MANAGING THYSELF AND MONEY

I’ve been picking on the book Rules of Life for more than a year now, promised to blog only 4 topics from the book but unabashedly did 8. I short, broke my promise much like a politician and decided enough is enough 😦 . Last week however I chanced upon the sequel to the Rules series – The Rules of Wealth– and thought it was interesting couldn’t resist the urge to buy it and blog about it. With a rule limited to 2 pages, you could read this book with its 100 rules in one day. Now that’s the kind of book I like to read – simple, no need to get a dictionary or thesaurus – it takes me back to my elementary grade years and makes reading extremely enjoyable πŸ™‚

Here’s a rule that I thought was spot on and hit the bulls eye :

Rule 18 : It Is Harder To Manage Yourself Than To Manage Your Money

quote

So how well do you know yourself? Pretty Well? Not at all? Vaguely? We think we know ourselves until we come to give up smoking, lose weight, get fit, get rich. And then we realize we are lazier, have less will power, less determination, make less effort, get too easily dissuaded, fall by the wayside too early.

If I wanted to tuck you under my wing and make you wealthy, the first thing I would ask is: “Do you have what it takes to be wealthy? Are you determined enough? Will you work hard enough? Will you stick at it? Do you have backbone? Stamina? Guts? Relentless focus? You see if you don’t, the chances are you won’t succeed. I am not trying to put you off. I am trying to make you see, that making money is a skill that can be taught – as long as the person is ready to learn and apply themselves diligently.

If you decided you wanted to win Wimbledon you would have to start playing tennis when you were about five and have been winning junior championships by the time you were fourteen. It is the same with money. You can’t expect an over-weight, middle aged person to suddenly be in the final.

When I was a young struggling student, I once sold a valuable book so I could eat. I made a direct choice between owning something that was going to increase in value, and thus potentially making me wealthy, and having a slap up meal for one. You see what I mean ? In essence, chose – at that time anyway – to be poor rather than wealthy. I saw the same book recently, in a bookshop and, believe me, I made a bad call that day.

And what I have noticed is that the wealthy – when they are starting out anyway- have enormous drive and are prepared to make enormous sacrifices. They manage themselves and forego instant rewards for bigger payback in the long term. Self-control and delayed gratification are useful arts to learn.

unquote

The author’s example of selling a valuable book so he can enjoy a gourmet meal is akin to selling your blue chip stocks so you can go on a vacation. The impluse for instant gratification could be too much to resist that you waste opportunity to reap wealth to feed an instatiable appetite. When the author mentions delayed gratification I am reminded of a suggestion that we must always sleep on a craving and see if it is still there the next day. I have many times refrained from buying something I really want, slept over it a couple of nights and see if I really want it. It does work but on ocassion it merely prolongs he agony and when it does so, it’s time to buy it πŸ™‚ It’s better to be un-wealthy than to go ballistic πŸ™‚ The reality is, most of the things we buy are those that we don’t really need.

About six years ago, I was invited by a friend to attend a network marketing presentation at the house of the Pinoy president of the business venture. His large house situated in an opulent neighborhood in the suburbs, no less than 6500 sq. feet in size had a full sized tennis court, a large pool and an outdoor spa and there were about 60 guests like me sitting a conference type setting at a large solarium beside the large, oversized kitchen area. The kitchen had lots of Pinoy dishes in the heated casseroles. This was a regular Sunday setting, where Pinoys congregate to listen to the man’s sales pitch. There was no obligation – the food was free and all you had to do was listen to the man talk. I distinctly remember the man pull out a wad of 20 dollar bills from his pocket, held his hand and said ” those of you who were able to sell today, you get 20 bucks bonus of every unit sold. Just present me the receipt.” A bunch of people stood up and went to the front to claim their bonus.

