Friday, 14 October 2016

What I Learned from Money

One of the biggest teachers in the world is money. Today, I try to decipher this very strange master and its teachings.

Money is a very strange thing–human beings make rational decisions while dealing with most aspects of life but make serious errors of judgment when it comes to dealing with money – be it saving, investing, borrowing or spending. Completely rational people take totally irrational decisions when dealing money, finance or investments. The biggest teacher is life which educates us through mistakes which turns us into wise humans by giving us inspirational experience and the most costly of them are the errors committed while dealing with money. So let us delve into the realm of the lessons thought by money. What I learned from money?

Money Lesson 1: Winning the battle against yourself
You were born to succeed. This is the most basic and simple law of nature. But, very few people actually achieve success in their lives — and even those who do so don’t reach the pinnacle of success that they could. Therefore, while we were born to succeed, most of the time we are unable to do so. This fight between the probable and the reality constantly leaves us battling with our own self. You might be familiar with some of the following feelings:
  • You are thinking of leaving your job and staring your own business.
  • You want to become a singer instead of studying medicine but are studying medicine just because your parents want you to become a doctor.
  • You want to leave your family business and join politics.
  • You want to leave your job and go in for higher studies.
Money teaches you that when you achieve freedom from money or financial emancipation it than gives you the courage to live and fulfil your dreams and achieve your higher self-actualization goals.

Money Lesson 2: Wait till the flower blossoms
Money teaches us that one of the biggest enemies of long term success, whether in stock market or life, is the lack of mental character and ability to postpone gratification. Everyone wants instant success. This leads people go in for short-term gain which results in long-term pain. For example, a young person taking a short term job for earning money and in the process sacrificing his or her long term career, or labor unions fighting for higher wages which in the long run cripple the company and the industry itself or a na├»ve investor selling a great company with good clean management having bright future prospects to book short term profits. Patience is a virtue which will help you in a big way in achieving success in your dealings with money. Persevere to past through those fragile moments when you feel like giving up and you are bound to achieve great success – in life and dealing with money.

Money Lesson 3: Thinking before activing and actually acting after thinking
This is one of the most important attribute of people successfully dealing with money. There is today so much information, research, news, etc. that we often get lost in just reading and accumulating information. We have an information cascade with no real knowledge or creative thinking. We can collect and assimilate information but can hardly make sense of that information. Often, investors believe independent thinking means being a contrarian, but being contrarian by itself will not help — what will help is trying to understand why the crowd might be wrong. If you don’t have independent thinking, then you will rush to sell your good stocks at the slightest market panic. When deciding on your various dealings with money like which housing loan to take, which fixed deposit to park your idle funds in, which stock to buy or which insurance policy you need, you may listen to all the financial experts, fund managers, analysts, gurus, etc. but always finally make a judgment based on your independent and creative thinking. And don’t suffer from decision paralysis – always think before you act but after thinking do act otherwise good thoughts have no practical value without actual actions. 

Money Lesson 4: We are Constantly Insuring Ourselves Against Every
Possible Catastrophe
Whether you are aware or not, you are constantly, right from your birth, insuring yourself against different types of catastrophes throughout your life. When you come out of your mother’s womb, you instantly start breathing to insure yourself against death. You then start feeding your mother’s milk to insure yourself against hunger; you go to school to insure yourself against being an illiterate; you make friends to insure yourself against being lonely; you marry to insure yourself against being unloved; you have children to insure yourself against your name dying with you; you respect your elders to ensure their blessings, you listen to your boss to insure yourself against job loss, etc. Thus, whether you know it or not, you are always insuring yourself against some untoward event or the other which you think might or could happen. The fact that you are reading this article means that you are in effect insuring yourself against not remaining poor — to free yourself from all your money problems. Money teaches us that earning is meaningless if it not available to us or our loved ones when it is most needed and insurance will help you protect your wealth against any kind of catastrophic events.

