Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Want to be rich? - Part 1

I am an anti-thesis of Robert Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

Reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad is thrilling. It is so well written that you start believing that you also can become rich. So what of me?

I have serialized the mistakes I made that perhaps has prevented me from becoming rich.

Some of you will identify with me: to them I would advise not to follow me.
Others will take a lesson from my shortcomings.
And by bringing myfear out in the open, I will change, ahem!

Basically, what I trying to do is introspecting into why I could not break out.

My father came from a huge family. He had 11 brothers and 3 sisters (Big family! What fun! In contrast I am single child.)

I grandfather was a lawyer in the town of Dhanbad.
I am told that he detested telling lies. So, one fine day, he decided he will stop practising law.
By then his eldest son started working (as a lawyer!!) but the overall income fell.
So the living standard suffered. This was pre-independent India.

My father left home at 16 to join the Indian Air Force (IAF). He was 6 ft and had - others have told me - a V-shaped body.

Someone once challenged him to a boxing bout and beat the hell out of him.
He resolved to take up boxing.
He went on to become the Air Force Boxing champions in various weight category.
He became known as 'Boxer Mukherjee'.

His boxing career ended after he married. My mother says that my father had near zero bank balance when she got married to my father.

In other words, he enjoyed his life as a bachelor. Boxing and enjoying life!
Mother then took charge of the household. She started saving pennies. This was early sixties. There was not much scope of investments in India.

Savings was all that was possible. She saved enough. Insured father's life. The insurance matured before father's death and with that money we purchased 'colour' TV and refrigerator.

This was when I reached college.
My parents managed to build a house from the savings and loan.
They managed to get me through school and college education.
And when father died in 1986 she did not have to ask money from anybody.
I am very proud of my parents.

My childhood has been a happy childhood. I was never denied any request.
But at the same time we never splurged. And we never went beyond budget.
People in Airforce cannot be called poor. But they are not rich either.
And we always saved. Banking was something that I learned fairly early.

So saving money is embedded somewhere in my brain.
Investment is risky, losing money is no fun.
Future is uncertain, so save money.

Over the years I have found it very difficult to tear myself away from the fear that arises from losing money.
Today, perhaps, I can afford risky investments.
However, most of my investments go into relatively safe instruments.

So what is Lesson #1.

To become rich you need to reformat your memory.
My parents did what they could do best according to their circumstances.
I should have done / should do what I can do best according to my circumstances.


Wait for my next post for Lesson #2.

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