Everybody likes to be in control. And to do the things they like. Almost every second person today dreams to have his/her own business/venture. But are these dreams mere dreams? There is a famous quote - “goals are dreams seen with open eyes”. While our dreams may or may not fructify soon – the answer largely depends on one thing and one thing alone – money or wealth.
Carl Sandburg, Pulitzer prize-winning writer once remarked, “money is power, freedom, a cushion, the root of all evil... and the sum of all blessings”. True, there is a lot we can achieve with our wealth. However what comprises our wealth? To different people, wealth may mean many things. However, to summarise it well, it would be the ability to do things you desire to do.
The ability is a very wide concept and goes beyond just numbers. Coco Chanel, French fashion designer once said that “there are people who have money and then there are people who are rich.”. Thus, what you do with your money is more important. You may feel insecure and not rich even if you are a millionaire and there is an actual study done to prove this. Understand this – if your wish is to travel after becoming rich and you are not travelling today, you will never travel even after you get crores in your bank. What is stopping you today?
The truth is that wealth means different things to different people. Some are in the game for the joy or excitement of it and some are in it just to survive. The ability can also mean cover things like physical health, social network or standing giving you the power to do things which others can't. However, for most ability would mean one thing – freedom.
Johnny Carson, an American television host said that “the only thing that money gives you is the freedom of not having to worry about money.” The freedom will free you from the financial worries of day-to-day life which most of us aren't privileged to have. However, it is not impossible. The number behind this 'freedom' will change from person to person and place to place. But whatever may be this figure, the truth is that it will be only possible to achieve if you have this as your goal. You can be in control even today, you can be a CEO even today. You have an opportunity to do that – be your own CEO and get in control of your wealth.
The CEO Hat:
Now that you have your understanding of 'wealth' and a fair idea of the price of your 'freedom', let's us begin the day as a CEO. So how would you start your new journey – the journey of your wealth?
Have a vision/plan:
Having a vision of the journey, the path you want to reach is the starting point. Having a clear idea of your destination would be great. But as many new businessmen experience, either they overestimate their goal or underestimate it completely. The fact is, once you carry on the journey, the destination will also change. So you may start with say a target wealth of 10 crores. However, a few years down the line you may realise this is no longer feasible and revise it downwards to say 5 crores. Fortunately, if you are reading and implementing this article in the true spirit, you may even realise that you can even reach 20 crores !! You get the idea...
The path here is more important. There has to be a plan for everything in your life. Your wealth is perhaps the first thing in the list and something which is greatly in your control. How about a proper detailed 'Financial Plan' which covers all your financial goals, your assets, liabilities, your risk protections?
Invest in yourself:
Every business invests in itself – be it a shopkeeper or a big business conglomerate. But as a person are you investing in yourself? Times are changing and there is no guarantee today that any business or profession today will stay relevant after even say 5 years. It is a new reality of a highly competitive business environment challenged by disruptions daily. Your only way out – invest in yourself. It can be either learning or building a network or marketing yourself in a positive light, creating a social standing, and so on. There are enough opportunities around you to learn and build your network. Remember, if you are skilled and knowledgeable, have a good network, you may never fail in life.
Watch your budget and cash-flows
As the CEO of your wealth, you need to have a budget for everything you do. Have a budget for your living expenses, for your entertainment, for learning and most importantly – your saving or investments. Perhaps you can start managing your budget by allocating funds to living expenses and savings to start with. Ideally, your savings must be at least 25% of your post-tax income. The higher it is the better. Work out the other figures in relation to this. Many people do make a budget but fail when it comes to implementation. One idea on effective implementation of your budget is to have a very close watch on your cashflows. Spend some time to track these cashflows to stay on top of your budget. You may take some bold decision like – STOP the use of credit cards altogether. This is one advice which Warren Buffet (google if you don't know) gave when asked what advice he has for youngsters. It may apply to you too.
Hire /associate with good people:
A successful business is not built by one person alone. It takes a team. To be successful, you too will need to have a good team. The team will include people like your gym or yoga instructor, your spiritual guru, your doctor, lawyer, accountant and when it comes to money – your financial advisor. Everyone you consult has a role to play in your life, irrespective of how many times you are interacting with them. We would suggest that you have good people with you and invest in building this network. On a financial front, having a good financial advisor will take care of a lot of things when it comes to wealth creation, preservation and distribution. We would strongly suggest that you outsource these things and not do this dedicated, expert activities yourself.
John Rockefeller, America's first billionaire once said that “if your goal is to become rich, you'll never achieve it”. Your focus should be pursuing the thing you like doing the most. Try and navigate your life's journey into doing so. A lot many people have changed professions careers in life to settle at things they love the most. The most successful in life are those who have done it. However, running merely after the idea of getting more money doesn't work for many. To create wealth or happiness or even a life, being in control and thinking like a CEO is perhaps the way to go.