The short end of the story is – this manΒ peddled everything from encyclopedias, to casseroles and skillets, wheeled and dealt and dabbled in all sorts of business ventures until he reached the pinnacle of success and achieved wealth. One thing that I sense with wealthy people is they don’t seem have the compulsion to stop and declare contentment. The adrenalin is ever flowing. It could be greed but they’re not known to say – ” oh, I have 100 million and I’ll just spend this money until I die”.

HERE COMES THE SUN


I’ve bitten by blog laziness lately and perhaps it is due to the weather that had been improving for the past 2 weeks. The landscaping job on my front and back yards last fall is slowly manifesting its form and I’m looking forward to buy more plants this spring. More importantly, the thought of teeing off with buddies this weekend for the next 6 months had brought some excitement. I’m planning to take the family to the Tulip Festival in Ottawa this spring and possibly a trip to Quebec City.Β  Well, for %$^&’s sake, I actually have a life ! πŸ™‚ Driving around town during the weekend which had been for the most part sunny and increasingly warmer at a Baguio-ish weather of 15 deg C is definitely refreshingΒ compared miserable single digit temperatures and sight of that cold and icy white stuff.Β 

Last Sunday we visited a couple of fully furnished 2.5 million dollar homes – the top prizes for the annual fund raising lottery for cancer research being organized by a hospital here.Β  The houses on the lottery draw are always on open house for the public to view.Β  They were large, 4 door garages houses and since I don’t fear ghosts, I could live there πŸ™‚ After all it comes with a spanking brand new Mercedez C300Β at the driveway – that’s enough incentive I guess πŸ™‚ Tickets ( 100 bucks)Β are limited to keep the odds in winning a prize to 1 in 10 – not bad for a noble cause.

Β Spring’s arrival is excruciatingly slow for an impatient dude like me but it’s okay. Β It’s going to be 20 deg next week and I’m definitely raising my middle finger to ol’ winter man. Shorts, flips flops and hats better get ready. πŸ™‚

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41 Responses

  1. Now I know I can’t be filthy rich. I just live on a day to day basis πŸ™‚

    100 bucks? That’s stiff 😦

  2. I’m an impulsive buyer, somtimes πŸ™‚
    Nice house. too big for me though. I need all my family to live there with me πŸ™‚

  3. Really nice post. I enjoyed reading it.

  4. One thing I noticed about the self-made millionaires (and I know a couple of them) is that they are really driven, almost to obsession, to make as much money with whatever means… which is okay, really. Unfortunately, most of them never lived that long to enjoy the fruits of their labors… but their children did.

    Whoa! a 2.5M house and a Benz? and for a hundred bucks a ticket? I would gladly wager that amount, bro. BTW, are the prizes tax-paid? πŸ˜€

  5. you’re right! and it’s even harder if one has obtained wealth as the next question is…how to maintain it? it’s even harder, so they don’t stop. πŸ™‚

    buy me one ticket and if it’s lucky, i’ll pay the 100 dollars…hahahaha

  6. I can’t be wealthy. I want to enjoy life on a day-to-day basis and reward myself with “things I don’t really need” every now and then. Hehe. I know of a rich Chinese couple who toiled day in and day out. They’re billionaires now and very old to enjoy their wealth.

  7. Money may be the husk of many things but not the kernel. It brings you food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; acquaintance, but not friends; servants, but not loyalty; days of joy, but not peace or happiness.
    -Henrik Ibsen-

  8. “we must always sleep on a craving and see if it is still there the next day.”

    In a lot of ways, my father used this principle to train me on how to save for the future. The “craving” served, and still serves, as the motivation to make myself better be it in school or in my job. Please don’t get me wrong. Unlike the person in your example, I do stop every once in a while to smell the roses. I also enjoy the simple pleasures in life. I don’t work myself to death just for the sake of money. That would be a very empty and shallow life then.

    When it comes to spending, we always need to differentiate between what we need and what we want. We also need to know the difference between what we can buy and what we can truly afford.

    Great post, bro!

