Financial Life of a cab driver & life of Mumbai

POSTED BY Jagoinvestor ON November 4, 2015 COMMENTS (34)

I recently visited Mumbai for some work and it was 7:15 pm in the evening. When I came out of a building in Andheri East, Mumbai.

I had booked a cab from Pune to Mumbai and I was now ready to be back. I called up the cab driver and here is the conversation…

ME – “Bhaiya, kidhar hain aap?”

Driver – “Bas sir, Yahi hun 200-meter piche, 20 min me aa jaunga, aap gate ke pass hi rahiye”

ME – “Main aa jata hun paidal chal kar, Aap bataiye kidhar hai exactly”

Driver – “Arre nahi sir, aap wahin rukiye jidhar hai, itni bhid me Mujhe nahi khoj payenge”

Finally, after a long 20-30 min, I saw a car near me, honking like hell and flashing lights on me. It was my cab driver and he was indicating – “Get inside the car asap”

Finally, I was inside the cab and we were going back to Pune. It took us another 20 min to just get out of the lane. It was really frustrating to just see yourself in the middle of traffic and move nowhere.

The first half of the total time took us to come out of Mumbai and the second half took us to reach Pune. Finally, I reached Pune at 11:30 in night.

Story of the Cab Driver and his Financial life

In this article, I just want to share with you a conversation between myself and a cab driver I met recently. I asked him some questions about his life, a bit about his financial life and his work schedule. I know, it’s not directly related to personal finance, but I think, it’s a good idea to share it with you all as it has some good things to know about.

Tax driver

(The photo above is not the real cab driver in question)

The moment we were out of the lane we were stuck in at Andheri, the driver looked really irritated by the sheer amount of traffic. I asked him – “Bhaiya, Mumbai ki life Kaisi Lagti hai aapko?”

And his answer stunned me – “70 saal jeene waala insaan 50 ke khatam ho jayega, yahi hai Mumbai ki life”

While I knew he was a bit tired and his frustration was making him speak these words, there was surely some element of truth in his words. The way of life, the speed, the running around for everything. It’s really mind-boggling in Mumbai.

Anyways, One my way back to Pune, I had conversations with Driver and here are few things I came to know.

1. He drives 400 km EVERYDAY

Did I ask him if travels to Mumbai often? He said every day. YES – Everyday .. 30 days in a month… May be once in a while there is no pick or drop but in general every day. He said that he does close to 10,000-12,000 KM every month. His legs and Back pains a lot and sometimes it’s so bad, he can’t explain it. We reached Pune around 11:30 pm at night and he had to get back at 4 am again to take someone to Mumbai airport.

2. No family life

I think we felt by good talking to me, and he kept on going.

“Family life nahi hai Kuch Bhi Sir .. Ghar Jata hun, khana khata hun aur sidhe so jata hun”. He told how his life is tough and there is no energy left once he is back home. He has no motivation to talk to his kids, spouse or enjoy with them.

Even when he has to drop or pick someone, he has nothing to do and he just sits inside the car and it’s really tough to do that, day after day, month after month and year after year … It’s the height of boredom”

He was a calm person, but he said that when he is stuck in jams atleast he feels he want to throw away the car like HULK. It was a calm frustration coming out of him.

3. He had Life + Health insurance

I realized that his job is very risky. He has to drive each day and he is prone to accidents. His legs are so important for his job and to earn the money. I thought I will explain to him why he should think of covering these risks and I asked him – “Do have Insurance?”

  • “Yes Sir, I have life insurance and health insurance both from ICICI Lombard”

I was happy and a bit shocked to hear that because I didn’t expect him to have that. He told me that one of his agent friends had explained to him about these products and how it might help him. I congratulated him on that point and said that it’s a great thing that at least he has something. Thank god he did wait to find the “best product”

4. He saved Rs 4,000 per month in Recurring deposit

Though his earnings were limited and he was on a tight budget, he told that he managed to save Rs 4,000 per month. He gave it to his wife every month which is invested in Recurring deposit. I thought it was a great thing and didn’t say anything like “why don’t you invest in equity?”. I think it would have confused him a lot and it was not the right time for all that Gyan. He was doing well.

What do you learn from this?

Let me know what you feel after reading the story of this cab driver? I think that the cab driver did a few things correctly which even many with a lot of privilege fail to do. Like if you see this cab driver, he has a habit of saving some part of his income even though he does not earn as we all do. He had life insurance and health insurance which is really commendable. I know he does not represent an average cab driver from that angle, but still.