Money Lesson 5: Price, Ego and Jealousy
Money teaches us that the only person which you can harm with your pride, ego or jealousy is nobody else but your ownself. These are the single biggest reasons which lead to the downfall of many an individual whether in one’s personal, professional, spiritual or investment lives. While dealing with money, for example, if you are very proud of yourself, then you will not have the humility to seek anybody’s advice even when you need it and that can be a disaster. You may not do sufficient research or take proper advice before investing. Ego is worse than pride. Pride comes from something which we know or possess, ego from something which we may neither know nor possess but believe that we know or possess. A person with ego will never be able to think properly. Further, if you are egoistic than at the time of spending you may buy a costly product which you actually may not require. There is no point in robbing your wallet to satisfy your false ego. The main thing about ego is that an egoistic person is never able to use the thing on which it has ego.
Jealousy creates a cloud of discontent, resentment, anger and frustration around you which completely mars your vision and puts you at a substantial risk of taking wrong decisions, including poor financial decision. For example, if you are jealous of your neighbor because he or she has made a lot of money in some business, it may prompt you to recklessly quit your job, and start some business about which you may have limited or no knowledge or experience. Jealousy may make you believe that for you to succeed, somebody else has to fail — which is totally incorrect. In fact, we are all connected to one another at a higher spiritual level and no person can hope to become a permanent success unless they take others along with them.

Money Lesson 6: Lust
Money will teach you that lust and cravings are your biggest enemies in this physical world. The moment you lust for somebody else’s spouse or money than that moment is probably the beginning of your own end. Lust is that double edged sword which converts the most powerful gift of God i.e. love into the worst dreaded enemy of yours. The single most difficult thing in this world is to control lust and cravings and the person who will become a true disciple of God. Money and lust are the two most powerful manifestations of Maya (illusion), if a person lustfully greedily goes after them then they elude and delude that person but if a person in a proper controlled rightful manner deals with them than that person can conquer the world and most importantly become true masters of their ownselves. In this world, its very easy to rule others but the most difficult thing is to be true ruler of our ownself. Once your higher self (soul) gains control over your lower temporary self (physical body and mind), you can win any battle including that with money. 

Money Lesson 7: Trust and Faith
These are some of the unique qualities which people successfully dealing with money will possess. You need to have trust on somebody else before you invest in their stock, subscribe to their bond, buy their product or start a business venture with them. You should have faith that a higher super power is moving along with you and steer and guide your boat when it moves through choppy waters. And most importantly, you should be able to trust your own knowledge, experience, wisdom otherwise you will run to sell you shares at the slightest market weakness or cut leverage at an inappropriate time or not take housing loan when truly required to be taken or discontinue with your insurance policy when you require coverage the most.  

Money Lesson 8: Respect for the greatest non-renewable gift
It’s common sense that not respecting the most precious gift you have is a big mistake but it is not common sense to realize what is this greatest non-renewable gift. Some may think it’s money, fame or power, or something like that. In fact, the most precious thing is the only non-renewable resource which you are continuously and uninterruptedly given. But once you lose it, you never ever get it back again — and that is “time”. Money will teach you that you can create money with time but not time with money. Plan your time properly because failing to plan is, in fact, planning to fail. Every time you say yes to something that is unimportant, you are unknowingly saying no to something that is important. Learn to say no to the unimportant things so that you have time for the important things in life. Budget for your time at the point of earning income, plan for your savings, invest time before you invest money in any asset like stock, real estate or bonds and before your time runs out, insure yourself so your future generation gets a chance to live in their own time.
And when you are spending time in reading this article, assess whether the time spent on reading it is yielding you enough output in the form of leading you on to the path of achieving financial freedom — if yes, read it; otherwise, leave it.

Money Lesson 9: Humility and Character
Either you be humble in the stock market or the market will teach you humility in its own cruel way. Have character to stay with the right investments even at the wrong time or money will slip through your pockets. Be simple at the time of spending or else you may wear costly pants but with empty pockets. Be unpretentious while dealing with the government or else you will never be able to protect your money from the biggest legal financial predator of all who will systematically rob you of your own money at every point of dealing with money; be it earning, saving, sending, investing or insuring. Show demureness at the time of leveraging otherwise it will not be long before which you would be creating negative leverage which will wipe out your net worth as well. The importance of humility and character cannot be just out down in words but those who don’t practice it; pay a heavy and many times irreversible price for them.

