Zerodha, India’s leading technology driven online discount brokerage firm launched a special initiative for children – a set of five story books called ‘Rupee Tales’ which attempts to familiarise children above 7 years of age to basic financial concepts. The book authored by Karthik Rangappa, has story telling with vibrant illustrations as a medium to convey these concepts
Danuska Da Gama I NT KURIOCITY
Zerodha is the first broker in the country to take a unique step of nurturing young minds by launching a special initiative for children, a set of five story books called ‘Rupee Tales’ which attempts to familiarise children above 7 years of age with basic financial concepts. It lays a foundation of understanding finance and its real life application.
Author and vice president, Research and Educational Services, Karthik Rangappa says the idea to write Rupee Tales came about because of his 7-year-old daughter Meera kept asking him where he works and what he does. “I realised it was not easy to explain what the stock market is or, for that matter, basic finance to kids. While casually chatting about this at work, we realised there was no 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,” he says.
Rupee Tales offers easy ways to help educate children and get a better understanding of the different financial facets. Rangappa says: “Rupee Tales will be very close to my heart and perhaps for everyone at Zerodha.”
- Why do you think children need to learn about finance or become financially literate early?
Financial literacy is as important as basic science or maths. Finance is a life skill. However, it is unfortunate that this fact is not being recognised by parents in India. This explains the dearth of good quality material to familiarise children with financial concepts. Rupee Tales attempts to bridge this gap.
- How are your books going to help children?
Wouldn’t you like it if children understood it is important to save some money for a rainy day? Or if a child knew that he/she needs to take care of the public park because these facilities are essentially built using the tax payer’s money and it belongs to everyone? Or if a child knows that it is a very smart move to get insurance?
This is exactly what Zerodha’s Rupee Tales attempts to do. These books do not drill down heavy duty financial concepts on children. The idea here is to just familiarise them with basic concepts. We have used story telling as a medium, with illustrations to convey these concepts.
- How will it boost cashless and paperless India which is what is being yearned for?
We have selected five themes critical for the grand financial inclusion plan India is talking about. These topics are: savings, banking and inflation, taxes, insurance and stock markets.
At a first glance, it may seem like a herculean task to explain these topics to kids, but this is exactly what Rupee Tales is solving. We believe a child with a good foundation in finance will grow up to be a financially prudent citizen.
- Why not have something like this for illiterate adults?
Absolutely. Zerodha feels responsible towards spreading financial literacy across all levels. For this reasons, we have put up nearly ten books, all written in-house, on various financial topics available online and is free for all. These books are very well structured and practical. Those interested can visit http://zerodha.com/varsity/ and start reading up.
- What was the experience like working on the book?
They say breaking down complex subjects into simple sentences in order to explain the concept to others is in fact the most complex thing to do. I can certainly vouch for this, especially after working on Rupee Tales. Initially when we decided to bring out Rupee Tales, I had estimated about two months to complete this task; clearly this was a gross underestimation of efforts involved. It took us one year and multiple iterations to bring out these books. Luckily, I had the opportunity to work with two creative minds – Gladvin Lawrence, who helped with layout design, edits and project coordination, and Tarun Andrews who gave life to Rupee Tales through illustrations.
- How easy or difficult was it to author a book on finance that should be understood by children?
I have no prior experience authoring books. Perhaps, this explains why I took one year to write these five simple stories. No doubt it was a gruelling task, but the fact that Zerodha would plug a huge gap in financial literacy kept me motivated to keep going. Finally, I’m happy with what we have achieved as a team with Rupee Tales.