In 2011, during my final year at university, I was constantly calculating my options. I was confused about what career am I going to pursue after I graduate. I was graduating with a Computer Science degree, but was also running some profitable online ventures before my graduation.
In hindsight, this was an overly simple decision. I should have simply went ahead with my online ventures. And of course I did. But back then, it was confusing because I was much younger, I was constantly getting wrong advice from all the places, my teachers were telling me to get a job, and my mother had mixed feelings. This happens to pretty much all the Pakistanis and the reason why I’m writing this is because it’s going to happen to many other students when they are faced with similar circumstances.
During this I received a very unconventional advice, that came from an unexpected place. I say that because it was given by one of my teachers, Sir Waqar, and it was very untraditional. I also think it was unexpected and untraditional because it was completely different from what other teachers said. I also liked it more because it was not a generalized advice.
What he said was something like this. He said if you’re able to save Rs 50,000 every month with your job, and you keep doing that month over month for 30 years, you’re going to save in the entirety of your career a total of Rs 18,000,000. This is Rs 1.8 crore or Rs 18 million or on today’s exchange rate $116,000. This figure was $216,000 when he first gave me this advice. It has come down to $116,000 in 8 years due to exchange rate. In another 10 years, it may be $70,000. He added, if you like this number for your retirement and can save Rs 50,000 every month from salary, go ahead and get a job and if not then do what you love to do.
I love it how he kept it real simple. He didn’t add jargons like inflation and other things, because clearly no one at that age has the ability to understand finance like that. He did not give me an absolute advice where I was told what to do. He just explained my options to me with a simple numerical figure.
I’ve kept this advice close to my heart for over 8 years. I have shared it with every student I meet who asks me this question and I hope others find value in it the way I did.