Money Lesson 10: Fear of failure
If you fear failure than you can never ever hope of real victory because victory and failure are two sides of the same coin. Never fear of failure. We are so afraid of making mistakes because we think that we might fail that we forget the joy of winning. However, often failure is not our fault. From early in our school days, we are conditioned to fear mistakes. A school never encourages mistakes. If a child makes some mistake in the exams, instead of encouraging and helping him find the reason for his mistake, he is labeled as a failure. However, life is full of mistakes. Some of the biggest discoveries and inventions in this world have been a result of mistakes. For example, Christopher Columbus was looking for a trade route to India when by “mistake” he ended up “discovering” America — the world’s richest and most powerful country today! In the financial world, if you are afraid of mistakes, you will never be able to find a successful investment or business because their paths are full of mistakes.

Money Lesson 11: Right to be Wrong
While dealing with money always reserve your right to be wrong. This is simply because there will be many instances in which you are bound to be wrong. For example, you may take the incorrect housing loan, might do mistake while classifying or filing your income or any other tax returns, commit error at the time of saving and not recognize the different between idle saving and fruitful investment, commit errors of judgement or commission at the time of investing in stocks, property or bonds or even subscribe to the inappropriate yet costly insurance policy. While you are bound to be wrong while dealing with money but don’t lose the right to be wrong otherwise you will permanently surrender your right to win as well.

To conclude, money is the biggest teacher of all which will test you at various points of your dealing with it – are you earning money from the best possible source, have you been able to budget for yourself and pay yourself first, can you protect you money from the financial predators, what money is teaching you when you do asset allocation or invest,  how is money distinguishing itself between assets and liabilities and what are speculative items and are you ready to unleash the true power of money by positive leverage. Remember that like everything in this world, money has its own rules and follow the rules of money to become a true successful person in life. Dealing with money is not about beating the market or anybody else, its simply beating your own self, your own negative traits and once you are able to master your own self and become a complete human being, then only you would also become a successful investor.


Saturday, 1 October 2016

INTERACTIONS WITH LEADING MEDIA ON MY BOOKS, FEMINISM, SOCIAL MEDIA AND MORE


Name: Mehrab Irani

1.     When did u find yourself lost in the world of words? 
The correct question should have been that when do I don’t find myself lost in words. And actually speaking when does any person living on the planet not find themselves lost in words – the difference being that some express themselves while some don’t.
We are all born into genius. Sadly, most of us die in mediocrity. We all are going to someday shed our earthly bodies and leave for another voyage – the journey of the soul. But then, does the journey of the soul begin when we actually die physically. Is the soul actually alive when we are here on this planet? A child knows what it wants to accomplish in life. At that point, everything is clear and everything seems possible. As children, we are not afraid to dream and yearn for everything. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince us that it is not possible. By repeating the same pattern again and again, are we moving towards the death of our very soul?
Everybody has a ‘personal calling’. This is the promise between God and us. It is the promise each one of us makes to God before embarking on our earthly journey. Whoever you are, you have a personal calling, a desire that originated in your soul. This is clearly your mission on earth; the purpose of your very existence on this planet. My words, my writings are a medium of connecting myself with others, linking myself to the creations of the creator and through them to the Creator Himself. Remember that in prayer, we talk with God; in meditation, God talks with us, in prayer, we listen to our own voice; in meditation we listen to the voice of the Universe, and for me writing is a medication wherein I listen to the voice of the Creator Himself – it is He Himself who conveys His message through writers like us.

