Friday, December 26, 2008


"Money is not the key to happiness. But, if you have the money, you can buy the key."

"If you can buy yourself out of a problem, it is not a problem at all. It is just an expense. Real problems require real solutions and they are very few."

So, money is very important. "It is okay not to have a lot of money. But, you should also not feel you do not have enough money."

I think there are a very few "problems" that can not be expensed away. You can probably count them on fingers on two hands. Health, happiness, family, friends, spiritual development etc. Rest all money can take care of. Even the real problems can benefit a lot if you have money.

If not anything, having enough money gives you feeling of enormous security. All those small issues do not give you insecurity if you have enough money. It takes money to make money. What does that mean? You have to spend money if you ever want to make money. How do you make money? Easiest path is to get yourself as much educated and marketable as you can. I say easiest because there are a lot of rich people without education. Education is not just what you learnt in and forgot before you left the school. It is what you bring to the table. If your body is your work instrument, education is the fuel that runs it.

It is great if you have inherited or going to inherit money from family sources. Most middle class people can always lean back on family if worse comes to worst. Be thankful for that. Although we take it for granted, there are many who just do not have that cushion at all. On the contrary, they are on the hook to look after their extended family.

How much money is enough? There is no best answer here. Conservatively, if you have readily accessible cash that can last for 1 year or more without affecting your current lifestyle, that's is quite enough. If you have more, that's wonderful. Bare minimum is that. Many will say emergency fund should be 4-6 months of living expenses. I think it is a very low expectation. Especially during current times when it may take much longer to come back on track, God forbid, if you lose your job or if your business goes out of business. Although 2008 was bad, I think it is too early to feel safe that worst is over. If any, it may  just be the beginning. People say the world (especially Western) has had such a run since world war II that our excesses are only getting exposed now and it will take a very long time (more than 3 years optimistically and close to 10 years pessimistically) to stabilize.

Media has not done a good job of instilling optimism in people. Media writes so much about hardships of people due to bad economic times. There is hardly any inspiring piece which describes how we, as humans, have overcome every catastrophe successfully. If anything, we have come out only stronger and more resilient. If not, we would not have been putting ourselves into harder and harder problems every time. That's the spirit of humans. Pushing the envelope all the way. Same thing will happen this time unless God wills otherwise. With that in mind, we should remain hopeful that things will eventually work out. "With time and patience, everything will work out."

"This too shall pass" - pass like what? pass smoothly like fine chocolate melts in your mouth and passes down your throat or painfully like a kidney stone. I think it will be somewhere in between. Nothing difficult has ever passed as smoothly as a fine chocolate. But, I do not believe it will be as painful as passing out a kidney stone either. If it comes to that, surgery will be necessary and will be done by the best surgeon- The God.


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