Wealth and Trusteeship

Posted: June 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Financial Advice | No Comments »

(This article has been reprinted from Navrang Times. The author is unknown.)

Sri Aurobindo says: “All wealth belongs to God and those who hold it are trustees.” Roman Rolland opines: “This thing must be put bluntly: every man who has more than necessary for his livelihood is a thief.”

Albert Einstein puts it more mildly: “It is everyone’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.”

All of us have been born on the earth with a particular object, with a definite purpose—to serve humanity. We are here with a sublime mission to make this world more beautiful, to make it a better place to live in, to serve fellow human beings.

Someone has said: “We are here for the sake of others.” No life is really happy until it is helpful. He indeed gets the most out of life who does his utmost to elevate mankind.

Nothing really belongs to us. Whatever comes into our possession, we are in possession of it only in the capacity of a trustee. Andrew Carnegie believed that the rich had a moral obligation to give away their fortunes for the common good of all. He asserted that all personal wealth beyond a family’s needs should be regarded as a trust for the benefit of the community.

In the words of Phillips Brooks, “No man has come to true greatness who has not felt in some degree that his life belongs to humanity and that what God gives him, He gives him for mankind.” The philosopher Voltaire says: “I know of no great persons except those who have rendered great services to the human race.”

The central problem facing the world today is how to satisfy our ever increasing wants and needs. Gandhi believed in the doctrine of non-possession, i.e., voluntary dispossession of wealth and worldly goods beyond basic and daily needs. He once said: “We have enough to satisfy man’s needs but not enough to satisfy man’s greed.” He would say: “It is sinful to multiply one’s wants unnecessarily.”

Orison Swett Marden opines: “No one will live long in the world’s memory who has not done something besides selfishly grasping and hoarding wealth or working within the narrow sphere of personal interest and ambitions.”

Money itself has very little to do with happiness. Some of the most wretched persons in the world have been very rich. They could have everything that money could buy, but their money didn’t buy them happiness. It didn’t bring contentment or harmony into their homes.

The world never honors the greedy and selfish; it only cherishes the memory of those who have illustrated in their lives the highest human values. The man who lives for his self alone, whose life is not of value to the whole community, is a colossal failure.

People may make millions and still be utter failures. Making a life is more important than making a living. The rich have no business to indulge in vulgar display of wealth when the poor lack such basic necessities as drinking water. To quote Orison Swett Marden again: “A large part of the immorality and crime in the world is due to the influence of the ostentation of flaunting of wealth in the face of those less favored. It is a powerful undermining force in our civilization. No rich person has a right to set an example which will demoralize others. Our rights to extravagance cease when they injure others.”

The Holy Vedas say: “The Lord does not favor the rich who refuse to share their wealth with the needy and poor. The rich man who does not utilize his wealth for noble deeds or does not offer it for the use of his fellow-beings, is selfish and has earned the wages of sin. Horded wealth eventually proves to be the cause of his ruin.”

Path to Success

Posted: March 20th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Financial Advice | No Comments »

“They did it.” “It’s their fault.” “The banks caused the downfall. It’s all the greed on Wall Street.”

No. It’s not ‘they’ or ‘them.’ It’s not the greed of ‘the banks’ or ‘the people’ on Wall Street. No. It all boils down to ‘little me.’

‘Me, my, and mine’ are the root of the problem. In other words, it’s an ‘ego’ thing.

Everyone wants to blame someone or something for their problems, but the simple truth is that “We are the problem; we are the solution.” To fully understand this, you need to turn little ‘me’ upside down.

You (and I) need to get out of our comfort zone. It is time to stop placating ourselves. It is time to look within and recognize that ‘we are in our own way.’ To get our self out of the way means to remove our ego from the mind. As long as the ego-infection remains, that long we remain in desperation.

Our ego is made-up of images—mental superimpositions, unrealistic expectations, and selfish motives. Who created ego? We created ego—each and every one of us is the maker of our own fate. If we are a fatalist, it is our own ego that makes us so. We can be positive or we can be negative. We can be realistic or unrealistic. We can be happy or we can be in our ego. It is our choice, and each of us is the sum total of the choices we have made.

Things may be really messed-up, but it doesn’t mean we have to let what’s going on outside get inside of us. The mind is inside, and what goes on outside is also going on inside, but only if we are in our ego—in other words, only if we are identified with it.

Ego is the identification of consciousness (awareness) with the mind and body. The identification occurs naturally due to our association with them. We (conscious beings) are identified with the mind and body because of our association with the world of mind (subtle matter) and matter (gross matter). This sets the stage for the Drama of Existence, the Sport of Life.

