Husband: How I wish there are no bills to pay and we never have to work for money anymore…..How much do we need anyway?
Wife: Well, nice thought. All we need to calculate is present value of future cash flows along with perfect inflation number, interest rate, life expectancy and calculation of whole lot of other challenges which we have no control on. Assuming we can keep working until all the goals are ticked for life. If time permits we can live a bit.
Husband: Why do you sound so complex?
Wife: Really speaking, bills are always going to be there. Working for money should never be the starting point anyway. We should try multiple things early on, whether it works or not. Calculated risk is better than no risk.
Does this sound like familiar conversation? Everyone has a money story. How we see money and how it influences our thought process has a big impact on how we deal with LIFE. With all good intentions our parents insisted we save as much as we can. Not sure how many were clear on why and for what are we saving.
For example, some parents pay EMI throughout their lives buying homes for their children. Does it mean they did not trust the ability of their children to make their own living? Actually, NO. Then could that not be invested in some good avenues where the return on investments were much better? Check the table below.
The reason why most of us do not execute a financial plan is mostly because we do not know what the actual risk is. SELF BELIEF is most important to build financial muscle. It is very easy to look back and say what would have happened if we invested ten years ago. To do it at the right time we MUST know what is it that we would lose if the worst case happened. Say you invest 10,000 in a stock or mutual fund if it works as expected – great, if it does not – then all that we lose is 10,000. Taking that first step is what sets the direction. Knowing the extent of Risk reduces the fear of unknown.
What else stops us from moving on? The most familiar phase while growing up was “Study well, Get a good job, settle down”. I am still not sure what ‘settle down’ means. Assume we finished Phd in the field of our choice if that is not leading us to simplify life then should we not question our belief system? This reminds me of a story I read long ago. I have forgotten the source but will try to recreate here.
Conversation between an Investment Banker and a Chef in a remote island, where the banker is holidaying in a 5 star resort to unwind and relax. On the back of his mind he is not calm, not everything is fine with his wife and kids. He has not had time to check his parents for few months now and intends to do it during his vacation. Also, he is still available for his office just in case a client wants him!
Banker: Hey Chef how come your food tastes so good. The same thing in the city does not even smell so good.
Chef: I buy my own stuff. I am very particular about where the ingredients come from and we try to buy things as fresh as possible. I am heading to do the same in some time, would you like to explore the local market?
Banker: Wow, pleasure. Let me experience a market with no stock in it for a change..haha
They head towards the market. They buy loads of things for 1/10th the price in a city but lot more fresh and nutritious.
Banker: So, have you ever thought what a great business man you could be with your skill and bargain? Why would you work for a fraction of what you can make in a city? Just a thought.
Chef: I know, I have lived in cities earlier. But, what would I get there which I would not get here? What is the goal finally?
Banker: Well, you are young. You can shift to a city and start a restaurant, order your material from here for a bargain and run the restaurant with a huge profit margin. You can multiply your chain of restaurants and hire experts to run it. Who knows it could be a multimillion dollar proposal.
Chef: Sounds like lot of work. What would I do next?
Banker: Buy multiple mansions (on a beach if you like), own a yatch…relax with your family and retire rich.
Chef: I would be much older by then. I am having a great family; I get to spend time with them. I can help kids with studies and I have taught my son lot of other skills which schools don’t teach. We already live on a resort, eat fresh food and are in good health. I am having my own home in a town and have been able to save and invest since I started earning. I have invested in fishery, food business and few other stocks I understand. They will take care of future. Even otherwise we have skill and health to face crisis. Thanks for the well intended advice my friend, but we as family seem to hate city life and do not want to trade our time for money. In a city we struggle to increase our earning potential, try cutting expenses, work extended hours, travel endlessly ……what not. It sounds very scarce and endless. Out here I feel satisfied and complete. Apart from my job, I have enough time to do what I love. All I have to do is keep honing my skill. I am already living a retired life everyone envies. Rich is just the way you feel.
Wasn’t the BELIEF and money story of the Banker and Chef different which lead to different decisions and life? Sometimes degrees or wealth is not the solution. If it were to be the solution then all the celebrities and millionaires/billionaires would be happy. There are enough wealthy people who feel lonely, depressed and miserable. Many of them can’t enjoy walking on the street. What’s freedom then? Education is very important but when we sell ourselves short for extra bucks and let ego rule over value system we could be blind folding ourselves from the real essence of living.
A good mentor is like a torch in the dark. Finding and working with a mentor who has already achieved what we aspire for is worth the effort. The first place one should invest in is in SELF. Learning and sharpening the skill is a lifelong investment. Take time to find your Mentor. Real Mentors are well wishers not secret agents. Everyone has his/her share of hardships. Having a mentor will give the psychological strength. Mentor and mentee relationship should be mutual. These days it is most misunderstood. Not all successful people can be mentors. One has to know how to give feedback. For that he/she has to know the mentee in all areas of life.
The way parents talk about money has a big impact on how a child sees life. In houses where parents fight on topic of money we often see their children hating money or addicted to believe one should only pursue money making. Both are extremes. One has to earn and save but if we cannot connect anything as achievement or happiness the journey would be so much more difficult. I have often heard people say “I just want to make my family happy, otherwise I don’t have much desires”. Having desires is not wrong. Infact, that is what boosts our energy to pursue goals. It will inspire us to do more when we know what exactly we want.
Take Tony Robbins for example. He is one of the best life coaches there is. He had a humble beginning but the way he has shaped his life is commendable. Tony is a millionaire and therefore he is able to feed millions of people across several countries. His success is serving others today. IF he had no desire to be successful at every stage, had he been happy with just a few goals achieved, would he be able to serve and inspire millions of people around the world? THINK BIG. We cannot see what is in store but let’s not restrict our reach and potential.
Among all things we cannot control, one thing we surely cannot control is the results. For every event/effort there are two outcomes, either it will succeed or it will fail. Everyone knows this but sometimes accepting failure becomes very difficult especially when failure looks bigger than us. At times it is more to do with what others think rather than what I think. If we were never judged and took fearless decisions the same event would look small. It is the mind which pictures the impossible though in reality as long as we are breathing we can fight. Like they say, what does not kill you makes you stronger.
Everything we do is time bound. Even if we do not have timelines to finish a task or achieve the goals we have set for ourselves things shape up naturally as time moves. The people who are disciplined do not waste time. They are the ones who realize what adds value. Spending time with the right people can change lives. Lost money will come back if there is sincere effort but lost time is lost forever. There is no perfect time so to say. When we feel we are ready with heart and soul we really are ready. In stock market investments it is not easy to time the exact tops and bottoms but the one who has good knowledge of how it works can be ready to act when the opportunity shows up. When things go wrong we often hear the phrase “It is a bad time”. But, we cannot sit waiting for a good time. We must keep moving and time will take care of everything.
YOU ARE YOUR BEST INVESTMENT, THE RIGH TIME IS NOW ….ULTIMATELY BEING HAPPY IS WHAT LIFE IS ALL ABOUT !!!
What do you think …do share your money story in the comment section….There is more to follow……..We can share series of stories to help each other.