Please share your thoughts

34 replies on this article “Financial Life of a cab driver & life of Mumbai”

  1. karan says:

    nice one, looking for more taxi drivers stories, (black and yellow taxi drivers) , how their life effect after uber and meru came to india ….

    1. Thanks for your comment karan

  2. Saranya says:

    It was so good that you striked up a conversation with the driver and appreciated what he is doing now in his financial life rather than advising about other better saving options. I am saying this because i personally expect some appreciation when i say about my savings to my dad/relative/friend rather than hearing an ‘Why not this!’ advice. 🙂 I, though look for better savings option myself, am a bit allergic to too many financial advises all at once.. Its too threatening for me .. ( But next time when you meet the driver do help him with better financial planning 🙂 )
    And by the way, kudos to the driver, who in his busy schedule without much knowledge had taken life and health insurance. That’s a good inspiration for many of us who though are aware of things, just postpone everything for no reason.

  3. GKDixit says:

    Its nice to see that you have discussed so many things with driver,he must be feeling great while giving details of his saving and insurance etc. Pls let me know what kind of advise you would have given to him with monthly saving of Rs. 4000/-

    1. The first step is to be able to save the money, then to invest it, then to invest it for a better return.

      So if you are atleast investing it in FD, great ! ..

      But then move to the next step and invest in a mutual funds through SIP !


  4. Rajesh says:

    This just shows that you care Manish. This is what will encourage human to be human & spread love & care. In this staggering world one need to spread a message that your’e not alone & keep going, which you did indeed.


    1. Thanks for your comment Rajesh

  5. Mk says:

    Good Story. Very Nice Post

    1. Glad to know that Mk ..

  6. Nadeem says:

    Dear Manish

    First it was very commendable of you to have a rather intimate conversation with a person whose life intersected with yours for a very short time. I live in Mumbai, and I feel that the urban, large metro life has made most of us into robots! The city is so crowded but we hardly ever connect with anybody.

    Secondly, the person was so mature, he had his frustration and limited resources, monotonous daily mind-numbing routine, but he understood his responsibilities and was making the best of the situation. I personally find it amazing that how the city bus drivers , taxi drivers, truck drivers, etc, keep their cool and manage their driving jobs, while I get constantly frustrated on the road when I drive with the excessive honking, pollution, lane cutting and all the general boorish behaviour that we as the rather privileged owners of cars do when we are behind the wheel!

    Thirdly, he had his financial priorities right, but I still feel that you as an financial expert should have given him some guidance on investment options with better returns, besides listening patiently to him pouring out his thoughts. Your teaching would have impacted his life for the long-term, like ours does when we read your writings.

    Maybe next time?

    I really like your conversational style of writing. More power to you.
    Continue to DO GOOD.


    1. Hi Nadeem

      Thanks for sharing your views on this . I didnt share or teach him about the other investment options, because that was not the environment at that time. It was a space where I was a listener and more important thing for me was to acknowledge him and appreciate him on what he is doing. I am going on another trip soon with him and will educate him more on the other investment options later 🙂


      1. Nadeem says:


        Start where you are.
        Use what you have.
        Do what you can.
        ~ Arthur Ashe

      2. Anmol says:

        You mentioned about going to Pune. Do you work from Pune? Do you work remotely or you have office set up in the city

        1. Hi Anmol

          I work from Pune, but we have office setup from Ahmedabad


  7. avatar says:

    Hi Manish…

    Your communication skill is good, while reading articles, it looks like as if same things are happening with me. Good understanding …keep it up.

    With care,

    1. Glad to know that avatar ..

  8. Umang says:

    Mumbai life is good at the top and bottom level, those in the middle like IT people from other states and those who live in jungles have no life. For them it would be better if they move to other cities. Rich like corporate honchos and TV/Film stars earns a hell lot and they have no other city to go (except regional movie industry). The poor get a higher pay as compared to other metros ask any driver or bai. The middle guy the salary differntial (if its there) is not that huge to offsett the tough and expensive life of Mumbai.

    But Mumbai is a great city no doubt, and those who do not live here wont be able to understand that….

    1. Hi Umang

      Thanks for sharing your views . I think middle class forms a big part of the city of Mumbai . Yes there are struggles , but its there in all cities !

  9. Dileep says:

    Hi Manish

    Good story. I too do talk to cab drivers, there are many drivers who have planned their financial lives very well. I knew many who have invested in real estate but don`t have life/health insurance.They think real estate is the ultimate investment than their health. Many cab drivers,who`s children are pursuing engineering courses,one cab driver was proud that his son works for infosys.

