As lawyers, we’re all about our clients and rarely about ourselves. Part of the reason why I decided to go in-house was because I’d have fewer clients to worry about. The other reason had to do with social security and benefits.
At a law firm, you’re a consultant and not an employee. Tax rates are lower but there are no statutory deposits like Employees’ Provident Fund or Employees’ State Insurance for consultants. More money, but less perquisites - especially the forced savings.
It’s a heady feeling for young corporate lawyers to start with hefty pay packages - one that a professional from another field, would take a few years to reach, and one that your parents may have only just started to make.
When every hour is billed to the client, we forget to strike a work-life balance. Why live a life that is non-billable? And so we work the crazy hours, which takes a toll on our health. We ignore our health because, at the end of the day, we can afford high-quality health care.
We have money left over at the end of the month and are able to spend on things we don’t really need, like a full work wardrobe from M&S or an expensive smartphone or maybe a Prada bag. Stuff that instantly gratifies and compensates for the life we don't have.
And yet, we continue to believe that we’ll keep earning more money, that we won’t ever have to retire, and that we have so much money left over at the end of the month which translates to automatic savings.
I chose not to live the law firm life because, at that pace, I’d be burnt out by 30. Law firms don’t have an official sabbatical program. I wouldn’t have any social security. I wouldn’t be investing any money. I would be living in the present with no concern or thought as to what my life would be like at 60 (assuming I even made it there).
What’s the point of savings if it only just sits in a bank account? The only person reaping the benefits of your money is your bank. What about you? Who is taking care of your financial future?
As children, our parents took care of us. Our colleges acted in loco parentis for us. But as earning adults, we need to figure out our finances. The scary thing is that nobody teaches you this in school or college.
Learning about investing while also working 18-hour days is impossible.
The singular feeling about investing that stands out for me is the feeling of independence. When Scripbox debits my bank account, I know that it’s the only money I’m not spending. That even though it’s been debited, it’s still mine. And when I meet it again, it will have grown or changed enough to want to help me out. My Prada bag is already squishy. My M&S wardrobe has already been upgraded a few times. Not one thing I bought with my first salary survives.
I wish I’d bought a few mutual fund units with that money.
1. Why lawyers should start investing early. If you start at a high package, you actually get a headstart on investing.
2. Don’t wait for portfolio managers to come to your rescue, when you have made too much money for your own good. Instead, start small with services such as Scripbox and reap benefits of your hard earned money, sooner than you would have anticipated.