After 34 years in uniform, I walked into the civvy street in 2004.
Quite unaware of the way money is earned and spent in a city like BOMB-ay.
We were used to a ‘payslip’ from CDA which made a consistent appearance. We lived hand-to-mouth, but it was fun.
When we started a business I started realizing what money meant to people in this city
1. We conducted a team-building exercise on a beach in Goa for a very big MNC. No name. They negotiated and brought down our reasonable rate in the garb of ‘no budget.’ We were new. Client names mattered. We accepted. In the evening, at a carnival, where the participants were treated to drinks and a variety of entertainment programmes, I got to know that a ballet dancer from Brazil, got more for a 30 mins performance than we got for a full day’s training of 130 participants.
2. I was called to conduct a parenting workshop for parents and teachers by the PTA (Parents Teachers Association) of a well-known school. Everything was finalized including the cost which was Rs 500 per head. I later got a call to say that parents felt the cost was high. I asked them what they would be comfortable with. They said Rs 200. I refused to do the workshop. Not that I did not need money but I failed to understand that parents who give their kids more than this for a movie were not prepared to pay for a workshop.
3. We have many cases where the companies are not prepared to pay for training but spend lavishly on Volvo buses and DJs.
4. We always face a challenge to get children for our camps for the cost. The same parents will spend any amount on the children’s clothes, toys, entertainment, or luxuries but are hesitant to invest in their career growth or personal development.
Is it that we don’t want to spend or we can’t afford it, or we have misplaced priorities??
Do things that give us long-term values and gains get overshadowed by status symbols and brands?
When I read the article by Adam Khoo, I found a relevant connection between what I experienced and what he is saying. Kudos to Adam for putting it across so well. I will thank him separately. His article is pasted below.
I realized that money has a lot of power. Whether you spend it, waste it, utilize it, or enjoy it is your individual choice. If you can pause and ask yourself if that spending is really worth it, maybe your decisions will be wiser.
Update 10 Oct 15.
I was fortunate to be invited to be a speaker at Yellow Talks (www.YellowTalks.com) After the initial mail and my acceptance, Raghu and his two friends, Abhinav and Eshank, came to me and we had a long conversation. I was delighted to see their vision and strategy for spreading knowledge and awareness among the youth.
What a great concept !!
Raghuram and Team did a great job. These young boys had the courage to conceptualize Yellow Talks as an independently organized event for harnessing the knowledge and wisdom of some experienced people and sharing it with the youth.
Their goal is to bring together bright minds to give talks that are to share knowledge,idea-focused, and on a wide range of subjects, to foster learning, inspiration, and wonder and provoke conversations that matter.
They worked hard for 3 months. Did aggressive marketing. Contacted many speakers, interviewed them, and narrowed them down to 8.
The ticket was Rs. 400 for students and Rs. 500 for others.
Yet, in a city with about 12 crores, they could get an audience of just 50 – 60 !!
I felt sad. I had tears in my eyes.
Where are we going? What are we up to?
Go to Mc Donalds and you don’t think there is any dearth of money. the word “Affording” is derived from priorities. Why are people not ready to invest in learning?
Everyone is looking at upgraded versions – whether it is the Operating System of your computer, or your laptop, or your cell phone. You are always on the lookout for more features, higher memory, faster speed, and whatnot. Always ready to pay for that. But where is your own upgradation? When do you enhance your capabilities and skills?
I wish we can have more people think about this fundamental question and upgrade themselves.
Nice article on the Power of Money by Adam Khoo ( Singapore’s youngest millionaire at 26 yrs.)
Some of you may already know that I travel around the region pretty frequently, having to visit and conduct seminars at my offices in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Suzhou (China). I am at the airport almost every other week so I get to bump into many people who have attended my seminars or have read my books.
Recently, someone came up to me on a plane to KL and looked rather shocked. He asked, ‘How come a millionaire like you is traveling economy?’ My reply was, ‘That’s why I am a millionaire. ‘ He still looked pretty confused.
This again confirms the greatest lie ever told about wealth (which I wrote about in my latest book ‘Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires’). Many people have been brainwashed to think that millionaires have to wear Gucci, Hugo Boss, and Rolex, and fly first class. This is why so many people never become rich because the moment they earn more money, they think that it is only natural that they spend more, bringing them back to square one.
The truth is that most self-made millionaires are frugal and only spend on what is necessary and of value. That is why they are able to accumulate and multiply their wealth so much faster.
Over the last 7 years, I have saved about 80% of my income while today I save only about 60% (because I have my wife, mother-in-law, 2 kids, 2 maids, etc. to support). Still, it is way above most people who save 10% of their income (if they are lucky).
I refuse to buy a first-class ticket or to buy a $300 shirt because I think that it is a complete waste of money. However, I happily pay $1,300 to send my 2-year-old daughter to Julia Gabriel Speech and Drama without thinking twice.
When I joined the YEO (Young Entrepreneur’s Orgn) a few years back (YEO is an exclusive club open to those who are under 40 and make over $1m a year in their own business), I discovered that those who were self-made thought like me. Many of them with net worth well over $5 m, traveled economy class and some even drove Toyotas and Nissans, not Audis, Mercs, or BMWs.
I noticed that it was only those who never had to work hard to build their own wealth (there were also a few ministers’ and tycoons’ sons in the club) who spent like there was no tomorrow. Somehow, when you did not have to build everything from scratch, you do not really value money. This is precisely the reason why a family’s wealth (no matter how much) rarely lasts past the third generation.
Thank God my rich dad foresaw this terrible possibility and refused to give me a cent to start my business.
Then some people ask me, ‘What is the point in making so much money if you don’t enjoy it?’ The thing is that I don’t really find happiness in buying branded clothes, jewellery, or flying first class. Even if buying something makes me happy it is only for a while, it does not last.
Material happiness never lasts, it just gives you a quick fix. After a while, you feel lousy again and have to buy the next thing which you think will make you happy. I always think that if you need material things to make you happy, then you live a pretty sad and unfulfilled life.
Instead, what makes me happy is when I see my children laughing and playing and learning so fast. What makes me happy is when I see my companies and trainers reaching more and more people every year in so many more countries.
What makes me really happy is when I read all the emails about how my books and seminars have touched and inspired someone’s life.
What makes me really happy is reading all your wonderful posts about how this blog is inspiring you. This happiness makes me feel really good for a long time, much much more than what a Rolex would do for me.
I think the point I want to put across is that happiness must come from doing your life’s work (be it teaching, building homes, designing, trading, winning tournaments, etc.) and the money that comes is only a by-product. If you hate what you are doing and rely on the money you earn to make you happy by buying stuff, then I think that you are living a life of meaninglessness