Let's Talk About Money by Monika Halan

Personal finance is something each one of us has to deal with at some point of time. We cannot escape that need by the regular excuse - " finance is not for me ". We have to teach ourselves the basics of finance and the way to deal with the money we earn for the long term - investment, insurance, retirement corpus, etc. We are responsible for our own financial literacy. Furthermore, it is actually in the best interests of the financial market to keep us confused, make us think the jargons are just way to many to ride through. We need to work hard to educate ourselves so that we don't regret our choices later in life. The cost of being ignorant is way too much.

Last week I read 'Let's Talk Money' by Monika Halan - a planned approach to investment, in the Indian context. She is a sane voice that makes finance accessible for beginners. Those without an academic or management background in finance, can start off their learning with this one. It's written in very simple language, with conversational style, with an aim to make the reader comfortable with what is being discussed. You won't feel confused, the approach to topics around investment is very streamlined, and the text does feel intimidating either, as is the case in most financial books. 

I am still a beginner, but I truly got the confidence that given an amount of effort I can make my own financial decisions. It is not any get rich quick books - it is purely about long term investing. You won't find direct trading in stocks here. It is written for the majority Indian mindset who can take mild risks and depend more on high security instead of high returns. It offered me a good starting point.

Why read this book? I mean, of course you can Google things. But have you done that yet? Would you get a comprehensive guide with all the topics packed in at one place in any website, covering emergency fund, medical insurance, term life insurance, mutual funds - debt & equity, and other investments like gold and real estate? Also to gauge your own risk appetite and capacity or what criteria to factor into while setting a goal for your short and long term investments. This book gives the required handholding for a beginner. It has already been prescribed as a reference book in Banasthali Vidhyapeeth University and is recommended by various financial educators in India.  

I watched The Big Short after reading this. It was so interesting a movie- but had I watched it a month ago -it would have been just a jargon rich finance movie that I hadn't got at all. Of course we paused, googled and then discussed and then continued - finally finished watching after 4 hours. But it was really interesting. Enjoyed the process a lot. There can be so many loopholes and fraudsters in the financial world, makes you wary. Scam stories can make up for an interesting watch too.

One book would lead to another, then a movie in between and then a series like Scam 1992 The Harshad Mehta case - learning need not be boring. It's multifaceted. And with YouTube reviews and Instagram reviews coming across an interest theory or movie or novel is easier. 


Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

  Queeristan (Amazon Link) Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.   Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju

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