    Also, pretty lot drivers, who didn`t plan during their initial days, for them i advice to enroll in the PM Govt pension schemes(Article Which you shared earlier)so that at least their grey days would be better.

    Wishing you all the very best and success.

    1. Great to know that Dileep .. lots of things to learn from these cab drivers 🙂

  10. Rajesh says:

    We have commend the guts of this guy for driving more than 10000+ kms every month, and have to take lessons.. even being from the humble background its good that he manage to save 4000 every month and the best part is he have both life and health insurance.. the only sorrow is he missing his family life..

    but yeah as he said yeh Mumbai ki life hai boss..

    1. Glad to know that Rajesh ..

  11. Gautam says:

    First of all Manish, kudos to you. I have watched the growth of JagoInvestor since your beginning and you have done well.

    And I wasn’t surprised with this article. I started reading it because I was thinking of a young colleague who had recently told me that she ran through her salary by the 25th of the month and had no savings after 13 years of experience, with a year long stint in the US.

    I am going to share this with her 🙂 He manages to save 4000 every month?

    Secondly, not everyone speaks with their cab drivers, office boys, servants. I remember an old house keeping man in our floor when I first joined my current company. He always looked frightened and would always look away when I saw him after mumbling a good morning. I just smiled at him and asked “Kaisai Hai app” for a week every morning and then I realized that he waits for me (Head of Dept) to arrive and would smile back at me. That day was special. 🙂

    Then it is about finance and we are very poorly informed about the basics of it. Our parents for some reason do not talk about money. I am trying to do that with my children. They have their own bank accounts and debit cards which they use. And I was very surprised recently when my 11 year old son and I were at a mall food court trying to decide what to eat and he, after having explored all the options came and told me “Dad, let’s have parathas. They are yummy and the cheapest here”! I don’t know whether to cry or laugh.

    You are doing a great job. Power to you man!

    1. Gautam says:

      But I insisted that we have his favorite burger at MacDonald which I knew he wanted ?

      Didn’t set a good financial example today!

      1. Glad to know that Gautam ..

    2. Thanks for sharing that experience with all of us 🙂 .. There is so much to learn from others in our life 🙂

  12. JP says:

    Thank you Manish for covering this. Usually all top-notch guys won’t be having time to cover the tough lives of taxi drivers.

    My view is, Bit upset by his life.. What is the purpose of work if life is left to just sleep?

    Instead of financial guidance, he should be given Career Guidance.
    – How to find more profitable cities?
    – Other trends in taxis – uber etc.

    Or, this should be a govt-issue to regularize taxi-driver working hours, min-pay etc.
    – Choose a responsible government.

    1. Hi JP

      yes, his life is tough . BUt I think when we look at it , it looks more tougher .. Overtime they will do some changes and come out well .. We never know

  13. Anant Aharma says:

    Happiness lies in contentment. Not in money. If money directly proportional to happiness all the richies would be the happiest persons. But actually it is opposite. Every day many army jawans with their wife on their bicycle carrier and child on front rod cross my house. They look so happy. They have limited resources but they have limited needs too. They find happiness in family and friends. Not in material things.

    1. Hi Anant Aharma

      Thanks for your sharing your valuable comment on this topic. Please keep sharing your views in future also


  14. Santanu says:

    Hi Manish,

    I had similar discussion with a cab driver when I was in Hyderabad. But the story was totally opposite to that. His name was some khan, I forget the name. He was enjoying his life & family due to the increasing competition of cab services like OLA, Uber, Meru etc.

    In his language, Sir, I am living like a king. Whenever I want I logged in to any of these cab services and till I want I drive the car mostly from city to Airport. He shares around 10% of his income with the cab services and making good money. Health wise it is challenging though, but he is more happy by living a life of a cab driver. In fact after listening my typical IT life, he replied he is happy to work without anyone’s supervision.

    I know this is the story of very few % people only in our country. But at least I feel happy that things are changing in that level also and people are able to make some good money & a life.

    Thanks for sharing your experience. 🙂

    1. We have all kind of examples .. happy and sad one’s both . Good that you shared that there are happy one’s too . But I think overall there are more sad stories than the happy one’s .


  15. Gabriel says:

    Mumbai life is good and bad both, here you can get everything once you come out of your house, at the same time there is no fresh air, poverty in slums, sanitation issue, congestion etc, so surely people will die early whether you do physical work or your working in AC office, I think AC office guy will die even early as AC is more dangerous than the natural polluted air of Mumbai…

    1. Haha .. that was a fun comment 🙂

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