Reader Story: I met an accident the day I got married and learned key money lessons

In this reader story, Suresh Murugan shares the lessons he learned after meeting an accident on the way back from his marriage

Image of a traffic cone signifying despair of the author after he met an accident on the day of his marriage and learned several money lessons

Published: December 16, 2019 at 12:05 pm

Last Updated on

In this edition of reader story, Suresh Murugan describes the money lessons learned after meeting with an accident on the way back from his marriage. “Reader Story” is a freefincal feature where readers share their financial journey. You can explore the full archive of past reader stories. Some select stories are also linked at the end of this article.

Editors note: The author is not a native English speaker. We request an appropriate consideration from readers. Suresh Murugan’s story is a shining example of how logic can be the best money management guide. Young readers can learn many lessons from this and can use this as a starting resource: Beginner’s Guide to Personal Finance: A free e-book by Vinay Rai

I married against my families wishes and started married life with a negative net worth  With little savings and a loan from my employer, I manage to complete my marriage with Rs. 30000/- with close friends in 2014.

When we were coming home after the marriage, we met an accident, but luckily we escaped with minor injuries, but our car did not have insurance and had to pay two lakh in damages!

That was too big for me. I got another loan from my employer, help from friends & withdrew from epf. That day I felt I was unworthy of living. I realised I was not single now. I have my wife as a dependent (my parents were financially independent).  My partner was only hope and reason for me to live. On that day, I had so many questions to answer.

1 What went wrong in that accident? Our car was not insured, and I blindly trusted my friend in this regard.

In life,  it is not important who’s mistake it is. A single mishap can change your life in a matter of seconds. Precaution is first. So insurance First.

2 If anything had happened to me in that accident, how can my wife manage? I could have died or worse I could be injured and unable to work

All my savings were spent in the marriage. All I had was about Rs. 5000 and that would only last a month.

  • I realised the need for term insurance. After research, I took a pure term for Rs. 1 crore.
  • I took an accident insurance policy worth 25 lakhs.

3  If we have required hospitalisation, how (who!) will pay the bill?

The little money I had was used for first aid. If I had required hospitalisation, I do not know how I could have paid for it.

4 My debt was around 2.5 lakhs? What is my plan to close it faster?

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My first priority was repaying all my relatives and friends as soon as possible as delays could damage my reputation.

My second priority was employer loan. Once they gave me a loan, their hold on me increased and took advantage and increased my workload.

The third priority was bankers and credit card.  The interest is high, but they are not human, so I will not lose relationships if this is delayed.

It took me three years to close out all debt as I had other expenses as well. I felt like I was in heaven when I became debt-free.

5 In future, how can I manage emergencies like this?

I have started to save for contingency fund with a target of 12 months expenses.

6 Once I became debt-free, I want a financially independent life. How can I attain that?

I searched for Retirement calculator and landed on Freefincal site. I started mutual fund savings before for the sake of investment and savings. Now I am savings based on goal-based investing with annual rebalancing.

I got health insurance for my parents. It was one of the most satisfying things I have done for them.

Thanks, pattu sir. It has been a wonderful learning experience since the last one year I have followed freefincal.

Five years ago, I had no idea where my life was heading. Now I have clarity. My wife and freefincal changed my life and financial perspective.

Read more such stories!

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Pattabiraman editor freefincalM. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the founder, managing editor and primary author of freefincal. He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. since Aug 2006. Connect with him via Twitter or Linkedin Pattabiraman has co-authored two print-books, You can be rich too with goal-based investing (CNBC TV18) and Gamechanger and seven other free e-books on various topics of money management. He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India” an organisation to promote unbiased, commission-free investment advice.
He conducts free money management sessions for corporates and associations on the basis of money management. Previous engagements include World Bank, RBI, BHEL, Asian Paints, Cognizant, Madras Atomic Power Station, Honeywell, Tamil Nadu Investors Association. For speaking engagements write to pattu [at] freefincal [dot] com

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5 Comments

  1. Congratulations on the grind so far. It’s heartening to see the fight being put in. Keep the savings rate high, have a long-term perspective, stay in equity.. you will be home sooner than you think.

  2. I think instead of buying term insurance, people should encourage their wives to get a job and earn their own livelihood so that their life doesn’t come crashing down if husband meets an untimely demise. The respect that a working woman gets is also an added perk that cannot be ignored.

    In this day and age, it’s pathetic that women still feel like sitting at home and doing nothing. Husband shouldn’t have to buy term insurance to pay for her living expenses for a lifetime. Labor participation rate of women in India is one of the lowest in the world and this needs to change.

  3. I agree with PriyaRanjan on one point- asking wife to work .
    We have focussed way too much on savings instead of maximizing income. Though Pattu sir had published a post on different side income possible, he could help by showing stories on how people are increasing their income through negotiation, side income etc.

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