Welfare Foundation, for the education of children of deceased persons Jawans‘ families who have gone through difficult times.
Tell us a bit about yourself and why did you write the book ‘Golf Swings and Money Sutras’? Also enlighten us on the history of the name of your book.
I took Early Retirement (VRS in corporate parlance) in 2010, after being in the Indian Army for 27 years, to pursue my passion for financial advice. In an effort to give back to my fauji community while doing something that was badly needed in my community, I have limited my company’s clientele (Hum Fauji Initiatives) exclusively to armed forces officers and their immediate family members. We are now one of the largest, fastest growing and nationally recognized personal finance companies serving over 3,300 armed forces families.
Such a book was much needed for the fauji community as there was nothing available in the personal finance space that met their particular needs. Considering the fact that golf is such a popular personal sport among officers in the armed forces, I thought the narrative around golf would resonate better. I didn’t want my readers to feel like they were being “coached” on the subject of personal finance, which is perceived as a “dry” topic. Thus, the narrative, the three main characters of the book and the golf swings were thought to make the title of the book and the book itself more attractive.
When was your ‘a-ha’ moment? The moment you knew you wanted to write a book?
There was no sudden “a-ha” moment as such. In fact, this feeling that I should write a book on this subject, which addresses the specific needs of serving and retired military personnel, has been there for many years but I have never been able to bring myself to it. I then suddenly decided about a year ago that it had to be now or never, and I set about doing it.
I must add here that the book was designed to be easy to read from day one and that is why it is branded as a “15 Step Guide to a Golden Retirement”.
What was the process of finding a publisher like?
The publisher was ironically pre-decided and I didn’t look for a publisher! Creative Crows is a publishing company run by a lady in the armed forces and is very popular in fauji circles. In fact, they had approached us a few years ago after reading some of my articles in TOI, Finapolis, etc., but at that time the focus was on defining processes and simplifying personal finance for officers armed forces. Now that I was done with the first draft and was in the process of setting deadlines for the editing schedule, Ms. Ganiv Panjrath approached once again and there was no need to look elsewhere.
What have you discovered about yourself during your own transition to retirement?
While I myself was quite financially conscious when I transitioned from service to retirement, I have seen many other officers struggling with such a transition that I have watched closely. They were generally confused about the whole facet of money management. Wealth creation was not a very fancy term at the time.
Most of the financial decisions made by most retiring officers seemed to be “by the roll of the dice”! Their contributions came from what their friends, relatives, social media groups and generalized media messages said or did rather than from a logical and rational analysis of their own personal situations – present or future. This is something that I very consciously tried to address in my book and I believe is the most important aspect of retirement planning for officers in the armed forces.
What part of the book did you have the most difficulty writing?
The hardest part of the book was introducing financial concepts, which are central to all money management, but also quite boring for an average reader. Two of these chapters, Chapter 3 on Asset Allocation and Chapter 4 on Financial Planning, were relatively difficult to present in a way that the concepts were properly understood but did not come across as boring monologues that the reader passes over in silence. I’m quite happy with how they came out and I’m sure the readers of the book will understand and absorb them well as they are an extremely important part of the book.
Which part of the book do you prefer and why?
Even if a book is like a baby for an author, there are always favorite children! Since the book is primarily written for retired and retired officers, my favorite chapter is Chapter 13, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” – which highlights the aspects that matter most in life after retirement. Here I have tried to explain that while having an adequate monetary corpus is a very good thing, leading a fulfilled and happy life in this phase of our life is much more important. The “golden” part of “golden retirement” comes not just from the glitter of silver, but from a host of other things that may have nothing to do with silver.
What are the 3 fundamental ideas of your book?
Although it is very difficult to put together a complete book, I realize that it is even more difficult to mention 3 fundamental ideas from over a year of effort. Nevertheless, if I have to, it would be –
1) Every retiree needs a personalized financial plan for themselves.
2) Financial prudence ultimately leads to financial abundance and financial freedom.
3) It’s never too late to learn the basics of personal finance and profit from it.
Promotion has become very important nowadays for any type of book to reach its potential readers. How did you manage the promotion of your books?
Promotion is not just advertising, but rather convincing potential buyers that this book is something that will be useful to you, and your life will be a little better if you read it. That’s the position I took when I went to the armed forces community and told them about the book. The general areas of pain, what we all do well and what we don’t, how it’s easy reading, and you don’t need to be ready to “get down to something very serious at read” when you pick up a copy of this book. The fact that it’s actually a conversation between three retired bandmates in the picturesque setting of a golf course also helped convey the idea that this book was a comfortable read.
Additionally, as the book was driven by a passion to educate my fellow fauji officers on personal finance and wealth building, I focused on raising awareness so that it would reach the maximum number of officers in the armed forces. This book was never intended as a source of income and that is why all profits from this book go directly to the HFI Welfare Foundation, for the education of the children of families of deceased Jawans who have gone through difficult times .
What will your readers learn and who are the audiences for your book?
Undoubtedly, our intended readers of the book are retired and retired armed forces officers. They will be empowered with the financial know-how that is intimately connected to them and how to change the questions they ask about building wealth and the journey to financial abundance. I also expect them to feel comfortable and receive compelling answers to their dilemmas of where, why and how to invest their retirement money so that they have a truly golden phase of life after retirement. .
I personally believe this book can be a perfect gift for anyone who wants to understand the basics of retirement planning and the logical steps involved in the process.