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‘Educational institutions should take initiatives to teach children the basics of money management’

Apeejay Institute of Management and Engineering Technical Campus (AIMETC) alumnus Ashwani Tiwari stresses the importance of teaching the youth about managing finances

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Ashwani Tiwari, an alumnus of Apeejay Institute of Management and Engineering Technical Campus (AIMETC), is a certified financial planner, who has been running his own venture Wealthmate, a company involved in mutual fund distribution, for almost two decades. For all his achievements to date, Tiwari credits his alma mater for shaping him into an individual keen on learning and exploring. In an interview, he talks about his memories at Apeejay, the importance of teaching the youth about money management, and more. Edited excerpts:

You are an alumnus of Apeejay School, Mahavir Marg, as well. Can you tell us how it shaped you?

I did my entire schooling at Apeejay. In fact, all my brothers and sisters have also studied at the same school. So, the institution is very close to our hearts. Apeejay has been providing a very good quality of education. At school, my teachers were very cooperative and friendly. Not just academics, I was equally encouraged to pursue my interest in chess during my time there. Around class 10 and class 11, I did well at state-level competitions, which further earned me a scholarship from Apeejay. The school also granted me additional time for my practice so that I could participate in national-level games. Eventually, I earned the title of ‘Fide Master’, the first in Punjab, and I owe it to the cooperation and support extended by my school. Years later, I served as a selector for the All India Chess Federation, and I continued in the role for about 10 years.

Tell us about the time you spent while doing an MBA in marketing at AIMETC.

I was part of the first batch of the institution. At that time, there were only a few MBA institutions, and AIMETC was one among them. The institute, of course, was in its early phases but everybody associated with it, from the director to the faculty, were motivated to overcome challenges and drive AIMETC to success. They were very hardworking. Many of the teachers are our friends to date because we grew hand-in-hand. We continue to share a very special bond with each other.

Most of the students from our batch who I know of are well-established today in their respective fields, which goes to show the solid foundation provided by Apeejay. In that sense, the institution set the right precedent, and I am very happy to see it flourishing today. The alumni recall fond memories from college and wish to go back to the time (laughs).

How and when did you start Wealthmate?

Wealthmate is a venture that is over 15 years old, and it deals in wealth management. We cater to high-net-worth individuals, medium and small enterprises, etc. to address their needs surrounding wealth creation and planning. The seed for Wealthmate was sowed around my time at AIMETC, which provided me the right kind of growth and exposure so that even if I did my MBA in marketing, I am doing well as a financial planner today. You cannot be rigid about your career choices is what I have learned. It is all about identifying your competencies and honing them. It was around 2005 that I chose to go for a change. I enrolled in the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) curriculum from Financial Planning Standards board Ltd,Denver, USA, which was to set my own benchmark. In 2013, I pursued Chartered Market Technician (CMT) from CMT Association, New York, USA, while working on Wealthmate simultaneously. These specialisations helped me establish a stronghold in the financial sector. Today, Wealthmate is among the largest distribution houses of mutual funds in the country, with clients not only in Jalandhar but in other regions including overseas.

Do you think young Indians are hesitant to invest or do you see growing interest?

GenZ, as we know them, is way ahead today, thanks to the explosion of the internet and social media. I was also part of a phase where these investment options were just being introduced and not materially impacting people, but the scenario has evolved in the last 15 years.

How do we promote more awareness about money and investment among the young generation?

India’s population is among the youngest in the world, who want to do well in life. It is the responsibility of institutions to provide them with the right tools to facilitate that. From what I have observed, educational institutions do not train students on the aspect of money. Stakeholders need to take initiatives like workshops or seminars to teach children the basic traits of money management. People may be brilliant in their fields and earn a lot but at the end of the day, you need to have the mindset for managing your finances. A basic understanding of how to go about managing your finances is essential, even when you are hiring someone to do it on your behalf. 

A lot of people use investment apps. While DIY is good to an extent, it works only when you have a strong foundation. Else, there is a chance of making errors. Social media is leading to information overflow, but you have to be selective about actionable information. Here is where you need the required skills and expertise. So, the young generation needs to be taught the importance of saving money, why and how to invest in equity, and so on. They also need to be trained psychologically to enable informed decision-making rather than being impulsive.

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Senior Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.

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