8 August 2016 | Gul Panag | Chandigarh
Gul Panag, a beauty queen, a model and an actress. Now know the savvy investor that she is. In this column that Gul spells out her money philosophy, holiday destination and investment preferences.
Glam dolls are usually known to have enough money which they spend on all kind of stuff. Their money philosophy for a common man is simple: Earn a lot, spend a lot! But Gul Panag, who was crowned Miss India about a decade ago, tells you it’s not so simple. She says she’s a disciplined spender and quite a savvy investor and the irregular stream of income makes it necessary for her to be disciplined.
Gul says she always had enough and the pursuit of money was perhaps never an ambition for her. Read on to know more..
By Gul Panag
I’m not somebody who’s attached too much of importance to money. Since the beginning I have felt that I have always had enough.
My father was in the Army and we had a very good quality of life. Even though we didn’t have too much money but I always had a sense of superiority vis a vis those who had more money than us because I then realised that they didn’t have the kind of life we had. So very rarely do I come across someone who has money who I really envy. Very very rarely. Rather very often you will find people stuck with money who don’t have the right kind of use for it.
For me, making money was never an ambition. The urge was to succeed in the field that I would choose. I flirted with the idea of doing law and finance, while this (a Miss India) worked out for me.
While in college, I had more than I could spend. I was an economics student and worked as an article clerk at my cousin’s brokerage. The work was incentive-based but I made enough for myself.
Then came success at beauty pageant. But it didn’t matter to me, it really didn’t, in terms of money. As my career progressed, money kept coming in, but it’s never regular, as in the case of a salaried employee. That’s why I‘m always cautious with money. I don’t speculate on money.
I’m more a disciplined spender than a disciplined investor. But I have been making investments with property being my favourite vehicle. Eighty percent of my investments are in property, some in gold and about 15 percent in mutual funds. I don’t personally dabble in equities. My cousin, who’s a partner at brokerage and also my financial consultant, advises me on investments in mutual funds, mainly through SIPs (systematic investment plan).
I bought my first house in Chandigarh 7-8 years ago. I have made more investments in residential real estate since. I don’t like bonds these days. I had earlier invested in 9 percent RBI saving bonds and I reaped its benefit till three-four years ago when they matured. Now without the return being tax free, RBI bonds aren’t worth touching. Even rates have come down since.
For me, the important thing is lifestyle upgradation. I’m not a spendthrift, but I believe that if I’m not able to upgrade my lifestyle there is no point in making more money. I have a better car, a better house than I had a few years ago. And yes of course this kind of upgradation will continue as I continue to make more money.
My father’s advice was one should be able to live in a third of what one makes…that is live well. Save a third of what you make and the remained you could spend on what you enjoy doing, that is pursuing interests. I don’t think I strictly stick to my father’s advice. But I certainly live my life that is sustainable in the future. I don’t suddenly upgrade my life.
I don’t eat out much but try and travel two times a year, not necessarily outside India. Trekking and camping in unknown places. I try not to go to same destinations I have been before. But I usually end up spending my summer in London every year. I have got my family and friends there.
I don’t know what I will do with the money when I grow old or how would my will look like. I haven’t really given it a thought.
Money wasn’t everything for me, ever. It will never be, as I move on in life.
- as told to shruti kohli
(this column was created & first published in December 2011 when The Petticoat Journal was called MoneyQuin & was focused on financial independence of women.)
If you, or a woman or women around you, are subject to domestic violence, sexual harassment, sexual violence, and other atrocities at home or anywhere else, here is what you can do.Know more