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How to get RICH and RETIRE early


I do realize the importance of managing personal finance– drawing the financial wall in my life model is a result of this appreciation.

At the same time, in the recent past, I hardly could keep my attention on any self-help books – call it getting impatient with preaching pals!  And I still go with the view that RICH is a very relative term – Being Happy and at Peace with one-self is Being Rich for me (do people under the same sun sign think this way? I was stumped when I heard a similar definition from the same fellow disguised alien who told me about Moneyball)

Nevertheless, I picked this book with lot of enthusiasm and pride – the author, Rajasekharan had been my colleague in his past corporate avatar and is one of the key enabler of the monthly early morning long walking sessions for a bunch of walking enthusiast like me. And this is the second time one of my friends have published his writing – It was Anitha just last year!

What I like in this book

  1. Caters to a large audience reference book – If you are 20+ and starting your career, you just start your financial planning with this book. If you are middle aged and still have another 15-20 years of salaried service, you still can get inputs to get rich.  If you over the middle age hump-this can still be a quick ready reference in matters of India financial markethow-to-get-rich-and-retire-early-275x275-imadhfd5hbt69ujz
  2. Weaving general leadership principles – “Inaction is costly”, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”, “planning is like painting, the more valuable it becomes with more finer details you put in”,  “ financial planning is like going to gym –  got to be regular and long term” (knowing Raj and his love for Stephen Covey, this is not a surprise!)
  3. Excellent clarity
    1. Definition of rich – if your passive income equals your expenses
    2. Focus on basics  –  Long term financial planning is the basis of getting RICH
    3. Simple and easy language
  4. Super simple control diagram charts  –  which says what is RICH and sticks on to your head
  5. Good content flow   –
    1. Part one: makes the reader appreciate and define what RICH means at that individual’s level,
    2. Part two covers the why and how of long term financial planning followed by
    3. Part three which explains the various investment options in India and how to choose them to get an ROI of 15-20%
  6. Though it sounds like a self-help book, Raj has clearly established that each individual’s needs are very different based on their perspective of life – unique is the way he puts it candidly that it is all his views based on his experience
  7. The thorough details on various investment options –Debt, equities, mutual funds, insurance policies, gold, real estate.   The case of Asian Paints is well handled to enable even the beginners to understand and appreciate the intricacies of equities market

What I look for in the next edition

  1. Soft version of all the reference tables (a CD with the book)
  2. Consolidation of all questions at the end of each chapter
  3. A followup workshop based on this book –  I had the opportunity to be present in Raj’s book promotion session and I felt he can build a workshop based on this which will help many
  4. Hard bound cover  –  this is a book which can stay in the reference section for years to come
  5. Some more proof reading
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Moneyball


Category –  Drama-Sports ;  Rating –  4  ;  Comment  – Heroic  pursuit of success using a non conventional route!

Another incident to remind me about my limited memory cells and the strong subconscious memory ….   (am actually not complaining, this piece of my senile decay brings in lot of fun into life!)

I probably watched MoneyBall almost an year ago  –  skipped to record my review and just continued with my life (I thought zero impact to anyone including me!).  Couple of days back, I had the opportunity to laugh again at the corporate vagaries with a colleague  –  someone who has similar traits like mine –  the rare ability (ok, call it “strain of crankiness”)  to see the humorous side of the corporate vagaries.  What i found over years is that this ability (ok, the strain of crankiness!) is considered as a taboo at the higher echelons of the corporate society and people who have this ability actually are living like the disguised aliens of Men in BlackScott adams was  probably one courageous individual who came out in the open and was smart enough to monetize his ability by kicking off his Dilbert series.  So, when I discover someone like this (a fellow alien)  I thoroughly enjoy it!  The talk was about how skewed the opinions of managers about their teams  –   in that context, I was asked if i had watched the movie Moneyball and I bluntly said a big NO (senile decay!).

And my colleague went on explain the Moneyball theory  –  the rational to select winning teams which is very different than the traditional one and recommended me to watch the movie.  Having the day off at Bangalore (aarrgh…another embarassing strike day called out by trade unions impacting crores of productivity!!), I decided to look for this movie and bang, when i saw the google throwing  up Brad Pitt images in his baseball cap, it just hit me that I have watched Moneyball already and liked it!!  I remember relating to the fact that how we make heroes out of those managers who mess up things initially, get the projects into RED and then with support of many folks bring the project into Green.   In parallel, we miss to notice those managers who keep their projects in good shape all through the year.

Coming to the movie review, ofcourse it was a good movie  –  good enough to even make it as a mandatory movie in a leadership training workshop!   Brad Pitt was sometimes overshadowed by the bubbly bespectacled Jonah Hill, but that is fine….!!!

