Helping young adults make sense of the world of finance
Many millennial dreams were quelled in 2020. For those in their mid-20s and late-30s, the 2008 economic recession was only ever something to learn from and not live through.
Employees in low-income brackets, also predominantly millennials, were conveniently let go off, still hundreds and thousands of them waiting to rejoin a job market that seems to have no space for them.
Hacks for life and career: A millennial’s guide to making it big, by Sandeep Das, is a useful read for many looking to secure themselves financially and minimise losses going forward, especially during these times. We are in a tough spot and could use some help to just get through, let alone make it big.
Easy to grasp
A good professor can make a boring subject interesting; this book does exactly that for an average millennial with limited understanding of business concepts and personal finance. Written in an easy-to-understand language, the author breaks down basics such as GDP and inflation in the initial chapters and eases you into mathematics and statistics to explain how to read financial statements and calculate the net working capital of a business venture.
Examples are carefully chosen to suit the millennial liking; it isn’t any service or product — it is Netflix and your pretty iPhone. In an attempt to understand business metrics and methodology of regression, we evaluate how actor Salman Khan’s movies have been doing at the box office and mathematically answer why you’ve been putting on weight this pandemic.
It is intentionally jargon-free and makes light of heavy subjects to get the young reader hooked, leaving them wanting to learn more, instead of lazily info-dumping the reader. The author speaks to not just young managers or B-schoolers, he includes entrepreneurs and gig workers just as much, representing the changing landscape of work today.
Each chapter begins with a real-life example to help the reader visualise the practical relevance of learning these concepts while they don the hat of a marketer or a brand manager.
The chapter, ‘Vagaries of the human mind’, is especially enjoyable, as the Das escorts you into the mind of a fictional consultant Mehak, which he promises isn’t the name of his ex-girlfriend, at a client meeting. Here, Das deconstructs different kinds of cognitive biases that the human mind harbours through the course of that one presentation Mehak gives.
The book provides a fresh take on personal finance capturing the generational attitudinal changes accurately, instead of re-purposing traditional ideas to sound different. Das writes: For most millennials, real estate should only be considered for the purpose of staying. As an investment vehicle, it is a poor idea due to illiquidity and suboptimal rental yields along with unfavourable tax treatment.
He doesn’t recommend purchasing real estate as the primary source of investment or as a financial goal.
The importance of having insurance, the power of compounding, saving income, and making investments at an early stage, all of which are pertinent to managing money effectively though, are duly highlighted.
Although the author warns us about sarcasm in the introductory chapter itself, the humour fell into discord with the millennial appeal, or to put it simply: it’s slightly cringe-worthy, reminding you of odd WhatsApp jokes.
The self-help section towards the end of the book merely skims over random topics without delving into any specific problem and feels incoherent with the theme of the book. If you can exempt the author from his peeking “stereotyping bias” and contrived humour at some places, the book makes for a juicy, informative read, laying a strong foundation to get you going.