When a consumer goods firm says that it is finding five-rupee biscuit packs difficult to sell, you know the slowdown is not limited to white collar jobs and to people like us, but is biting down hard across the board. The signs of slowdown are everywhere—in the sudden job losses reported across the country, in the tiny increments that keep the income barely above inflation, in the stories that friends and family tell of small businesses struggling to stay alive, of poor sales off-take, of downgrading of stuff from premium to pure utility and then postponing purchases.
One way to understand this pain is to see it in the context of a larger change in the political narrative that wants to clean up the country—Swachh Bharat is not just about a physical clean-up but towards a cleaner way to do business and freedom from corruption. You can read more about this here.
We complain about the AC being too cold. Or the coffee machine spewing drain-water. The lifts are slow. The benefits shrink. The increments thin. We groan about Monday mornings. But take that job away and there is sudden sound of silence. The routine is gone. The reason for getting up in the morning is alarmingly not there. And the monthly ding on the phone that announces the salary credit is eerily missing. Over 16,000 jobs have vanished overnight as Jet Airways suspended operations on 17 April 2019. More than 16,000 families of the Indian mass affluent will now struggle with rent, EMIs, school fees, groceries and premium payments. The writing has been on the wall for months of impending doom, and many families were already dipping into their savings as salaries have been delayed for a few months. How to handle this crisis? Do you have a sudden job loss protocol in place?
Expense Account, Mint
One of the lasting images out of the rubble of the 2008 financial holocaust is that of US citizens declaring their patriotism by shopping. “I put money in the economy when I bought my 30th handbag or fifth car,” was the mantra. As a card-holding patriotic Indian, ever wondered what our patriotic duty is? It is to move cash out of that savings deposit into more productive assets. A savings deposit of Rs100 allows just Rs70 to get lent forward due to the various prudent banking (no quibble with those) requirements. Moving this cash to a longer-term product would not only earn us a better return, but will also allow entrepreneurs to borrow more cheaply than they do now. But we hoard cash. At least 50% of household savings is in bank deposits.