“Soul” is a beautiful movie about Joe, a middle-aged jazz pianist living in New York. He teaches music in school, but his real dream is to play jazz professionally. But when he gets his big break, he falls into an open manhole and wakes up in the Great Before. He then tries to escape that place but not before helping someone find their passion and discovering what it means to have a soul.
Image Courtesy of Disney and Pixar – You can watch this movie on HotStar
Though an animated movie, it has many lessons for adults. Let us look at some of them relevant for NRIs –
1. “A backup plan never hurts” – Melba
Most of us have aspirations and dreams of a bright future and work hard towards achieving them. But sometimes things go amiss. The country you are working in might have political tensions, the business you are running might run into rough weather, or there can be unexpected illness or death. A financial backup plan can help manage the financial aspect of the hardship. Your financial plan should have an inbuilt contingency plan so that you can reduce the ill effects of untoward events on your finances. Some of the elements of a backup plan are –
Health Insurance – Cover your health both in your country of residence and in India if you travel to India frequently or are thinking of moving back to India for good
Life Insurance – The cover should be such that you and your loved ones are covered across countries
Banking – Ensure that nominees and beneficiaries are documented in all bank accounts
Will – Ensure that you create and register a will for all your assets and wealth in India and your country of residence. Check – WILL for NRIs
2. “You Can’t Eat Dreams For Breakfast, Joey.” – Libba
Some of us dream of a luxurious life, and others want to attain financial freedom by 40 and return to India. Some other NRIs may wish to leave their job to pursue their passion. Here is where Joey’s mother’s advice makes sense. We must act quickly and persistently on the steps to achieve our dreams.
NRIs who want to come back to India need to sort matters like housing arrangements and income sources if they are not in place. If you have decided to buy a house, it is not a very simple process and takes quite a bit of effort, time and of course, money. They have to decide and detail out a plan on how they want to earn a living in India and look for jobs or set up their profession or business in India.
NRIs planning to retire early have to start saving more and investing so that their financial needs will be taken care of. They have to invest in assets that generate higher returns to beat inflation and build their retirement kitty. At the same time, they need to invest such that they are able to generate passive income on a regular basis. But in the haste of reaching early retirement goals, reckless acts like day trading or investing in derivative products without enough knowledge and skills or bad real-estate investment can backfire.
3. “I’m Going To Live Every Minute Of It.” – Joe
Expat guilt is real. Many NRIs feel guilty about leaving loved ones behind, staying away from their home country, and sometimes even feeling bad that they are doing better than their friends back home. The snarky comments when you go back don’t help as well! Read – The Stigma of Being An NRI
It would do NRIs a whole world of good to be like the character 22, who enjoyed life as it came. She enjoyed simple pleasures, new experiences, and conversations. It is essential to earn money, but one cannot be constantly stressed about it. Rather than spending your life in misery, stay connected with your family and country.
If you are leading a comfortable life, find ways to maximize your happiness. Beyond a point, money is not going to make you feel good. Spend money wisely such that you get more meaning in your life. You can mentor someone, volunteer for causes close to your heart, or donate money.
4. “The Zone Is Enjoyable. But When That Joy Becomes An Obsession, One Becomes Disconnected From Life.” – Moonwind
The lost souls in the movie stayed in their zones so long that they stopped living their lives. Humans can find joy & bliss while lost in “the zone,” like when Joe gets so caught up in his jazz music. While this is an activity that brings him joy, the problem comes when this pursuit becomes all-consuming or an addiction.
On the other side, we all have a financial comfort zone – the range in which we’re comfortable with income, expenses and wealth. We have rigid beliefs about money. We like being there as it is less stressful and requires fewer decisions and actions from us. But this comfort zone might restrict our growth and may be hampering our finances too.
If you are in a job, try out a different role which may help you move up the career ladder.
If you feel you are stagnating in your job but are sticking it out as you do not want to rock the boat, it may lead to discontentment, which can have adverse effects on your personal and professional life. Take steps to rectify it either by moving to a different company or even country.
Are you someone who does not invest in market-linked products because you are scared of losing money? You can take the help of a qualified financial planner experienced in handling money matters for NRIs to get over the fear and gain the chance to maximize your income potential. Increasing your awareness and taking steps towards improving your finances will help you live a more calm and more intentional life.
When we are mindful of our money beliefs, money emotions, and money actions, we can make better money decisions and live a more wholesome life.
There are many more lessons in the movie Soul but I don’t want to be a movie Spoiler. Must watch and share your learning here 🙂