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The millennial’s guide to money and career


Money plays a crucial role in different aspects of life and decision making.

We work for a paycheque. We work to pay the bills. We work to fund a passion project. We work to save up enough and retire early. We give considerable thought to how much money a job or career path allows us to make.

Clearly, money plays a crucial role in different aspects of life and decision making. Deloitte’s 2020 Millennial Survey revealed that close to 50% of millennials and Gen Z in India believed that their day-to-day finances contributed a lot to their feelings of stress.

Here are some answers to top questions millennials have about the relationship between money and their career:

Will you choose a job with more money and less happiness or more satisfaction and less money?

This is such a conundrum. One can’t help but hold Bollywood and literary fiction accountable for setting unrealistic expectations when it comes to adult life. The heroine is almost always beautiful, smart, living life in the big city, struggling in a lovely apartment. She goes out every night, eats at the fanciest places and ends up accidentally bumping into the love of her life. What the movies don’t tell you is that none of it is accurate. Housing is expensive, and the kind of apartments someone who’s just starting their career can afford looks nothing like the ones you see in the movies.

You take up a job you may not like 100% because it helps you pay the bills, and you can’t just follow your dreams because those dreams always don’t pay. It’s about what life stage you’re in and what you want from your career. It takes a bit of experimenting to figure out what’s the right way for you. Money can also buy you nice clothes, fancy holidays and that beautiful apartment! It doesn’t matter if you don’t make a lot of money when you just start out. If you’re good at what you do, you eventually make money and will be at par with everyone else.

Will you take a pay cut for a job you really want?

“Is this a dream job? Will it help me get to my eventual goal and put me on the map when it comes to my career?” If the answer to all of the above is yes, then you should take the pay cut. Look at it as a short-term problem. If the job gives you everything you want, you are more likely to go ‘all out’ — doing it to make sure that everything is going well.

Always talk to people and get a sense of what the pay scales are like, whether it matches industry standards or not and then take a call. Taking a pay cut for something you want isn’t bad, as long as you aren’t being shortchanged.

How well do you understand your payslip?

Most of us are very confused with many things like Section 80C, 80D and stuff, but thanks to the internet and friends who are financially savvy, we’ve managed to make sense of it. When confused, don’t hesitate to contact HR. Speak to them; ask all the questions you have.

How much salary do I need to ‘make it’ in a metro?

There is no right answer to this because it eventually depends on the kind of life you want to live and the choices you make. Do you want to share an apartment or live alone? Do you want to find a place close to your workplace and save on the commute or do you want to live in the cool part of town and spend on the commute? Do you want to limit the number of times you’ll order in or eat out or just go with the flow? Your answers to all these small decisions play a role in deciding how much money you need to survive and live comfortably.

Armed with clarity on some of your common money and career queries, it’s time to apply these answers for making decisions best suited to your needs and to shape the future you envision for yourself!

(By Sujith Narayanan, CEO & Cofounder, Fi, a neobank created for working professionals)

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