  9. This reminds me of how my father always advised me to sacrifice, foregoing instant pleasure as long as I have money in my pocket, saving it till it grows.

    I couldn’t forget his words. Honestly, I still find it hard to follow this advise, even now that he’s gone. But I am trying my best. it ain’y easy I tell you, bro.

  10. Ryan – it is incredibly difficult to get wealthy isn’t it ? We can live richly without getting wealthy πŸ™‚

    It’s stiff I agree but if you don’t win any prize, it still goes to a worthy cause.

  11. Irrealis – all of us are impluse buyers I think. It’s spacious – yes you would need people to keep you company so you won’t get lonely πŸ™‚

  12. Ewok – thanks for the compliment and I am equally happy πŸ™‚

  13. Sngl – that’s what sets them apart – the obsession. We can look at Henry Sy and Lucio Tan’s story and they burnt the midnight oil to get to where they are. Their kids will be of a different mold because these people will never need to stuff money in their wallets for the rest of their lives. Their utmost concern is how to keep their wealth in perpetuity, when they’re long gone from this world.

    Yes – it’s tax free. All lottery winnings in Canada is tax free – this is the only thing that isn’t taxed in this country. You get 3 tickets for $250. If you win, all you got to do is bring your suitcase with you and your grocery bags – it’s fully furnished top to bottom πŸ™‚

  14. Ipanema – absolutely and that’s what drive these wealthy people nuts – how to perpetuate their riches. And as the saying goes, money begets money and the more you have, the more it grows.

    Hahaha.. if you can guarantee the win, I’ll do it and let’s sell the house and make a cool million each πŸ™‚

  15. Abaniko – it’s never too late to become wealthy they say. The richest man in Canada – Roy Thomson made his first million when he was 59. Now his grandson had taken over the Thomson empire’s helm, after two generations. But you’re right – the more money you have the restless you fear losing it and your speculations for making more money with risky deals can give you sleepless nights.

  16. Sidney – I like that quote a lot πŸ™‚ As they say, we can all live richly without being wealthy but by just spending wisely. Incidentally, the book also has a rule with the relationship between money and happiness.

  17. Panaderos – I’m like that too. I go ways to reward myself but we all know our limits. Just like a yearly medical checkup, we also need a yearly financial checkup I think hehe πŸ™‚

  18. Major Tom – self control is important and rewarding yourself is equally important. I think what the author means is sometimes we divest of assets that would potentially bring us wealth to finance our cravings – perhaps an expensive painting that would appreciate in value or shares of stock – just so we can fulfill our craving.

    The book also has a rule on penny pinching, that small economies won’t really bring you wealth but make you miserable.

  19. this is a great post, bw.

    personally, i see to it that i make regular financial checks on my spending. it takes a lot of will to forego of something you really, really want. but with the right amount discipline (am still brushing up on that skill), one would be able to manage spending and reap better benefits in the long run.

  20. I don’t think I will ever become wealthy. I’m too generous. LOL!

  21. Whew. Now I know why I can’t be wealthy. I just cannot control myself. πŸ˜‰

  22. I’m easy to please: I just want my own washing machine and dryer (LOL). I don’t want to deal with Swiss neighbors anymore with regard to the key to the communal laundry room.

    Well, I’m the type of gal who would forego instant gratifications for a bigger payback in the long term. So here’s hoping (and praying) that we’ll have our own house someday — before I turn 65, that is. πŸ™‚

    *****

    Wow, tulip festival! I’ve always wanted to go to one, probably in the Netherlands.

    Enjoy spring, BW!

  23. i say health is wealth

    short message bro, shamelessly i tagged you:
    http://dagboek.thesserie.com/8-random-facts/

    have a good weekend!

