Friday, 16 November 2012

Prosperity, plentitude - some thoughts & learnings

Let this blog find you spreading light, joy & prosperity on this occasion of Diwali.

I had earlier written 2 blogs on relationship with money:
These thoughts are in continuation to that.

I had mentioned about the book “The richest man in Babylon” by George S Clason: Babylon became the wealthiest city of the ancient world, despite limited natural resources. This book explains how all the citizens became prosperous. Its concepts are still very relevant in current times. The king of Babylon once found that the economy is in doldrums. He was informed that no one has any money despite so much city development & construction work funded by the treasury. All the money has finally been channeled to very few people who are now very rich. The wise king, instead of taxing the rich people, called the richest man ARKAD. He asked him whether the art of making money can be taught. Arkad proposed to the king that he be given 100 people. He will teach them this art and they can then teach the entire city. That was how the city then turned into the richest city. This book contains many simple practical insights & teachings that are still applicable in our times:
  • How to come out from loan trap
  • How to manage finances well
  • How to be consistent in investing
  • How to honour your money instead of lending it out of obligations and pity

Some inspiring stories in this book include:
  1. Story of DABASIR, the trader who got into a debt trap, ran away from the creditors, got sold into slavery & finally returned to face his debtors and repay them all.
  2. Story of the ARKAD on how he became a rich man from zero, by utilizing the opportunities available. How he lost all his earnings initially and later learnt to invest appropriately.
  3. Story of a rich man who gave his son NOMASIR a pot of gold & a tablet containing 5 rules of wealth. The son initially lost all the money and later managed to recover and earn lot more using the 5 rules.
  4. Story of RODAN, spear maker, who got 50 gold coins as a special reward from the king (equal to 50 years net savings). His sister requested him to lend that money to her husband so he can become a merchant. How he learnt the logic of lending prudently.

Please do read the book if you can.

Inspired by this book, we have been discussing about how prudent management of personal finance becomes a critical factor in maintaining a glowing energy field in one’s life. Some very interesting examples were shared by some participants:
  • One participant was in armed forced many years back. During the early part of his career, his take home was Rs 650 per month. His food bill in the army canteen was Rs 300. His reporting officer reviewed his salary slip and asked ‘what are you doing with the balance amount? Start investing Rs 50 per month in Voluntary Provident Fund (VPF). He ignored the advice. Next month the reporting officer checked the salary slip again. This time he wrote on the slip: ‘Invest Rs 100 in VPF’. He also circled it with red ink. This probably was equivalent to an order!! The payroll person promptly came and told him, ‘boss has ordered that you invest Rs 100/- in VPF. Here is the form to sign!’ He signed. The deduction continued for many years. The participant shared with us that this single step led to a good amount of fund for him when he retired from the army. He is still thankful to his boss.

  • One participant’s boss used to always ask him and other colleagues: ‘How much money are you carrying in your wallet? Why so much extra? What will you do with so much cash? Keep the basic requirement and give the balance to me’. He practically snatched extra money from them. The boss kept all the cash in separate envelops in the name of each of the subordinates. Every six months, he will go and buy gold coins out of the cash accumulated. He used to give them the gold coin with a strict warning: ‘keep this gold safely.’ The participant shared that he had many gold coins due to this style and that formed a key component of his wealth.
Based on all the above learnings and the book, we conducted a session for a company which has 750+ employees. We asked them to select 15 key opinion makers in their factory from various levels & departments. A special workshop was conducted for these 15 people on:
  • How to be financial strong
  • How to practically track expenses
  • How to first invest and then spend
  • Various tips and methods to bring financial prudence

The team then discussed on practical ways on how each of them can mentor at least 10-15 people in their factory and ensure that each of them becomes financially strong. Many practical ideas came up. One immediate result reported by a participant is that after he conducted these sessions for his team, at least 20 persons have instructed HR to deduct 20% of their salary in Voluntary PF. These people wanted to do so for last 3 years but did not act. Magic has begun.

These examples may not directly suit you in current times. However it is still possible for a person to own up financial wellness of his/her team members and colleagues. That is why this mail has come to you. You may be at whatever level of financial prudence in life, you may also be at any level in your organization, you can still choose to play a role in bringing financial awareness and prosperity in people’s life around you.

We feel that in order to get best, heart level performance from your team you may want to actively encourage and handhold them to be:
  • physically fit
  • financially prudent
  • emotionally balanced with a progressive attitude

We have attempted this with a few people and got interesting results. The joy of seeing people prospering is priceless.

Wishing you prosperous times ahead for you, your family and your teams.

Warm regards,