Did you know that the first recorded evidence of “New Year” celebrations was more than 4,000 years ago
in the ancient Babylonian civilisation? These celebrations were usually also accompanied with promises made to the Gods.
Interestingly, the Babylonians actually celebrated this in mid-March when new crops were planted (similar to how it’s still done in many regions/cultures of India, usually in April).
When Julius Caesar became Emperor of the Roman Empire, he established January as the official start of the new year. Named after Janus, the two-faced God, it symbolically looked backwards at the previous year & simultaneously also into the future.
Like the ancient Babylonians, New Years was an important event for the Romans too, accompanied by rituals & promises to the Gods. And these promises can be equated to the modern day New Year resolutions that we are now so familiar with.
So it seems that New Years isn’t anything new for us humans. And since ancient times, new years has also come with a sense of new beginning.
In the modern times, resolutions for this new beginning have ranged from lifestyle change to defined goals & plans for the given new year. A key characteristic of resolutions today is that they focus on self-improvement, rather than appealing or appeasing to some God.
If I could request you to consider one resolution, it will be to save more. In my 10+ years in finance and investments, the one thing I’ve learned is that there is no substitution for saving money.
Investing - whether it is for tax-saving purposes or generally - invariably follows saving. Without savings, what will you invest?
But saving money isn’t really a fancy goal - nor is it that easy to follow, tbh. After all, and especially in our world today, there are so many avenues and reasons to spend.
Which is why it’s all the more important that we cultivate a habit to save. It’s not easy to delay gratification - which is essentially what saving is - but the importance of it is undoubted in my opinion.
There is a difference between earning more and saving more. No matter how much one earns, if they aren’t able to save (and in turn grow) that wealth, then the earnings don’t really matter as much ultimately.
So this new year, please consider saving more. It has helped me greatly, and I’m very confident that it will help you too.
Happy new year, and happy saving & investing!
-Vikas Bardia, CFA