Good watch!

Living one’s own life!!


……………my first reaction was of profound shock and disbelief.

It was a typical conversation on that day too –   as always, I have been the one talking and going on and on about the mundane things in life, without a damn about whether I am talking sense!  I think this mindless, reckless talk happens only when the other person you are with is someone who understands you inherently – not just by the words you speak, but by being your buddy for the last 20 years without any expectations!!

And suddenly, I feel that there is something my friend is waiting to share – I slow down and listen  and the story unravels itself in front of my eyes  –  and  I was shocked and could not believe what I heard!!

Coming from a small town and being brought up in a ‘oh-so-orthodox’ culture with similar social status –  me and my friend share very similar thoughts on what is right and what is wrong (call it ‘values’?). I agree that our thought process and values (rights and wrongs) are mostly shaped based on our upbringing and is a legacy.

The story is about an extra marital affair – yes !!…my shock was due to the fact that one of the close female relatives of my friend had chosen a different life ( it is with another man).  I was shocked and angry because of what this made to my friend’s family –  a teenage daughter and a tween age son lost their mother –  not to mention the fact that a ‘oh-so-orthodox’ household lost its ‘bahurani’ (master of the house) and the  aging in-laws lost their ‘bahu’ and  the rich (reasonably handsome) husband lost a wife and her parents lost their ‘pride’ in the society!

I listened intently to the whole story – impact on the family, what our little town biggies think about it, how the elders at home are taking it, how the children are taking it – I was ANGRY!!

It kept haunting me…… her daughter will be ready to be married off in another 6-7 years from now……..and this mindless lady put her life in front of her kids!! How dare she do this???

Couple of days passed and it was the weekend – I was killing time watching the movie “The perfect man”  in the television –  It was an average movie – an American romcom, a story of a teenager.

The teenager is upset of moving cities frequently as her single mom has personal meltdowns involving second-rate guys in the cities they move through. The single mom is so desperate to get the right man as she feels her lifetime is ticking away.  To distract her mother from her latest bad choice, the teenager creates an imaginary perfect man to romance the mom and boost her shaky self-esteem.  The story after multiple funny incidents ends “happily-ever-after” with the mom finding her perfect men”.

I never had any qualms about the movie –  it was very natural for me to accept it!

As an afterthought, that night I happen to wonder on why I could feel this movie was natural and why I am angry with the other lady’s action –   both women have kids and they want to live their life  – they have multiple reasons on why they want to choose a different partner in their life.  The only difference was that the movie showed the women including her kids in her plans whereas in this real life incident, the lady left the kids back with her husband – but, is it not her choice?

On further thoughts, I realized that I never felt angry when I heard about the movie stars like Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan  (latest addition is Prabhu Deva) choosing a new life partner leaving behind their kids with their former wives.  So, why is that I am angry on this incident now?

–          Is it because

  •  I can relate to this ‘oh-so-orthodox’ scenario?
  • In a ‘oh-so-orthodox’ scenario, I probably expect the mom to be glued to her kids, irrespective of whether she like living her life with her husband and in-laws.  I get angry and fume that how can a mom of a teenager look for her own life?
  • she is a women and not a man like Aamir Khan or Saif Ali Khan who did the same thing?
  • I am a hypocrite    – can take it if it happens elsewhere but not in my circle?

More and more I think of it……… Gosh!  Am I turning SYMPATHETIC??  Looked like I am suddenly feeling sympathetic with the lady  ((I got to admit that I am far from being empathetic  –  thanks to my conditioning during early years of ‘oh-so-orthodox’ family). But the thought of a teenage daughter, aging in-laws brings back the anger in me.

No, I think I am still not clear. I am honestly confused!!   Is it Anger or Sympathy?

This post is participating in a contest and you can vote for it in indiblogger. I declare that any monetary benefit(Rs.75k worth prizes) I get through this contest will be  contributed to the non profit organization – OnlySuccess Foundation.  If you have similar fire freeze moments, you can share it in the closeup  facebook page.

 Further thoughts:  This situation is a plain simple case of someone wanting to live their life. As a society, we still have a long way to even assess a case like this, but as an individual we get emotional over these.  The individuals are mostly pushed to a corner – forced to make a choice between living their life and living as per society’s norms.  In a western culture, probably there are ways where they can still live their life and also be socially accepted.  But that brings in another debate……..is our culture much sought after across the world??  More to explore………..

Long Service Award


Yeah, it may sound crazy…but it feels like Oscar!   I am referring to the long service award which I got from my employer – 10 years in the same organization is indeed a milestone.