  24. Mari – thanks. That discipline is an educational pursuit of a lifetime in my opinion, much like golf and tennis, where you can play it all your life and you think you haven’t improved that much πŸ™‚

  25. Lawstude – same here. I don’t know why I have three golf bags with full sets when I have been playing for only six years, twenty fishing rods, ten wrist watches. In restrospect, it wasn’t a wise move 😯

  26. Jayred – I’m sure you will get your dream house with the latest washer and dryer technology πŸ™‚ Yes, spring is here and I’ve parked our winter jackets in the basement :). The tulip festival in Ottawa (the capital of Canada, about 4 hrs from here) is sometime in May and geez, I’ve been here for a while now but never visited it, not even once !

  27. Thess – absolutely and wholeheartedly agree with you. No amount of wealth can buy wealth.

    It is my pleasure that you tagged me sis. I have done a tag like this before but we never run out of random facts about us don’t we? hehe. For this, I will have to treat you to a glorious cup of kopi luwak πŸ™‚

  28. OOPS – no amount of wealth can buy health !

  29. Great entry, BW! Sobrang tinamaan ako!

    ***

    I have a feeling I’m in the “struggling” stage sleeping over instant gratification.

    And yes, I’m hoping I have the strength and will power to overcome it.

    I’d like to think that what I’m doing now is going to be worthwhile in the future.

  30. thanks for the lead. i’ll buy the book and gulp it down–mentally, that is, until i’m full enough to be able to work my butt off and really be rich πŸ™‚

  31. You say a cup of kopi luwak? If you make it two then I shall bring a whole 20″ x 20″ Wasabi-Pandan cake (para may pangbara *lol*)

    thanks! πŸ˜€

  32. Jeff – same here, bulls-eye din ako πŸ™‚

    It’s hard to control our emotions sometimes and sleeping over a craving only means you are giving a chance for logic to step in and give its say πŸ™‚

  33. Barry – sometimes I feel it’s more of a mind set. Some people just have the knack to amass money. I got a staff who is a very regular looking guy – buys a second hand car all the time, brings his lunch daily, doesn’t wear designer clothes but we found out his house is fully paid and he owns a convenience store πŸ™‚

    Now I’m not so sure if he is living a great life but it does give you an idea of what you may have missed, for those among us who don’t take the future for granted πŸ™‚ This guy surely did it faster than most people πŸ™‚

  34. Thess – strange combination indeed .. is wasabi-pandan cake good? hehe πŸ™‚ I bet only for the adventurous πŸ™‚

  35. Rhodora – I just recovered your comments from my spam section ! Not sure what happened there :blush:

    There’s an excellent post by Mari about sharing and that is we should generally share the overflows of our cup which makes a lot of sense πŸ™‚

    We cannot however never question a man’s generosity because it is a personal conviction -good for you and you will be blessed πŸ™‚

  36. i just wanted enough not to go begging, or molesting other people for my needs. when i die, i cant even bring a penny. it’s nice to dream though once in a while.

  37. goes to show you can never really judge a book by its cover haha πŸ™‚

  38. Bing – incidentally, the book also has a rule on “you can’t take them all” to your grave πŸ™‚

    It is definitely possible to “live richly” without being wealthy 😎

  39. Barry – yes, you bet. There’s people who “keep it under their hat” so to speak πŸ™‚

  40. During my younger days lahat na yata seminars tunkol selling, networking ay napasok ko. katulad ng iba it was my obsession to get rich kahit hindi famous. But later on I realized na hindi pala sapat na formula yang mga pinag-aaralan at karanasan sa pagyaman ng isang tao talagang may isang common factor lahat ng naging sucessful yung tinatawag na LUCK. Pag wala sa iyo yan kahit anong sipag at tiyaga ang gawin mo hindi ka yayaman.

  41. Ysrael – some people are indeed luckier than others that’s why many Asian cultures are into seeking favors from their gods to get that stroke of luck.

    Meron din ka kasabihan, that “luck is an opportunity turned into an account”. It follows therefore that those who take advantage of every opportunity given to them are likely to get lucky 😎

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