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Young and Independent, a poet's take on money

“I spend frugally and I save a lot, so I don’t have any real problems as such,” says Shamir Reuben
By OLM Desk | March 22, 2017

Money matters. Or does it really? Outlook Money brings to you this series through which we explored the under 35's take on money matters. Every generation has its share of distinct events that later gets recounted. Those from the early 1990s India had consumer durables as their object of desire. By the end of that decade and turn of the millennium, fancy cars had taken that place. Gen Z has grown up in a time of rapid change, giving them a set of priorities and expectations sharply different from previous generations. Demographically speaking, those under 25 comprise 50 million of India’s population. This is more than that of the total population of Brazil, Russia, Germany and Canada combined. Being personal finance specialists, it was only natural that we at Outlook Money got curious to investigate what Gen Z thinks about money. 

When passion pays

If there is one name that resonates in the scene of slam poetry in India, it is that of Shamir Reuben. He studied journalism for 5 years and had a heavy inclination towards sports. When in college he left a football match midway to attend a workshop held by actor/anchor Roshan Abbas. Shamir, always the writer, read out his works to Abbas. Abbas was so impressed by Rueben’s work that he asked him to perform at the next show. Days later, Shamir did his magic on stage and the rest is history.

Shamir claims to have a pretty great relationship with money. “I spend frugally and I save a lot, so I don’t have any real problems as such.” When the demonetisation happened, he had 10 hundred rupee notes in his wallet and it lasted him for good 3 weeks.

“I’d say I only spend 15-20 per cent of my monthly income." He considers himself lucky to have his home in Mumbai. He admits to being wary of where he puts his money, so his father takes the calls when it comes to major financial decisions. He has made investments in mutual funds and fixed deposits. And he thanks his Jewish genes for ensuring that he plays things safe. The most he spends on is eating out and watching sports. When he’s in the city he is usually performing or watching events. He also likes taking his close set of friends out from time to time. And he’s thankful that he has no interests that are insanely expensive.

When talking about his financial goals, he said that he has a bucket list and he needs to load his pocket heavily before venturing to those. “I want to tour the world too, but I really want to earn the right to do that, hopefully through my work. I have already earned an all-expenses paid trip to Japan.” He is keen on converting his hard work to checking off things he wants to do than cash out on all of it. As an earning professional who wants to get better with every performance, Shamir thinks it’s an ambitious but a fair thing to say.

Shamir’s family consists of his dad and younger sister. He does not have any dependents as of now as his dad earns too. However, he wants to save up and contribute towards his sister’s education abroad. As a family, they have spent frugally and Shamir believes that they can afford to indulge a bit now. “However, old habits die hard,” he jokes. He believes that he will be a saver all his life, even if he begins to earn exuberantly.

Shamir admits that even though he is in the top league, he is clueless about how his future is going to be. “I’ve been very lucky to be in the position I am in, but I have no idea how the tide will turn or if it will at all. As an artist, you’re only relevant if you can perform things that matter.”

When asked whether he has a Plan-B career option considering how flaky the entertainment industry is, he says “I don’t keep a Plan B. I don’t want to think about doing anything else because that would mean giving myself a safety net and I don’t want that. I want to tell myself this is the only thing I can and want to do. I have worked all my life for this dream, what is the point if I look elsewhere when I have it firmly in my grasp?”

Today, Shamir is the head of content at Kommune India, a performance arts forum that showcases the best of Spoken Word in the country, specialising in Storytelling and Poetry. His performances have also been featured on Amazon Prime’s hit series, ‘The storytellers in the living room.’





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