2.     Do you believe that self-experience is important to keep your pen flowing? What motivates you to write and just keep writing?
When I was young, I dreamt of having a career which will help make an impact to this world, help others realize their higher self, show them how small a life they are living when they are actually born for greatness, remove the hurdles between man and his dreams, make everyone realize their true self potential and encourage them to answer their soul calling.
To have knowledge and not share with others is being selfish. I would like to say my journey and purpose behind travelling the important journey of being a senior person in corporate investments to an author. I still continue with my job in the Tata group as my job keeps giving me ideas and helps me in meeting new people and interacting with them. I have been working in the finance field for the past 17 years, both on the buy and sell side, in equity and in debt, in research and in fund management as well as in dealing, in mutual fund as a Fund Manager and also as an investor in mutual fund products and more. In my this experience, I have seen that even today there is lot of misconception about money, finance and investments. Today, most of us have become slaves of money – wage slave of the employer, tax slave of the government and loan slave of the bank. I felt very pained when I saw humans being turned into financial slaves. Today, in this physical world, money is the most important factor which comes between man and his dreams. And therefore I thought that I have to do something in this regards. Today we see there is only one Sachin Tendulkar, one Amitabh Bachan and one Shri Narendra Modi while each one of us have the talents and capacity to become someone like them. God has given each one of us some special gift, an unique talent, its upto each one to recognize their gift, develop their talents and then utilize it for the common benefit. Most of the people have abolished their dreams in the search of a safe secured life. Take the example of a young teenage boy who is very good at cricket and wants to become a cricketer. May be his very purpose of embarking on this earthly journey is to play cricket and entertain others. However, the whole world, including his parents, teachers, elders and all are busy advising him to quit playing cricket and concentrate on his studies to become a doctor or engineer and live a “safe secure life”. In the name of this so called illusion of “financial security” the boy is pushed into leaving aside his dream and live a whole life of slavery. That is what pains me a lot. Hence, I decided to share whatever little knowledge, experience and wisdom which I gained over my so many years of working with everybody and hence embarked on this important journey of being an author.
I wrote the book to free humanity from financial slavery so that they can then achieve their true higher purpose and fulfill the very reason of their existence on this planet. The two most important things in this world are – entertainment and money. I thought why not combine both of them. Most of the people are afraid of the term money. So, I thought to present money in a thrilling suspenseful entertaining form. We all like to learn from stories and fables because we have been taught that way since our childhood. So, why not learn the most important subject also in the form of a fable? And that is when I got the idea of writing a “finance fiction”. My book “Mad Money Journey” is a completely new refreshing book which combines finance and fiction in a manner never done before. “Mad Money Journey” combines the principles of money, finance and investments on one side and of life and its wisdom on the other side in an inspirational, motivational and intuitive manner bringing out the relationship between man and money, entertaining in a thrilling suspenseful manner, promising to be a page-turner, helping and guiding its readers on a new path towards self-discovery, a financially free life wherein everybody, rather than being slave to money is actually able to live a happy successful life achieving their highest self and fulfilling their very mission of coming to this planet. The readers taking the Mad Money Journey will permanently change their journey by putting themselves in the right path wherein they will be introduced to their own inner self and true path.
To summarize, my motivation of writing is to inspire others on the path of financial freedom, on the way towards true freedom wherein they recognize their dreams, understand their higher purpose and fulfill their mission of existence on this planet.  

