By Francisco Colayco
Let me greet you all a Joyful, Peaceful, Healthy and Prosperous 2018!
It is time to take stock and change or reform ourselves for the better. Nobody is perfect and spiritual and inspirational articles abound to lift up our lives. What I noticed though is that we tend to compartmentalize our lives. In particular, our financial lives are considered by most as separate from their spiritual and intellectual activities. The fact is that all of these are intertwined. Since I have focused my advocacy on teaching personal financial management, I frequently interpret these inspirational principles in the light of our financial lives.
Borrowed from Mac Anderson’s “The Nature of Success”, Mr. Anderson talks about a lesson he learned from a friend’s grandmother. Mac was having such a rough week and his friend shared with him what his grandmother told him to always remember: ‘Inch by inch, life’s a cinch. Yard by yard, life is hard.’
Mac took the line to heart and took out a piece of paper and listed all the things he had to do in the next three days. As he finished each task, he crossed it out from the list. Three days later, he crossed out the last task left on the list. He felt great!
As Mac explains, “…Success doesn’t come cascading like Niagara Falls; it comes one drop at a time through short-term, realistic goals. If you believe you can do something (the goals are realistic), you’re likely to be highly motivated. If, however, you think you can’t (because the goals are unrealistic) your motivation level falls greatly…”
The same principle applies in each one’s personal financial life. I keep emphasizing the same principle as explained in “Making Your Money Work”.
THE QUICKEST WAY TO GET RICH QUICK IS TO GET RICH SLOW
Unfortunately, more people prefer to get rich the easy way and as fast as possible. They want to enjoy the money they believe they will be getting very quickly. This is why scams continue to proliferate and fool so many people.
Scams give promises of bigger than normal income every month or even everyday, in some cases. It is so easy to want to believe when the first thought that should come to mind is if the promise is even realistic. If it is not, then why even be motivated to believe in it. This is when the next part of the scam comes in. They give the names of people who have already invested and are already receiving the returns. When you check with these people if the claim is true and they so confirm, the inevitable follows. You end up investing and sad to say, the “Get Rich Quick” becomes “Lose Everything”.
In some cases, at the start, the money does come in as expected. As the money comes in though, it is almost automatic that the money is spent in frivolous WANTS. After all, more money is expected to come in regularly so why not enjoy. Some scams last for years and at the end of it all, the scammer tells the investor that the investor got his money back anyway through the regular interest paid. That is true but it has all been spent. At the end, the Investment is all gone and even the WANTS purchased are no longer important.
In a real investment with realistic long-term goals, the returns come in, reinvested (compounding principle) and kept intact. At the end of the period, both the investment and the earnings are kept safe.
Now, while you are doing the foregoing, remember what author Swami Avadhutananda says about Two Days We Should Not Worry. It is really very important to understand not only for the actual lesson stated but also for the implications in one’s financial life. It goes this way.
This should not be interpreted to mean that we should live day to day without planning for tomorrow. On the contrary, the author simply says that though we cannot change the past, we should and do learn from it. With these lessons, we can plan for our future but act without worrying. Failure should not be feared for it is merely a temporary event. If we are to analyze it, living one day at a time simply means make the most of today. This supports my basic principle that each person should be preparing for his retirement every day. Otherwise, as he grows older, he will precisely be dreading Tomorrow if he did not prepare. And as he starts worrying that he is not prepared, he will feel all the regret that he did not make use of the time when he was younger.
All it takes is an amount set aside daily and invested on a long-term basis without touching the earnings. Even during these difficult times, keep saving 20% of your income. Live within the 80%. Invest your savings regularly in well-managed funds for at least 5 years. But in doing so, make sure that you set an absolute amount as your goal for specific time periods. This way, you will have a clear basis for determining how much your investments must yield every year (annual rate of return). This then will be your guide in deciding when to liquefy part or all of your investments in the process of monitoring the progress of your investments.
It is easy enough to get into an investment. But the real challenge is knowing when to get out. The typical mistake is to invest with no specific money goal except to maximize growth. They invest based on unreasonable expectations and not on achieving a specific amount for a specific purpose at a certain future date. These are the investors who are able to buy low but end up selling lower because they panic when prices dive unexpectedly. More often than not, they could have sold high but did not, because they assumed that they there is still room for additional gain.
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