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‘Rupee Tales’: Start Them Young

A set of five books narrates stories for children on how to save and why it is important to pay taxes

You would think that tax, insurance and banking are best left to fund managers and chartered accountants, correct? Not really. Zerodha, a financial services firm based in Bangalore, has published ‘Rupee Tales' an attempt to educate kids about these topics.

Rupee Tales, written by Zerodha’s Karthik Rangappa and illustrated by Tarun Andrews (co-founder The Sparks Farm), is a set of five story books on the basics of finance. Thirty-six-year-old Rangappa, VP, education and research services at Zerodha, explains how the idea of writing these books occurred to him. “My 7-year-old daughter kept asking me where I work and what I do. I realised it was not easy to explain what the stock market is or, for that matter, basic finance to kids."

In December 2015, while casually chatting about the subject at work, Rangappa and his team realised that there was hardly any material available to familiarise kids with basic finance. "Being India’s leading financial services firm, we somehow felt it was our responsibility to fill this gap, and hence ‘Rupee Tales’ was born," says Rangappa.

Each of the five stories in the book revolves around one specific concept in finance – savings, banking and inflation, taxes, insurance and stock market. For instance, in 'Mani's Money', Mani and Dadi discuss how a bank operates and how money grows if one puts money in a bank account. In 'The Cake Shop', a mother and her young son have a conversation about how the stock market works. 'Anu Learns To Save' is a story about two best friends who learn about the importance of savings. In 'Vishrambu's Bus Journey', the naughty Vishrambu learns why it is important to pay taxes.

Thirty-seven-year-old Nithin Kamath, CEO, Zerodha, says, "I always wondered; what if we could reverse time and start when we were younger – much younger? If only we had the right initiation into the world of finance at an early age, it could probably have added so much to our abilities today." ‘Rupee Tales’ it seems is the beginning of this quest according to Kamath.

But will a child learn only through books? “Sure, books on finance will add value. But money habits need to be activity oriented. Books alone will not solve the problem,” says Gaurav Mashruwala, noted financial planner who has also introduced a curriculum on finance meant for kids. “By giving a child money to buy something, we are teaching the power of that material to purchase things. The power of money. Then, we also have to tell them how to create that power. A child should be at equal ease whether entering a bank or a mall.” Mashruwala also explains that no matter what values you try to inculcate in kids, the best way is to lead by example.

Narrated with an engaging story line and in a lively and conversational manner, ‘Rupee Tales’ offers simple ways to help children comprehend different facets of finance. The set of books is a must have collection for school libraries and parents of school-going children could invest in these. These stories are also sure to strike a chord among people in rural India in a post-demonetised world.



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