3.     What are your views about Feminism? 
Thanks for asking this question. What is Feminism? It may be said that it is a fight for women’s right and equality amongst both the sexes. But when will women be treated as equal to men. A woman will be treated as equal to man when she herself will believe that she is equal to man. And when will she herself believe that she is equal to man? She will believe that she is equal to man when she is able to equally do all the work which a man can do.
Humans are social animals. We have been in existence for thousands of years. Its only that in the past few centuries that we are living a civilized existence but before this for thousands of years we were like wild hunting animals living in caves. Men used to go out in the wild, hunt for food and protect their wives and children from the jungle. Many men used to perish in this constant quest with the wild in the jungle life. Women used to stay within the safety of the caves and protect, nurse their children. But nature did not want human species to perish. Hence, it provided males with certain hormones like testosterone which would multiply his sex drive by several times. The reason was simple. The surviving men had to plant their seed in maximum women so that the human species was not wiped out. Women were nest bearers. They did not just require to conceive but wanted to be made pregnant by that man who would respect and protect them while also taking care of her offspring. Women does not need sex but needs sex with the right man who will protect, preserve and nurture herself and her family.
During the primitive ages, there was no money. Its only over the past few centuries that money got invented and then came the pride and power behind it. Male being the hunter and provider took the responsibility of earning money. Hunting got substituted with earning money.
In the good old days there used to be barter system – goods and services used to be exchanged for goods and services. Then man created money as a medium of exchange and store of value. However, over a period of time – the creator himself became a slave of his own creation. And women by not managing their own money are not only becoming slaves to money but also slave to men which then encourages men to exploit her – physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s time that women wake up to this reality and take charge of the situation. In the modern age, a woman can handle her education, her husband, her children, her elders, her family, her job, the boardrooms and the government and much more than how on earth can she not handle money or investment?
Managing money is as much a scientific process as is an art and a psychological thing. When women will start on her financial freedom journey she might receive lot of negative advice from lot of people. The more she worries about being applauded by others and making money, the less she will focus on doing the great work that will generate applause and make her money. To double her net worth, she has to first double her self-worth because she will never exceed the height of her self-image. The most dangerous place is her safety zone. I want each woman to come out of her safety zone, recognize and connect with her dreams, get the courage to live her dreams, become financially independent and answer the calling of her soul.
Why do so many women delegate their financial security to their husband or significant other and allow divorce or death to plunge them into poverty? Why do so many women spend more than they earn and become mired in debt? Managing money has nothing to do with gender or sex. Money is not masculine or feminine. Money is money and it is neutral towards male or female.
Nobody wants to live a life where they have to spend their time, which is limited, in exchange for somebody else’s money which is available in abundance. People spend their time on earning money which they don’t value, take loans which they can’t repay, to buy goods which they don’t require, to impress people who don’t matter. It’s the birthright of each individual to achieve financial freedom. And it’s more so for a women who even today in a liberalized Indian society might be educated and working but is primarily expected to take care of the family and house. As stated earlier, when we ask a woman that what you are doing with your money the typical answer is that, “I don’t know, my husband or father is looking at it”. Even a working women earns money but is seldom part of the financial decision. A woman, whether working or not, is always made to depend on male for her financial needs. A woman takes care of her work as well her house, a woman attends to her husband, children as well as the adults, a woman keeps the house as well as the image clean, a woman perfectly blends and unites the family with her love, dedication and sacrifice. But then why the same woman is denied financial freedom? Is it not her right to live a financially free life wherein she can also explore her dreams, listen to the calling of her soul and fulfil her higher self-actualization goals? Yes, women, even the educated and earning ones, do shy away from taking financial decisions and besides other factors the primary reason is that somewhere deep within her mind, body and soul it has been incorporated from childhood that she is not supposed to be part of the financial decision. Men and women are equal and it is only when women themselves believe that they can take financial decision and attain financial nirvana is that they will actually achieve equal status with men in this modern society.

4.     What is social media for you? How do you see social media? 
When one is writing then he / she has to just concentrate on writing. The person has to be pure and honest to one’s ownself and write what he / she actually believes in. Once the manuscript is ready then let the editor do their work with full independence. The editor is the first person who is reading the manuscript and brings a whole new perspective and thought process to it. Don’t interfere with the editor’s work. After that the copyediting, book title, cover design, production and many other things go into it the making of a book. Once the book is ready then that is your final product. Now, we have to go all out in creating awareness, branding, publicity and marketing of the book. A writer writes because he / she wants the world to know of his / her idea. Wants to connect with the world, wants the world to read his / her work and that can happen only when the book actually sells. So, if writing a book is a project then I would say that it has two components – the first being writing, editing, title, designing, production etc. and the second being branding, publicity, marketing and sales. Without the first one being good there is no hope for the book to succeed but just because the first part is good does not automatically mean that the book will succeed unless the second part is put in place.   
Marketing will be the traditional medium like press, newspapers, TV, radio etc and also the new age media like the social media. While I feel that the traditional media is still important to reach out to the masses but at the same time social media is assuming increased significance because this is the medium which has a two way communication. This is a platform where the seller and buyer interact, preferences are known, complaints are registered and there is tremendous scope for engagement and improvements. Hence, although traditional media is still important to reach to the masses, social media is of great significance to engage and keep the readers interested.