Yes, what is striking is that all these long service awardees have put in the best of their career years into this organization  – this is amazing!! I am sure if any of the long service awardees get their biographies done, this period in our life time will definitely be a focused coverage!.  All have been together, learnt many things, grown, been loyal, dedicated, etc……..

Professionally and personally I have matured a lot in these last 10 years and my organization has a very big role to play in my growth – when i say organization, it goes without saying it is the people who make the organization.

Coming back to the “feeling like Oscar”, it  is ARR’s Oscar award acceptance speech which crosses my mind – the famous quote ‘Ella Pugazhum Irayvanuke (All praise be to God)’  –  probably it is true in my case, but just that for me the God is in the people around me  –  ” my parents – who instilled the value of  life into me,   my spouse and kids – who understand me and relentlessly support  me to handle and balance my work load and personal life, my sibling – who inspires me to face  and live my life, my friends – who shape my thoughts and make me better every day,  my mentors -who put their faith in  my potential  and  give responsibilities which help  me grow professionally, my colleagues –  who bring in those  moments of happiness and belongingness  to keep me going , my team – who actually make it possible for me to deliver the expectations  –  so, it is people, people, people………..probably, my note should go like ” Ella Pugazhum Irayvanuke –  Ennai Sutri Manithanai irrukum  Irayvanuke”  (All praise be to God who is in the form of People around me!)

To close, i quote these lines from ttrangarajan -” Happiness is in small things!  Success is in big things”  and  these 10 long years in this organization gave the opportunities for small things and big things!!

God bless!  🙂 🙂 Makes me feel wonderful about this milestone!

21st September


It was my mom who introduced me to the interesting patterns behind numbers………..she used the patterns to remember various stuff…….phone numbers, door number, date of birth, anniversaries…………..she was always on top of these and was a ready reckoner database for the entire family

While i appreciated and understood the technique, i never did pick up that skill till today…..ofcourse, now we have such gadgets which handle    everything for us without remembering anything………..but, i always get impressed on the way sometime the numbers weave into our lives…….

……i wonder about ……….

……how the wedding dates of my brother and mine are on consecutive days, though years apart,

……how  the birthdates of my kids are exactly 6 months apart from each other though of different years,

……the Fibonacci series and their appearances in the biological settings,

……how in my mom’s  family the mother and son are always born under the same star and it came into my family too,

……why always 7 is most commonly occurring number  in my life –  birthday, door number…….

some kind of a coincidences……the recent is 21st September 

Being as lazy as i am, especially when it comes to keeping in touch with friends, i actually have a very limited set of people who can understand my thoughts…….and of those, i just have currently three who are in touch……..and when i discovered that all the three have their birthdates on the same day, 21st September, i indeed was flabbergasted………..

Now , i can never forget 21st September  – ofcourse AMwas indeed upset about Bebu sharing her birth date   🙂 🙂

Have Fun


It has been a very physically taxing week….the proposed root canal treatment preceded by strong antibiotics literally had pulled all my energy down…I was indeed looking forward for the weekend to rejuvenate! I was almost counting the weekdays, which seem to be passing slooooo….wly.  Finally it was Thursday evening and I was relieved that it is just another day for the weekend.

Then comes running the little one with a bright red card in hand…”Look, what it is! It is the birthday party of my friend on Saturday and I have told them I will come as it is holiday for you “……..I was indeed visibly disappointed that one fourth of my much awaited weekend will be gone in this party….considering that even the family outings were very limited the last couple of weeks, I agreed to go and accompany the little one.

It was the birthday evening…though I was still tired, when we reached the venue and saw the other parents and started chatting, I felt better…I laughed a lot and true to the saying “Laughter is the best medicine” , I felt much better than all of the last couple of weeks!  It was a good three hours and while coming back in the car, the little one was on continuous chatter mode – all thrilled about the return gifts, balloons, how many games they played and who did what, etc, etc.  Then suddenly, when the car was getting parked, comes out the advice to me “I think you should celebrate YOUR birthday like this…you should invite Ani’s parents, Arjun’s parents, Anitha aunty,…….(the list goes on and on including all the parents)…May be, we can do it in FUNCITYitself ”

I was amused by this sudden advice.  I was indeed feeling a bit guilty that we could never celebrate the little one’s birthday this time as promised by me.  But irrespective of that, here comes the advice that I have to celebrate MY birthday!!…I was intrigued and asked “my birthday?!!  It is another six months away!! And why should I celebrate my birthday? Only little children like you celebrate their birthday in FUNCITY. I am too old for these FUNCITY birthday parties!”…….bang came the reply without any hesitation….”Just to HAVE FUN!!…You can laugh and talk like today and can be happy!”…

I was moved – it is just not that the little one has noticed that I have had a good time with other parents in the party, but also wishes me to have much more fun!

