(This column was first published on Value Research Online.)

The other day, my mom told my dad to not be “childish”. To be fair to her, she said it in jest and to be fairer, he was behaving like a child. He wanted to remodel our living room, and kept insisting that the design he had in mind was the best, even though the rest of his family didn’t agree with him. But the thing was that he knew exactly what he wanted, just like a child does. This entire episode made me realise that we could do very well with our finances if we were childish with them. Let’s see how…

Children know exactly what they want

Be it the toy car in red or the chocolate ice cream without the chips in it, a child knows just what he or she wants and will rarely settle for anything else. This is something that everyone must learn to do with your finances. The first step towards achieving your financial goals is knowing and understanding which financial instrument is best suited to helping you reach them. Equity funds might be the finest investment choice, but not when you’re investment goal is just a couple of years away. Similarly, something like a ULIP won’t give you adequate insurance or make a good investment.

Children are honest

Children are brutally honest. They don’t mince words and they’ll let you know exactly how they feel about something. Honesty is a virtue, one that we need to have when dealing with your finances. Whether you’re getting an insurance policy or setting targets for your investments, it’s best to be honest with an intermediary as well as yourself. Don’t hide anything from your insurance agent and don’t devise objectives that you yourself know can’t get fulfilled.

Children ask a lot of questions

Where does the blue sky go at night? Why can’t we have pizza every day? If an orange is orange-coloured, why is an apple not apple-coloured? Some of their questions are funny, some are deep and some flummox even us adults. But that doesn’t stop children from asking them. And it is something we should be doing as well. Ask your fund distributor or insurance agent or bank representative as many questions as you can. It is important for you to know why they’re recommending a particular product to you, since it is your money on the line, after all. You’ve to make sure the financial decision will be in your best interests, not pushed out of their vested interests. The more you know, the better your money is put to use.

So, be childish with knowing what you want to make sure your money is put at the best use for you. Be childish with having an honest approach. And be childish with not getting embarrassed about asking questions.