5.     Most memorable life event.
In life, one has many memorable events like securing a major degree, watching the smile on the face of their parents when we fulfill their small yet significant wishes, listening to the voice of your child when first time it calls out to us, finding the love of one’s life and so on. I have had these and many more memorable events. But the most memorable moment for a person would be when the person gets connected to the Creation through the existence of his / her work. I had some similar moments and experiences through my book “Mad Money Journey”. Although, the book teaches on money, finance and investments but contrary to conventional wisdom the teachers in the book are unique like Afghan terrorist, Bangkok prostitute, Chinese mystics, Kenya marathon runner and so on. When I was writing the book, I was creating those fictional characters with imaginary situations but hoped and believed that someone like them would be alive somewhere in the world in similar kind of situation. I regularly get emails from my readers from across the world. And there have been many emails from people who have been in similar situations. For example, the few young widows with small children who wrote to me connecting with similar character from the book or even a marathon runner from Africa writing to me and his feeling about the Kenyan marathon race runner from the book. These are those memorable moments when you feel the whole world has submerged within us and our work has actually reached the Creator.     

6.     Are you currently working on any future publications? 
I would always like to connect with other people. Books is the primary medium but there are others also like talks and speeches, TV and Radio shows, press and media as wells as movies. I myself learn while connecting with people. And connecting with people helps me to understand humans better and then produce want is the real need. And I want to connect with the masses. That is why I write articles in press, appear on various TV shows and books. I am currently working on a sequel to Mad Money Journey. This book will delve into the very core of humans and their relationship with money, realizing dreams, knowing their ownselves, their spiritual mission. It would be a very thrilling suspenseful journey which will challenge and explore the very core of one’s being and relationship between human existence, love, sex, spirituality, dreams and money. It will further explore and investigate into the life of various people who are going through some kind of mental, physical, emotional and psychological struggle because of money. Take the example of a housewife. She might be educated, reasonably rich, having a loving family – husband, children, in laws but might feel attracted to a neighborhood man who is financially more successful than her husband. This physical attraction because of money might be draining her emotionally and physically. What is the solution for her? I would like to dig deeper and deeper into such struggles which we humans face in our daily life because of the interplay between man, money and our dreams. 
Also, after a certain point books have a limit of penetration since there are some people who would simply never want to read. Hence, to connect with those people I am exploring other mediums like movies and TV shows. I am in talks with various industry people to explore the idea of converting “Mad Money Journey” into a movie or TV serial. I am also planning to do a TV show on money and finance which will be very different from the rest. It will be a thrilling yet emotional show which will explore and connect people with their dreams and show them how money and finance is preventing them from achieving their highest self in life. The show will not just teach to earn money, it will help to fulfil dreams.

7.     What would you like to convey to the young writers? 
If you think that reason for writing a book is money — then, yes, one of the reasons for writing a book should be money because money is an important factor in this physical world and if an author is struggling physically then how will he / she will be able to express his / her inner feelings and thoughts through words. God has given everybody a gift and we have to use that gift to our maximum advantage. I have the gift of writing and I am using it to my advantage. However, I would like to add one more point here. We have to use the gift of God not just for the purpose of earning money or pleasure; we must also use it for a higher purpose — for the service of mankind. If we use our gift just for the sake of earning money, wealth or fame then I am sure very soon we might lose our gift and not succeed in our mission. Therefore, while one of the reasons for writing a book is certainly to earn money but there has to be a higher purpose as well. Unless there is a higher purpose of writing a book there is very little chance that the book will succeed and leave any impact. And, remember, there are easier ways of earning money than writing a book!