquiring assets that appreciate over time. While this transformation won’t occur overnight, steadfast focus and dedication can set the stage for financial prosperity.

In the pursuit of financial intelligence, adopting habits from successful communities can be beneficial. Gujarati and Marwadi Baniyas, known for their financial acumen, prioritize saving and investing wisely. Their approach includes understanding the importance of expenditure – not just saving but strategically spending to protect and attract wealth.

A poignant reminder surfaces: financial negligence is a perilous path. To safeguard one’s financial future, cultivating a habit of savings is indispensable. In the words of a poetic revelation, the way we earn should not merely be a means of accumulating wealth; it should also reflect in our spending habits. This implies a mindful approach, where money is not just earned but also utilized to nurture a secure financial future.

Understanding and mastering the intricacies of personal finance is a journey that requires a solid foundation. In this exploration of financial intelligence, the focus is on three critical aspects: budgeting, investing, and debt management. These pillars form the bedrock of a robust financial IQ, empowering individuals to navigate the complex landscape of wealth creation.

To begin with, budgeting plays a pivotal role in financial success. Allocating 20% of one’s income towards savings is a fundamental rule that, if not followed, signals a weak financial IQ. The 50-30-20 rule is a practical guide, emphasizing that 50% of income should cover essential needs, 30% can be allocated to desires, and the remaining 20% should be diligently saved. Failure to adhere to this rule indicates a lack of financial discipline.

Moving beyond saving, the next crucial step in wealth creation is investing. Whether opting for diversification or concentration, investing is the key to financial growth. Blogs on investing, such as those exploring Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), provide valuable insights. Starting small with ETF investing, as highlighted in the ‘no loss’ blog, offers a prudent entry point into the world of investments. As wealth accumulates, expanding into real estate becomes a strategic move, further bolstering financial portfolios.

However, saving and investing alone is not enough; effective debt management is equally essential. The common misconception that all forms of debt are detrimental is debunked. Loans for constructive purposes, such as home or business expansion, are considered sound financial decisions. Yet, it’s crucial to distinguish between purposeful borrowing and unnecessary debt accumulation.

Personal loans, often taken for home renovations, weddings, or emergencies, are prevalent in India. Unfortunately, these loans contribute to a significant portion of the debt landscape. Understanding the purpose of borrowing is key to responsible debt management. Leveraging loans to enhance one’s business or secure a home is considered a strategic move, aligning with long-term financial goals.

The significance of debt management extends beyond financial prudence. Successfully managing debt positively impacts one’s credit score, a crucial aspect when seeking future loans. A strong credit score communicates financial responsibility to lenders, increasing the likelihood of loan approvals. Conversely, a poor credit score resulting from defaulting on loans can significantly hinder one’s ability to secure credit in the future.

The crux of financial intelligence lies in the construction of a comprehensive financial statement. This statement encapsulates four key elements: income, assets, expenses, and liabilities. A regular, consistent income stream is crucial, demonstrating stability to financial institutions. It’s not merely about the quantum of earnings but the reliability and sustainability of income over time.

Expenses, often perceived negatively, are inevitable. The key is to analyze the direction in which expenses are headed. Business-related expenses aimed at expansion are viewed favorably, signaling growth. On the asset side, the focus is on building a diverse portfolio, encompassing real estate, machinery, and income-producing assets. The emphasis is on assets that contribute positively to one’s financial standing.

Liabilities, on the other hand, need to be kept in check. While some liabilities are unavoidable, minimizing them is crucial. Responsible borrowing for productive purposes is encouraged, but unnecessary debt accumulation is discouraged. The mantra is to convert liabilities into assets whenever possible, a concept explored in a previous blog.

In conclusion, the journey to enhance financial intelligence requires a comprehensive understanding of income, assets, expenses, and liabilities. Budgeting, investing, and debt management are the three pillars that form the core of financial IQ. Adhering to these principles sets the stage for a secure and prosperous financial future.

The prevailing mindset that degrees alone guarantee success is debunked in favor of a focus on building a solid financial statement. The importance of understanding the purpose of debt and distinguishing between constructive and non-constructive borrowing is emphasized. As individuals prioritize financial education and adopt responsible financial practices, they unlock the doors to increased financial IQ, setting the stage for a self-made and prosperous future.