Though it is too early an age for the little one to even understand on the fact that he has wished good happiness  for the other  person, i was overwhelmed that it came very natural  –  the thought to see the people around you happy!!

Wanting to see others happy ……..it indeed is a great asset to possess!……..I pray this thought stays with the growing years………..I am sure to see the little one will grow into a wonderful individual in the future!

Have fun!!   🙂   🙂

Glass is half full


I was literally not sure of how i felt  –  it was mixed feeling  –  10 years is a long time, considering that these 10 years had brought in much more changes in me than the rest of the years in my life!

The feeling of ‘LOST’ is still there…the imagination of  “how will it be now if she had been still around ?” is occupying my mind..at the same time, the feeling of visiting home town, especially the nostalgia is overwhelming…

i am sharing stories with the kids, making them see how it was when we were young….but, still in the back of my mind the confusion persists and nags – how i am going to take these two days at my home town after these 10 years?!!

Then came the right input at the right time ……….

use the simple technique to overcome the feelings of ‘Lost’. Just think of all things you are grateful for (half-full vs half-empty)”

This cleared my mind and by the time i reached, there were no doubts on my mind…I went around the town making the best of what i have…lived in the present and let go of the past ……… thanked that i have what i have….and ofcourse the feeling of being blessed continued!! 

 

Lies & Believes


It was confrontation time!

SJ & YA are confronting MR that his two inputs were contradicting…As always, i am listening and when i felt the situation is becoming sticky…i try this ” hey comeon, he would have made the changes to his plan at the last minute and would have forgotten when u both asked him about it”….

YA gives her typical HR stare at me and says ”  you keep quiet…you just believe …..let your belief save you!!”

SJ with his usual aggressiveness continues the confrontation and MR agrees that he lied…..i felt funny….when there is no reason to lie…what makes him lie?

YA turns to me and gives her condescending look and says “see, you just believe…..MJ is too ‘chalu’…he will not share anything with us and we keep sharing everything….LET YOUR BELIEF SAVE YOU!”

I tell her  “we all can give what we have only…i am full of beliefs and so i believe !!”……………Without realizing that i am intending that MR is full of lies…these words popped out of my mouth!!..

I felt uncomfortable  in making the situation more murky!   Though SJ diverted the topic and stuck on to this theory of “you give what you have”….i think i messed up today!

A hut and two pots


Busy days….repainting the house is almost like shifting house…you got to move things out, paint, and put them back in place……….i was wondering why we need so many material possessions (hey, don’t imagine all those valuable stuffs……i am just referring to the curry powders and spices and the many other small stuff around the kitchen!)….

in this contemplating mood, i step out to finish a small errand and meet Ms AM on the way………….she stops and enquires about the progress on painting and i share my soliloquy with her…..”when God made men, he could have done something about our design…..something such that we can just survive without cooking…….this way, we do not have to so many things at home – spice and curry powders and vessels and vessels”………..she laughs and says “when my mom use to say – all i need is only a hut and two pots ………i use to think what is wrong with her…….but when i have to maintain the house, i realize how easy if i just have a hut and two pots!!”

oops…….so, it applies to all……..”LESS IS MORE”………suddenly, the clarity sets in and being as logical as i am, i  start applying the well established rule to kitchen  –  “anything which is not used in the last six months goes OUT!!!!”  –   i  feel more decisive on what to keep and what to give out!

🙂

Fasting


It was a noisy evening with the kids playing football over the corner…we were chit chatting….the kids came running  –  ‘Hansel broke his teeth when the foot ball hit him…….call his mom’.

RJ quickly pulled her mobile out of her handbag and called JS  –  JS came with her ever striking coolness and calmness……….she says  ‘  Hansel beta, go and wash yourself in the club house..it is just the teeth which was shaking..it should be fine’.

He was indeed fine once he washed up and went back to his game.  RJ was enquiring..’so, are you finishing your fasting today?’

JS smiles and says  ‘  yeah, eight days are over’.  I was surprised and asked   –  ‘u fast for eight days?’…she smiles and says ‘we can drink lukewarm water as much as we want.’

I wonder…..she has been not eating anything all these eight days – not even milk, but she is so fresh and bright with the calmness and cool…..i was thinking of the one day where i had to fast for 24 hours and how irritable i became…

and look at her……she had been thriving on lukewarm water and stands here with a smile and a very clear thought and a calmness which catches me…..

After i come home, i keep thinking that i should read more about jainism……….i google for it…….and then realize it is just not me, but the  scientists are indeed studying the jains fasting to understand the survival techniques…….

but for me, it was the calmness and cool…….not the physical thriving which was unique……..it has to got to do with the mental stature than with the physical status!

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