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Every week, we have someone tell us their story about money. This week, writer and journalist Simran Sethi talks about the money advice she ignored and the money advice she kept.
Sethi is of Indian descent, was born in Germany, and immigrated to the United States, as a young child.
“So my upbringing was one that made for a really rich experience,” Sethi says. “I was always acutely aware from a very young age of the value of money,” because of what her parents taught her.
“The route for my father out of poverty was education,” she says. “From the age of 5, my father was already talking about Ivy League schools and he was already laying out professions for me.”
According to Sethi, her choices were: Doctor, lawyer, engineer, teacher or “somebody involved in religion.”
“But what I loved in high school was working in a record store,” says Sethi.
And she got a break.
“When I was in my first year of college I was offered an internship at MTV News. They were starting a documentary division.”
Sethi says her father couldn’t make sense of it. She had, until that point, been following his advice.
“All of a sudden I’m working at MTV,” says Sethi.
Sethi says her father wasn’t sure what to think, but that he had a flash of pride the first time he saw her name in the credits of a documentary. She then went on to a career as a journalist and writer.
“I didn’t really fit the career mold that my father created for myself, but I imbue and I live out all the values that he wanted me to manifest in my career,” says Sethi. “Every single one of those lessons — to save money, to work hard, to plan for the the future — have stayed with me now.”
Simran Sethi is working on a book about the loss of biodiversity in food. She’s also an associate at the University of Melbourne’s Sustainable Society Institute in Australia.
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