Money & Me: I started saving a bit late. This was 5-6 years after becoming a CA, at the age of 27 -28

Personal finance is the most neglected and so The Finance Story 'Money & Me series' features finance professionals who share their journey with Money. This is an initiative to learn from each other.

  • Hello! I am Pritam Mahure, a Chartered Accountant (CA) and founding partner at Pritam Mahure & Associates.
  • I lost my father, the breadwinner of the family, at a young age and that made me look for jobs for a living in Grade 11.
  • In desperation, I hopped from one job to the other and that made me appreciate the value of money.
  • Today, I run a successful CA firm that supports clients with Indian GST and Gulf VAT.
  • Here is my journey with money.

Why did you decide to be a CA?

I remember, a friend told me that CA was amongst the toughest and well-respected courses. This attracted me to pursue CA.

Naturally, I love challenges and spending time upskilling myself. This made it easy to take the decision.

How did your background influence your relationship with money?

My father died prematurely and as a result; my mother, two brothers and I experienced severe financial challenges.

Unfortunately, I had to search for jobs in Grade 11 to sustain myself and the family.

I worked at a Public Call Office booth and switched jobs from selling bread to working in shops.

Before this, my father was the only family member who earned an income. He worked in the police department and we stayed with him in the police quarters. Things were going well.

In hindsight, having to work so hard for money made me value its worth. The lack of money forced me to work even harder.

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Are you a saver or a spender?

Honestly, I am neither. I believe it is not about how much we save or spent, but about how much we earn. Hence, my focus is on earnings.

I think we should focus on earning a lot so that we do not have to worry about how much we spend. If this is done effectively, savings will automatically be substantial.

To answer the question, if I like something, I will go for it. Having said that, significant spending (say millions) requires rationality. We do not always have that much money lying around. So I am rational when it comes to spending. 

When did you start saving/investing properly? 

Unfortunately, I started saving a bit late. This was 5-6 years after becoming a CA, at the age of 27 -28.

Most of my savings were in bank deposits and they helped me a lot during the initial stages of setting up our practice.

However, I have to admit I am not good at investing money. Instead, I prioritise investing in time. So, it’s better for me to guide the young ones on saving time.

Time is my greatest saving/investment and it is worth a lot.

What was the biggest mistake you made when it came to money?

Until today, I still don’t have a Demat account and I am not sure if this is a mistake.

Having said that, I must mention that the stock market is an amazing way to earn money provided you give it time. However, for me, I can lose money but never time.

Did you have enough savings to establish your own firm?

After qualifying in 2005, I worked at well-established firms and that influenced me to start CA Pritam Mahure & Associates in 2012.

Unfortunately, I did not have enough money when I started on my own. All my salary was invested in meeting family needs (as I was the breadwinner).

As a result, I worked from home for a year (i.e., no office) and travelled on my two-wheeler (i.e., no car).

We climbed from the bottom and we made something out of the nothing we had.

At present, we are expanding and thus, most of the money is plowed back into the business.

Today we are a team of 15 professionals, advocates, Masters of Business Administration and interns.

What is your most cherished purchase?

8 years ago, we worked in a small office. Now, we have a big office space where the team can place various indoor games like cricket and basketball.

This office space remains a cherished possession as the team enjoys the same so much.

If you had to go back in time and plan your finances, what would you do differently?

As I am a staunch believer in spending ‘time’ wisely (than ‘money’), I wish I had spent even more time reading books!

I always say that only when we read, we can lead! I say this because all I have today is due to my habit of reading! 

Also, reading gave me the opportunity to author more than 15 books and deliver trainings across India, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain!

Books are a direct source of pure knowledge as they expose us to varied experiences and help us formulate novel solutions! Thus, I recommend the younger generations should read more books!

Currently, how do you save/invest?

My wife, Nikita who is an engineer, looks after family savings/investments. Our portfolio mostly comprises of real estate, traditional bank savings, systematic investment plans and fixed deposits.

As my wife takes care of our family budget, I can focus on building the firm.

Advice to give entrepreneurs who are starting out?

I took my first international flight when I was 35 years old! I believe that unless it is for learning purposes, international travel/roaming can wait...focus on your goals till then.

Similarly, due to scarcity of money, I could afford only a two-wheeler, till I turned thirty! Then I purchased a second hand Santro followed by Jazz, Elantra, Merc and BMW!  Thus, in growing years, manage with whatever you have.

Don’t borrow and splurge on travel or cars until it is needed.

Also in life, lost money can be recovered but not lost time! Invest your ‘time’ to acquire skills than spending time to track the shares/ stock market...unless of course, that is your business or only source of income!

Focus on your job, your business, track changes in your field, in technology, etc, and become an expert.

Concluding advice

  • First, avoid unnecessary spending. Only go for international travel where necessary and I advise buying a pre-owned car.
  • Second and most importantly, spend time upskilling yourself. Skills can never be substituted by money or anything else.
  • Third, be patient with the process. The right time will come for you to own all the luxuries you want to own. Don’t rush the process.

Now It's Your Turn...

What is money to you?

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