Dentist and Humanitarian
Who’ll tell you exactly where to Invest!
Numerous trophies lining the walls of his office in Navelim speak volumes of his immense success in business, dentistry and the art of giving back to society. Dr. Celso Fernandes is a disciplined man with passion. Dr. Charlane Pereira e Rebello catches up with the dentist whose charitable trust – the ‘Nave Marg Foundation’ – has been working towards improving the infrastructure of Goa’s schools. And, apropo of this Investment Edition of Goa Streets, Dr. Celso stands out as one of the state’s most sought after financial advisors.
I was awestruck with the 46-year-old dentist from Margao who can meticulously work on your pearly whites and at the same time talk about investments with even greater ardour. Dr. Celso Fernandes has been practicing dentistry for a quarter of a century in South Goa. His financial firm ‘Nave Marg’ is well known in investment circles and he’s been recognized for his activism in the Lions Club of Margao for 23 years.
In retrospect, he’s happy that he missed securing a seat in the Goa Medical College and instead got admission in the Goa Dental College.
“Dentistry is one of the luckiest professions. One has to treat 32 teeth, and even if you don’t have teeth, then also you need to visit the dentist for dentures. No emergencies! No night calls!” he exclaims. “Though dental clinics have mushroomed everywhere and dentistry has turned out to be very competitive, what matters most is the relationship with the patients,” adds Dr. Celso.
He is a life member of the Indian Dental Association, where he has held senior positions at both the state and national levels. He has also been awarded the Best State Branch (runner up trophy) for overall activities during his tenure as the State President, and ‘Dentist of the Year Award’ in 2003 by the Indian Dentist Research and Review journal based in Kerala. This is in addition to a number of high-profile awards he won in the areas of investments, recruitment and financial planning. And, of course, there’s his long and distinguished list of Lions Club awards.
In 1995, he started the Zero Cavity Club where 180 children were enrolled for free dental checkups to ensure adequate care of their milk teeth. The club existed for just a year, but the scheme – and the help given to children who need it – continues to this day.
Dr. Celso’s passion for investments took root in 1996 when he heard Goa’s leading chartered accountant, Ganesh Daivajna, deliver a talk at Cidade de Goa on ‘How to grow rich.’ Inspired by the talk, Dr. Celso opened up a second dental clinic and a laboratory (though today he runs a single clinic in Navelim).
It was then that he read the book written by American author and investor Robert Kiyosaki “Rich Dad Poor Dad.” He comments, “Nobody knows how to make money work for them. It is possible to earn without working for long hours. I decided to educate my family and friends about these views.”
Dr. Celso also decided to educate himself further on the art of investing, passing exams from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority, the Association of Mutual Funds in India and Certified Financial Planning. Twice a month, he organizes seminars for a crowd of about 40, educating them about financial planning and investments.
In 2012, he started the Young Achievers Club (meant for people aged 20 to 30 years) and the Millionaire Club (meant for the age group of 30 to 40 years).
Through his financial planning, Dr. Celso has been helping these club members to create their own portfolio income by specifying certain targets. He says, “Our mission is to create 100 Goan crorepatis by 2020.”
His Charitable Trust ‘Nave Marg Foundation’ donates funds towards the maintenance and improving of school toilets. By 2017, this husband and father of two children of his own hopes to touch 100 schools.
For the past 7 years, he has been organizing Christmas parties for 250 children, of whom he considers himself to be godfather. He says, “Our foundation will take care of their finances in case of any misfortune.”
With a staff of 4 at his Margao office, he works with hundreds of families. He smiles, “My dental patients become my financial clients and vice-versa.”
Dr. Celso has been a very active member of Lion’s Club of Margao for the past 23 years, occupying various positions, including president and vice president.
Through the Lion’s Club, MJF Lion, Dr. Celso has initiated a number of projects, including Lion’s Orthopedic Bank in 1998, the Senior Citizen Recreation Centre in 2008, Lion’s Scholarship for students who have lost an earning member in the family in 2010 and, in 2014, the Vision Clinic, which provides visual aids for sight-impaired children.
Kudos to Dr. Celso, whose life is a testament to the power of passion, vision and hard work.