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Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management CEO Sundeep Sikka with his daughter Saima. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint
Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management CEO Sundeep Sikka with his daughter Saima. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint

‘I have to demonstrate what I say, saying is not enough’

Reliance Nippon CEO Sundeep Sikka on the financial advice he has given to his daughter, Saima, who will pursue an undergraduate course

Mumbai: This Father’s Day, Sundeep Sikka, executive director and chief executive officer of the Rs4 trillion-Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management Ltd, speaks of the money lessons he has given his daughter, Saima, who will pursue an under-graduation course.

How do you bring up a child in an environment of plenty rather than scarcity?

Sundeep Sikka: What these kids take for granted was a luxury for us. I tell my daughter that what we see may or may not be around since this wealth is not inherited but built. You are going to be on your own and have to survive on your own steam.

What’s the money mantra you have given her?

Sundeep: I speak about compounding. Both from the point of view of price rise and investments. You have to keep working not just harder, but smarter. It is not about the number of hours you put in, but what you put in those hours. You have to save for the future. I’ve tried to inculcate the habit of saving in her by getting her to find the cheapest ticket or the best deal. For example, she was visiting her grandparents and she was on a 5:30am flight as it was cheaper than a later, more comfortable flight. Also, I have to demonstrate what I say, because saying is not enough. She has to see that attitude around her in the house too.

As a father how do you deal with peer pressure?

Sundeep: This is a constant struggle. This is really a big parenting issue. I tell her that each person has his own priorities. If their’s is spending big, it is for them to do. We don’t need to follow. It is really not about how expensive (a thing is), but about how good it is. Go for value in things and values in life.

What is a future father’s day gift you would like from her?

Sundeep: That she is successful and remains grounded.

When your father is a finance expert, he will understandably pass on a few lessons. Saima Sikka, 17, has learnt a few important lessons from her father.

How do the money mantras work out in the real life?

Saima: I get an allowance and have to be within that. I have learnt to manage because of these early lessons. These will help me when I live on my own.

Any theory that came true?

Saima: He had invested in equity mutual funds at the time of my birth. I saw the magic of compounding when I looked at what it has become now; far superior to bank fixed deposits.

Did your dad’s money messaging help you in any way?

Saima: To deal with peer pressure better. I learnt that I should not follow the herd and think about what works for me. I have a good relationship with my parents, so I can discuss with them when I felt susceptible to this pressure.

What gift in the future would you like to give your dad for Father’s Day?

Saima: I think my parents will be happy if I work my way up to a great career. My being happy is the greatest gift I can give them.

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