Sunday, April 10, 2016

How much money is enough money?

I can't think of anything more subjective than the importance of money in one's life. A man who has a lot of money and poor health, will gladly exchange all his wealth for health and a man who has no money and good health, will gladly exchange all his health for wealth. In fact, majority of us do the latter everyday, just that in our endless pursuit of money, our health deteriorates slowly enough that we do not even realize until its too late.

Anyway, how much money is enough? Like stated above, this can't be a same number for all. To each his own. So, how much is enough? Luckily, our resident philosopher Seneca, whom we have been discussing in the past few weeks, did ponder over this conundrum too and does indeed have an answer.

"Do you ask what is the proper limit to wealth? It is, first, to have what is necessary, and, second, to have what is enough."

Now, this answer just blew me away. The beauty of this statement lies in its simplicity. Read it again dear readers. I have some views on this statement but I will save them for the next post. I don't want to spoil the magnificence of these lines by adding my petty two bits to it.

Take care and good luck! 

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The value of time

Let's get right to it. Here's the precursor to this blog post. I highly recommend going through it first before you go continue with this post.

I have been harping about the important of money in the previous two posts. But here is the thing about money. It is out there in abundant supply!! There is no end to it!! The government can print as much of it as it likes! And that's exactly what we have seen happening in the past few years. I know this is a gross simplification of things but the point I am trying to make here is unlike say, gold, oil, dodos or chimpanzees, money is not going to get extinct. You can actually lose your money and earn it back again! (I know what you are thinking: Even I am surprised seeing chimpanzees in that list. Fun fact: We share about 98% of our genes with chimpanzees! Bet you didn't know that).

Anyway, my attitude towards money has changed a bit ever since I have started thinking of it as there being lot of it out there and it not being a scarce commodity (The catch is you gotta know how to earn it but that's not the purpose of this post). So, equally important, or more important, is another quantity: TIME, which IS actually the most scarce quantity there is and I am talking here, about the time we spend running after money. I have actually mentioned this in a couple of earlier blog posts - 

And this is what our guide Seneca who was first mentioned in the last blog has to say about the importance of time.

"What man can you show me who places any value on his time, who reckons the worth of each day, who understands that he is dying daily? For we are mistaken when we look forward to death; the major portion of death has already passed. Whatever years be behind us are in death's hands."

Now, here I have to admit dear readers, that this just blew me away. And here's why. I don't know about you but I have always though of death as something in the future. Something that I know will surely come one day, but nonetheless, one day in the future. Never thought of death as something that is actually happening to us each and every moment that we live. If doesn't make us realize the importance of time nothing will.

Take care and good luck! 

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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Seneca as applied to personal finance

This post is going to make a lot more sense if you go through the first post of the series. Here's the link. I promise it would take you less than a minute to read it.

We were (are) basically looking for answers to how to get rid of the eternal cycle of running behind money. Sometimes it feels like the goal is just within our grasp, only for it to elude us. And then the circus begins all over again. Its not just money, its the amount of time we spend in search of it. And its not just the time you spend at work, its also the time you spend in commute and also the time you spend getting ready to go to work. And can you even put a number on the amount time you lose in the evenings just because you are too tired after an entire day of work. I don't need to tell you that these numbers really add up!

But like I said last time, I would be the last one to knock down money. When you don't have enough of it to fulfill your basic needs, its the most important thing in life. So, here we are, looking for answers. Let's make one thing clear before we go ahead - I don't have any answers or advice for you. I don't have anything to sell. I actually don't care about you enough (sorry about that!) to even try and influence your way of thinking. This is not a self help site. Actually its a blog about trading. Or finance rather. Just an average guy trying to find some meaning from it all. Surely there is more to life than just …….. (fill in the blanks as you deem fit!). If you are still interested, lets go ahead.

My readings introduced me to this guy born in 4 BC and it turns out he had some pretty relevant stuff to say. Seneca. Here is a link to his Wikipedia page if you are interested to know more about him.  Pretty interesting life. Anyway, he wrote a bunch of letters which are available in book form, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium (Latin for moral letters to Lucilius). I came across them just a few days back and was blown away on how relevant the letters were even in today's times. I am still reading the book but midway through it, I decided to blog about it, so that writing about them might help me do a better job of understanding and appreciating them, and also make them available for easy reference. Since this is a blog about finance, I am going to concentrate only on the application of the letters to personal finance.

Enough said. On to letter number one when we meet again. 

Take care and good luck! 

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