News reports say that the cabinet note for linking real estate to your Aadhaar number is ready and may see the light of the day soon. If that happens, then we should kick any thought of a real estate ‘revival’ a few years down the road. And that is a good thing for an average tax-paying salaried Indian. Because if you decode the word ‘revival’ as it appears across the media and in PR outreaches, you are looking at the world from the point of view of the developer, the broking firms and the banks, and not from your own point of view—a real estate aspirant looking for a home to live in or an investment to make. India has this strange story of having millions of unoccupied homes waiting for buyers while owning a home in a city remains just out of reach for millions of Indians as well. The real demand for housing sits at a price point that is below what the unsolds are going for and since the investment demand has dried up, the unsolds sit past their sell-by date. The linking of a biometric identifier to a piece of real estate has the potential to be another step in the war against the use of real estate as the sump for non-tax paid money—also called ‘black’ money. This link, if it happens, will be a great thing for the real buyers and investors of real estate in India as it will reduce prices to more realistic levels that are supported by current incomes which are used to pay the EMIs as tax-paid money attempts to buy real estate.
Diwali, being celebrated today, is one of only two days in a year—the other being Holi—when the crew of a news daily in India does not have an edition to dispatch for overnight printing and delivery the next morning. It’s a holiday. But stock exchanges in Mumbai are open for “muhurat” trading, an hour’s session of buying and selling shares to ring in a new financial year by the traditional Vikram Samvat calendar. Traders, brokers, dealers and other market participants gather around their terminals for this auspicious activity, and do the best they can to spread their festive cheer to a certain Mr Sensex. A sensitive fellow for the most part, as one would expect of a public figure who gets characterized as “average”, he bears the genes of 30 different entities that often swing in opposite directions.
Very often, when we embark on the journey of financial planning, we can get caught up in the process and forget the purpose. A too-tight focus on money and its care has the potential to leach away the joy that money can bring. And equally on the other side, a too-tight focus on instant gratification has the potential to reduce us to our baser instincts. Diwali is the time when we have the opportunity to reconnect with the deeper meaning of money in our lives, discover our relationship with money and then if we don’t like what we find, to change it to what the aspiration is.
For us to discover our relationship with money, we should be able to wade through all the insecurities, emotions and experiences that having money or not having it have brought into our lives till now. This is not easy to do since the money energy is deeply entwined with every aspect of our lives such that it is difficult to unravel the real reason for doing what we do. It helps to see this through three lenses—how we earn, spend and look after money.