Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Millionaire.... 2B or not 2B

Grab a couple of dollars and fly into Zimbabwe. Voila! you become a millionaire. This perhaps is easiest way to become a millionaire today. But sometimes it better not to take the easy route. The challenge is to retire as one and that too in dollars term. Till yesterday Zimbabwe and its millions has been a party joke. Now with recession staring at our faces it is not easy any more to laugh at others. The relatively younger generation with lot of determination and a bit of prudence can still work out a plan to end up in a comfortable situation at their retirement. Though the big question is how? Lets try to think together how that can be achieved. The bigger question is what does people who are nearing retirement do. I still havn't found an answer.

Now lets find out what a person presently going through mid-life crisis do to secure a comfortable retired life. All will agree taht every one dreams to be a millionaire before they hang the boots. But it is not easy and it requires a lot of hard work and perseverance to get any where near that goal. Here is an attempt to put together a few important points....

The first and the most important mantra is the one that has been told and retold by your insurance agent over and over again. Nobody plans to fail, but plenty of people fail to plan. No matter how commonplace it might sound, it is the most important formula that works for all walks of life with a exception of maybe gambling.

The second important thing is to take chances in life but never gamble. There is a thin line which might get blurred at your convenience. So steer out of that.

Third comes setting up of the target. Be realistic about the inflation that is going to happen over the coming years. To get an idea of how money devaluates speak to your dad and find out what was the living expenses 20 -25 years back. I can assure you that the cost will move northwards , so factor in your safety quotient.

Start saving immediately. The needs no further illustration. Do today what you thought could be put back to tomorrow.

Get aggressive and allocate part of the investments in calculative risky asset. Fixed income generating vehicle will not let your wealth grow much as the inflation is going to bite into the chunk of that income

Try to invest in income generating assets. This will give you more freedom to think and act freely.

Set milestones along the entire period of your investment tenure. Monitor that you are not deviating from your target. Modify the path if and when necessary.

Differentiate between asset and liability. Investing with borrowed funds could well turn to be a liability rather than an asset.

Watch your spending. Restrict your impulsive buying habits and go for things that you need rather than that you want. Wait for discount sale to pick up those branded stuff you have been looking for.

Try to supplement your income by letting your hobbies and passions generate some extra income for you. Let your writing or painting or crafts get some extra revenue into your kitty.

Keep your cool. There is no shortcut to making money... any such thing simply does not exist

And finally try to save more than you had targeted........... when time come you will only be too happy to have those extra bucks.........

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Stay At Home Dads

Just a few weeks back I was reading a rather interesting article in a local magazine. It spoke about a subject that till recently was not such an acceptable social trend in our society, but things surely seems to have changed with the turn of the century. Well, the article was about "stay -at-home dads". Let me try and give a bit of insight into the concept. Its about men who are not at work everyday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and they seem to be growing in number as well as popularity (conceded Margaret Thatcher was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979-1990). According to British Government statistics, 20,000 men in the UK embrace househusbandhood. Amazing! Well one can check out either www.rebeldad.com or www.slowlane.com for further details. Once I was through with that piece my reaction was perhaps a bit different than others. Oh wow! Is this official now? This is what I uttered to myself.
I had started my architectural career with a high profile interior designer. While she used to be very busy meeting people & making presentations around the globe, the man of the household used to stay perched at home most of the time except when he was taking the children out for riding or private classes. We used to secretly refer to him as Mr. Househusband. After all in the early nineties a househusband was not a very common sighting in urban India. So quite justifiably all those "hiss hiss & huss huss" kept our rumor mill grinding. As time passed, we realized that to be an urban househusband one has to have zillions of money, decent enough to sustain a golf lifestyle (at least in urban India). Financed out of wife's purse is definitely not easy to come not unless you happen to belong to one of the few places like in the northeast India where you might be lucky! Women there traditionally works hard to earn the bread for the family, she also earns the wine for her husband while the husbands eat, drink, gamble and make merry!
It is True, there are instances of one partner (read the husband) opting out of work as the other had more growth opportunity. It must be difficult being a househusband as compared to his female counterpart when one considers the aspects of parenting, the social pressures (like answering questions like what do u do for living etc.)
Will some one as successful as the Pepsi Co head will be comfortable with a househusband who keeps himself busy with charity organizations and social commitments? Probably, anyone might hazard a guess! However unmasculine it might sound, Yours truly has had waited for such an offer; which never came through...