If you were rich, would you want to give your kids everything you never had?
Or would you want to give them perspective?
Savji Dholakia wanted to give his son both.
So he sent him away with no phone, no connections and no money to find work for himself — and learn what it’s like to be poor.
How This Really Rich Guy Taught His Son About Money
Savji owns a diamond business in India that’s worth 6,000 crore rupees, or approximately US$890 million.
“I gave him three conditions: I told my son that he needs to work to earn his money and he couldn’t work at a place for more than a week; that he can’t use his father’s identity nor use the mobile phone nor Rs 7,000 taken from home for a month,” he told the Times of India (TOI).
Apparently, this is a tradition in their extended family. Twelve years ago, they had an expensive dinner in London, where no one looked at the prices before they ordered.
The bill was an “eye-opener,” Dravya told The New Indian Express.
So the family decided “every male member should undertake one month of hard life to learn the value of money.” (Yes, only males. Despite some recent gains, India is still a patriarchal society.)
Three of his cousins already did it, and Dravya was next in line.
He took the challenge in stride, deciding to travel from his hometown of Surat to the city of Kochi, where he didn’t know anyone — and didn’t even speak the language.
In case you have no idea where those two locations are (I sure didn’t), here’s a map. As you can see, Kochi is pretty much on the other side of India from Surat.
With nothing more than some clothes and 7,000 rupees (~US$100) for emergencies only, Dravya set off for a month.
“For five days, I had no job or proper place to stay. I was frustrated as I was rejected at 60 places, as no one knew me here. I understood what is rejection and the value of a job in these few days,” he told the TOI.
Eventually, he found work at a bakery, and over the next month, worked at a call center, shoe shop and McDonald’s before he finally returned home.
Sure, a month isn’t a long time — but compared to the way many really rich people raise their children, I’d call this a breath of fresh air. And a valuable way for Dravya to get perspective.
“I wanted him to understand life and how the poor struggle to get a job and money. No university can teach you these life skills,” Savji told the TOI.
If you’re looking for advice on how to raise money-smart kids, these posts should help:
Your Turn: If you were rich, would you try to do something similar?
Susan Shain, senior writer for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at susanshain.com, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.