Hindus and Sikhs are the best at managing money

Came across this article published in the Guardian. Cannot find the link on the site. However, it makes interesting reading. I don’t agree with every thing. You make up your mind

Money management

Hindus and Sikhs are the best at managing money, an official study into Britain’s personal finances said this week. Puzzled researchers said it was ‘for reasons that are hard to explain.’ So we asked residents of one of Britain’s biggest Hindu communities for the answer

Tony LeveneSaturday April 1, 2006 The Guardian

It was billed as the biggest ever survey of consumer attitudes to money. But while the headlines generated by the publication earlier this week of the Financial services Authority’s massive research on “financial capability “focused on the problems of the 18-40 age group, the smaller print on the 6,000-person quiz generated a wealth of fascinating facts.

The results show that among Britain’s major faith groups, Hindus and Sikhs come out tops on “making ends meet” – they are better than others at managing their money.

Hinduism stresses that increasing the family’s wealth is a duty and a blessing from the goddess Lakshmi, the consort or wife of Lord Vishnu. She is the goddess whose four hands represent prosperity, purity, chastity and generosity.

As two of her four virtues are to do with money, every family tries to manage with care and to be more prosperous than the previous generation without compromising spiritual virtues.

But when Money Guardian talked to residents of Harrow, northwest London, home to the UK’s biggest Hindu community, we found more emphasis on the practical than the spiritual.

Rita Patel owns a newsagent’s shop, working long hours.

“It was a real struggle when I came here as a little girl over 30 years ago.

My family emphasised that you paid cash and did not borrow – except for the mortgage. I have to be a good money manager both for my business and for my two children,” she says.

“I’ve already planned for their higher education with a series of investments that will pay out lump sums when they reach 18 to 21. I’ve told them that I don’t like borrowing but if I have to – for a mortgage or the business – I pay it back as soon as possible even if it means going without other things.”

Geeta Nanda, a housing association director says:”I’ve inherited a different ethos to my contemporaries. My parents were immigrants who came here with very little but had a real will to succeed. And part of that was to ensure their children did better than they did. In turn, I want my children – both at primary school – to do even better. I’m putting money aside for their university education so they will be debt-free when they graduate and they won’t have to interrupt their studies with working.

“It’s all part of our ethos. We save before we buy – you can have a big car or flashy jewellery but you get them with cash and not through debt. You have what you can afford. I’m paying off the mortgage as fast as I can,” she says.

Pharmacist Prakesh Desai was also brought up to learn how to provide for tomorrow by saving today. But he fears for the next generation even though his 20-year-old son still has not succumbed to the “lure of credit cards.”

“My generation is better at managing their finances but I worry that the younger generation will be more influenced by the ‘spend now and don’t worry about tomorrow attitude’ that is so prevalent in general. Sadly, they think the state safety net will be there for them – and all too often it is so taking away from responsibility,” he says.

Convenience store owner Bharati Davda says: “I try to save for my old age and for rainy days. It’s a formal thinking process which I learned from my parents back in east Africa. I have three grown-up children and it was very important to get them on the right track. We saved for their university time but made them work in vacations – they had to learn life is not easy.”

Dentist Rajen Vadher believes the Hindu mentality is to be “savvy.” He says:

“I was brought up to save and not to waste. I have a credit card but always pay it off each month. I don’t have formal regular savings plans because dentists are self-employed and my income fluctuates. But I put away as much as I can.”

Dental nurse Alka Malkan says she “does not mix religion with my daily life.

But generally, you are brought up to work hard and not splash out.”

Sikhism, which also figures highly in the FSA financial capability study, is vastly different as a religion but has a similar ethos – living in a family environment and serving the community enables truth and God to be realised.

Areas where Sikhs predominate actually have low credit ratings – because so few residents have credit cards or credit records. Among other religions, Muslims are also better than average at managing money. Practising Christians are just above average – but there was no correlation between the Jewish faith and managing money.