Seniors Learn It’s Never Too Late for Financial Literacy

The seminar organizers (backrow center), from left Anasuya Kabad, Jay Kabad, Biki Mohindra and Pramod Kulkarni with the seniors who came to attend the first of a series of financial education seminars held at India House on Monday, April 16.

The seminar organizers (backrow center), from left Anasuya Kabad, Jay Kabad, Biki Mohindra and Pramod Kulkarni with the seniors who came to attend the first of a series of financial education seminars held at India House on Monday, April 16.

By Jawahar Malhotra

HOUSTON: Befittingly, the first financial literacy seminar was held on Monday, April 16, just the day before the 2017 income tax returns were due. All sorts of money questions were on the minds of the nearly 30 seniors who came to attend the seminar at India House in the morning, and no doubt many of the ideas shared must have rumbled through their minds later that day.

This seminar was an outgrowth of the practical guidance and emotional support seminar that the Indo American Cancer Awareness Network held in the same venue last November. Then, many heard the heart wrenching stories of those who had lost a spouse and the road they took back to emotional well-being and financial literacy. Many admitted that they were clueless when it came to handling the financial obligations as their now-deceased spouse – most times the husband – had tackled all those issues.

At the November seminar, of the four panelists, one was Biki Mohindra, a serial idea entrepreneur who has helped germinate several organizations which have taken root in the local Indo American community, like Youth Leadership Development Program and Club 24. A retired executive from Raviana Foods, Mohindra and his wife Prita (a retired radiologist), saw the need to share valuable insights based on their real life experiences and those of many of their other friends and colleagues.

Biki (as most people know him) has parlayed that into the group Share Our Secrets which he founded and has held classes for the past few years and graduated several batches of professionals, young and old. Building up on this concept, Mohindra and several of his other financially savvy friends – Pramod Kulkarni (a partner at Indo-American News) and Mani Subramanian to name two – decided to form a group to help educate seniors who may find themselves in financial logger jam.

To that end, and in partnership with India House, JayKay Wealth Advisors and Jugal Malani, Mohindra’s team organized the first of a series of seminars. Jay Kabad founder of JKWA and his daughter Anasuya (who recently joined the firm) started the presentation off with basic information about how to view finances. They helped to annunciate what goals each individual may have and then begin with 6 steps to achieve them: take control of cash flow, protect what you have, manage your taxes, save for retirement, invest wisely and leave a legacy.

The better part of the two-hour long presentation dealt with cash flow and Anasuya went over what might be included in income and expenses, discretionary and non-essential. The objective of this exercise was to help people understand what percentage of their incomes or savings they could allocate for various purposes and how long this would last them over the remainder of their lifetimes.

Wrapping up this session in the last 20 minutes was Mohindra, who, with his sharp analytical mind and inquisitive nature, has been able to distill the essentials of financial budgeting through his own informal survey of friends and colleagues. “I can offer you three shortcut formulas to estimate your wealth which work only in the US and only for Indians who earn between $100K to $800K.”

“In the first, imagine that your wealth is a hand,” he said as he drew a crude sketch on the whiteboard. “Take the little finger as taxes and the thumb as savings at 20 per cent each. The remaining fingers are 60 per cent: 20 each for House, Monthly Expenses and Annual Expenses.” In his formula, Mohindra says he can predict how much a person will save over a lifetime (about 20 per cent times 2.5), and for engineers, for example, that would be about $2 million.

Mohindra’s second rule of thumb was “whatever your stable income was at age 50, multiply that by 10 or 12 and that’s what your assets will be when you retire.” And his third rule was, “take the value of your house, and multiply it by 5 to 6 to get your assets at retirement.” Amazingly, these rules seemed to work for many people at the seminar.

The next in the series of these seminars will be held on April 18, 23 and 25 from 10am to 12 at India House. The cost to register and participate is $25 per person/per couple and this includes light snacks. For more information, contact Mani Subramanian at 281-691-4777 or