A Teacher, a Giver and a Money Savvy Mom

How Fiona Dias Miranda got her teenagers into act of giving

In my search for the next money savvy mom, I picked up my rolodex from my days of active journalism. Amongst people I had interviewed for business stories, was Luis Miranda, who had set up IDFC Private Equity Fund in 2002 and had stepped down as CEO in 2010. So he must be on to some big role, or a big start up, I assumed. To my surprise, he had waded into the waters of philanthropy, using his deal making skills to help non government organizations. To take such a big decision, I thought, there must be a family support or some kind of involvement. As I spoke to him, I knew the search for my next money savvy mom had come to an end.

Behind every successful man..

Enter, Fiona Dias Miranda, Luis’s wife is a microbiologist by profession, a teacher, opera singer and a social worker by choice and a money savvy mom by default!

Mihika, 18 and Khashiff, 16, have got best of everything-education in international schools, fancy holidays, and facilities just like every parent inside us want for our kids. But in doing so, Fiona and Luis Miranda also ensured that their kids get to know and feel the other side of life too. So if their 13th birthdays were celebrated backpacking through Italy or climbing up Mt Kilimanjaro, a summer holiday was spent in remote villages of Ladakh, teaching science concepts such as air pressure at high altitudes or workings of a water hand pump and English stories like Ammu’s New Baby to children even though they had to sleep in tents, use dry toilets and eat mid day meals with the kids, without any fuss.

I know it sounds far-fetched considering how our teenagers are growing up today. More often than not, we have to give into their demands to keep them happy. So how did this mother ensure that her kids appreciated the best and the basic lifestyle and understood the value of money at the same time?

It didn’t happen overnight, says Fiona. “We have traveled the world with them and spent money wherever necessary. But the underlying message has always been that money isn’t the end of everything” she adds. For instance when Mihika turned 13, she got to backpack through Italy with her mom but she had to plan the whole itinerary within the budget given by mom. Or if they went on a Caravan holiday in America, the kids decided the menu for the days, were in charge of cooking and so on. But demands such as buying a mobile phone in grade 8 just because friends had it weren’t really entertained in their house. She would often say-“Look we can afford to buy it for you. But we don’t think you really need it.”

However when it came to devoting their time to the less privileged of our society, Fiona didn’t have to sit and give them any lessons. Their inclination came from the dinner table conversations!

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