The Curse of First Generation and the opportunity to fix the rest


Curse of the First Generation and the Opportunity to fix the rest.

I was on a local train, travelling to South Mumbai (South Bombay) to visit the British library. During my 1.5 hour train journey, I met a co- passenger Satheesh and within no time we started our conversation. Along with our other casual talks, he shared his story during that 1.5 hour train ride. He was from Puliyur, Tamilnadu, came to Mumbai when he was 8. His father died in an accident, this unfortunate untimely death of his father forced his mother to take the job of a housemaid, she cleaned several houses to support his education & home. He is now a B.Com graduate  and got his first job in Max life insurance. High hopes, great ambitions, optimism, and desire to create a better life was dripping through his talks. When we parted ways in Marine lines, It got me thinking, how many times I heard similar stories.

There are millions of people like Satheesh in the world who started their journey with absolutely nothing. Single mother, dead father, not supporting family & siblings, bad neighbourhood, no money etc have become familiar.   Every story has this in common. The family and parents are so poor that all they could do was survive and raise the kids. With the hope that someday the kids will break the generational curse of poverty and give them a happy ending. The rate of success is debatable and around 5%. Remaining 95% of those kids and parents never make it. They are instead relegated to their homes and in forever survival mode.

In the past men worked hard and remained on the same job for decades. In many cases they retired on 1 job only. There was no consideration of income, position, or investment growth. No thought of side hustle, business, or retirement planning. There were plenty of problems brewing. Such as inflation, low income, positional growth, difficult to manage family expenses due to too many kids or a very big family, alcohol, or gambling addiction and more. All the issues were ignored as they were labelled as difficulties of life. One master stroke resolved every problem and that was marriage. Which created another generation of poverty. Which leads to most people being crushed under the burden of being the first generation. They give up and just walk around it, with no intention to resolve.

I am the first generation so I can relate these things better. I spent 14 years researching and knowledge gathering to find the best practical solution. Here are my recommendations to whoever wishes to break the curse and change future generations.

It is infuriating to know that all previous generations did nothing to change the financial situation. We have to accept fate no matter how frustrating and painful it may sound. Most people ignore or refuse or walk out on family outright. Become the hero of your own story and stand firm. Acceptance is the first step in the right direction.

a. Siblings are all kind of stubborn and possibly the worst to form a team. However, if your connection with your brothers & sisters is good. Then it can be developed into a tag team. A team can reach financial stability faster than doing it alone. But if it is not possible then don’t sweat over it and move on.

b. Find friends and outsiders who have similar mindset. They can become your new family who is determined to grow.

a. Life is going to throw curve balls and challenges, whether you accept family responsibilities or not. Your parents are your best supporters in every situation.

b. Develop a never give up attitude and be a problem solver. Write down all problems and resolve 1 problem at a time. Always write down your thoughts. They will help you calm down and organise.

a. Be the hardest worker in the room and have the ambition to change your life for good. Set your goals high and force discipline & consistency in your behaviour. Harness the power of knowledge & experience to grab opportunities and push the boundaries of growth.

a. Expectations are the single most important reason for unhappiness.

b. Develop higher expectations from your own self and nothing from others. Including friends, family, partners & colleagues.

a. Practice with consistency & discipline is the only way to success. It doesn’t matter how long you have been in the domain or career. Skills are perishable and require constant refresh.

a. Career

i. It is important to start career planning when you join your first job. However, most of us were not mature enough to think this far at the time.

ii. Now we have the time and the maturity to think, research and plan our career.

iii. Constant efforts are required for learning, certification, and developing a professional network.

b. Travel

i. Life is best lived when you explore your surroundings and the world.

ii. Keep some budget and plan trips to wherever possible. It will give you a unique perspective and new ideas.

c. Marriage to the right partner

i. Plenty of wedding guidelines are shared since we reach 18 years of age. However, different perspectives & logic must be used when you are the first generation. All those guidelines from friends, family & relatives do not apply here. Marriage is the 1 time event for the most and the wrong person can derail your plans.

ii. Right partner depends on your plan, goals, and vision. Try to find a person who has similar  ambitions, plans and vision. His / Her mindset, attitude and thinking should complement your goals and personality holes.

iii. Develop a set of non-negotiable & adjustable terms. Discuss them with the proposed partner and ensure they understand & agree. Define clear role & responsibilities between each other.

d. Kids

i. After marriage, kids are the most important factor which must be discussed & agreed upon. Raising kids requires time, money, patience & effort. It is a one way train so better be certain about it.

ii. Exponentially growing education costs, constant attention, tremendous patience, and time investment must be understood. I have met so many people who regret having kids and now there is no way to escape parenthood.

iii. It is advised to discuss, review your finances, career aspirations, relocation abroad, family situation, parents’ health, and other factors before deciding parenthood.

e. Side hustle / business

i. It is important not to remain dependent on the job. Companies’ love depends on various factors such as, financial results, Office politics, reorganisation, merger, new management and more.

ii. It is highly advised to spend at least 1 hour on weekdays and 4 hours on weekends to research, take notes and plan a side hustle. It can be learning a skill or watching YouTube videos on low investment businesses, stock investment courses etc.

f. Retirement

i. Our older generations are suffering from no retirement planning. They simply dumped their old age on their kids. Most of these children are refusing to accept old age parents’ responsibilities. The result is catastrophic. These rejected old parents have to beg or work at construction or sell fruits or do other odd jobs just to survive.

India, China, Vietnam, and America are some of the biggest examples of old age misery.

ii. We all must plan for the sunset. Everyone is going to grow old eventually and our old age should not be a burden on our kids. Rock solid plan is required for how to live life after 60. My recommendations are:

  1. Healthy & physically active lifestyle.
  2. Health insurance policy.
  3. Develop constant earning streams through rent, stock dividends, bond interest.
  4. Reduce expenses by relocating to low expense cities, outskirts of major cities or to a village.
  5. Learn farming and set up a garden.

Final words

Whether you are a man or woman, if you believe It is possible to break the survival focused generation curse then you can. It is absolutely possible by making smart choices, decisions, self-belief and “never give up attitude”. Focus on yourself, plan well and execute your life the way you see fit. Ignore all naysayers and pessimistic reminders.  One must believe that generational curse can be broken and do so in his/her lifetime. To make things interesting, write your own success story everyday and read it yourself when you are 75. It will be satisfactory and peaceful.

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