As living beings (embodied consciousness) we are engaged in the Game of Life for the purpose of experiencing (expressing) our Essence. This is what it’s all about. It’s not all about getting rich or becoming famous or important. The real aim of our existence is to manifest our Real Nature through the Art of Life. We are the most creative when we are the most egoless. Hence, it is essential that we reduce and ultimately eliminate our own ego. This is our real work, and it requires effort and persistence. Those who prevail ultimately succeed in perfecting their nature. This is the real success.

Our success is not dependent on anyone else but ourselves. Our success is not hampered by ‘they’ or ‘them’—it is hindered only by the presence of our own ego. The recognition of this fact is the first step on the pathway of true success.

Why I do what I do. . .

Posted: March 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Financial Advice | No Comments »

I am a Financial Advisor for two reasons: I can help people and also earn a good living. I can genuinely help people through comprehensive financial planning and careful asset management. There is always someone I can help—it could be the person I am speaking with, or it may be someone they love or care about.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of sharing investment insights, or providing information about 529 education savings accounts. Maybe it’s helping someone wisely invest an inheritance, or perhaps helping someone pass on their wealth by employing a capital transfer strategy (minimizing tax consequences and maximizing the amount of money passed on).

There are many various ways I help people—people going through a life-changing event, or people saving for retirement or building up a business. Maybe it’s just giving someone a second set of eyes and introducing them to new investment ideas and tax-saving strategies.

Some of the people I work with are savvy investors—or at least they are knowledgeable investors. But perhaps they want to step back from what they’ve been doing, and would like someone like myself to simplify and streamline their financial life. Sometimes they are just looking for more structure or safety to be added to their financial picture.

I can’t help all the people all the time, but I can definitely help everyone some of the time, and some of the people all of the time—there is always someone I can help with something.

That’s why I am doing what I am doing.

Financial Wellness

Posted: February 20th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Financial Advice | No Comments »

The things we value the most in life usually don’t have a price tag on them.  However, financial ‘wellness’ is necessary to secure and protect those ‘things,’—like our children’s education, a healthy environment and our own physical and mental well-being.

If a person follows a ‘wellness program,’ they can avoid a lot of mental and physical problems in life.  Similarly, if we follow a ‘financial wellness program’ in the form of a comprehensive financial plan, we can enhance and protect our financial health and well-being.

Life is filled with uncertainties and no one knows for sure what the future holds. But that doesn’t mean we should just depend on our luck.  The only way to increase our chances for success is to plan for the future by being proactive NOW.

Our foresight (and insight) should be sharper than our hindsight. This is only possible if we take the necessary time to evaluate our present situation and decide or consider where we want to be 5 years from now, the next decade—or even 50 years from now.  Then we need to determine how we’re going to get there.

You might have heard the saying: It’s the doing that does it, and it’s the delivering that delivers it. In the same way, the only way to realize our dreams is to realize them, which means to bring them to life.

The way to actualize our dreams is to turn them into goals and act upon them. This means setting goals, constructing a plan, and implementing it.   From time to time, it may be necessary to modify the plan when new opportunities present themselves, or our goals change, or our life changes in unexpected ways.

As your personal financial advisor, I will guide you through this process.  We will work together to translate your dreams into reality.  With my knowledge and experience, and using the various financial instruments available today, we will construct a solid financial plan—a roadmap to success.

One of the most important elements of financial planning is to closely track your financial picture and make adjustments as necessary.  As your financial advisor, it is important for me to track results and fine tune the plan as required.  This is one of the most valuable aspects of the personal financial advice and planning that I provide.

The complimentary initial consultation is the first important step in this process. During this meeting we will conduct a brief financial check-up and determine if we feel we can work together successfully.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. To set up a time to meet, go to my Linked In page, and then click on the link to My Company.

The Best Wealth Management is Health Management

Posted: February 20th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Financial Advice | No Comments »

If you are managing your health, you are on the road to wealth management, because Health is Number One.

Health means well-being, it means being well.  Wellness is impossible if we ignore the basic elements of sound health: good diet, clean air, sufficient exercise, and self-introspection.  Introspection means to inspect the inner workings of our own mind.  When we understand who and what we really are, we are not inclined to ‘play against the home team.’

‘Home is where the heart is.’  If our heart is in our head we will feel like desperados in this world.  If our heart is in Wisdom (Truth), our mind will be wise and we will not have any hang-ups.

The ego-infected mind makes us betray our self. When the mind is ruled by ego we lack power of discernment and do things which are not conducive to our well-being. Consequently, we feel depressed, annoyed, anxious, and disgusted.   We are not happy campers when our mind is in bed with our ego.

So, we should get out of our head and get out of bed!  We need to keep working on ourselves (becoming better than we were yesterday), and keep exercising.  Then we will have both wealth and health.