Friday, December 5, 2008

A Valuable post

The only advantage of living in the past is that the rents are much cheaper

Money is a serious matter and often, people are willing to kill each other over it. Money is always there, but the pockets change. Still, that doesn't stop bringing a chuckle or two to me when I mull over my financial condition, which can be best described as fluid, because it is always running down the drain. But after all, we all need some giggles in our lives – on a regular basis – and money, or rather the quest for it, often provides me mine.

Some people think money cannot buy happiness. Is it possible that they did not know where to shop? But my contention is that it is a bad argument for neither can happiness buy you money. My point is that if money cannot buy happiness, it at least can make the misery more enjoyable. My boss keeps reminding me that I should not work for the money and I am always tempted to reply, 'Give me a chance to prove that I don't work for the money by giving me more'.

We would not have had the current paper money system if the barter system was not overthrown (I believe if ebay was around then, we would still be living in a barter system). And we would all have been happy. But devil infringed upon society with the abstract money concept, and so much that banks started pulling out money from thin air through securitisation, leveraging, etc (oh, don't get me going on this!)

As an accountant one of the first things I learned was about the time value of money, i.e. the value of money is going down; every year, every day, every minute. In fact, by the time you finish reading this blog, your personal wealth would have diminished in value. You will realise how fast the value of money is eroding when you see youngsters today getting salaries in their first job what you dreamed of getting by the end of your career.

I always wondered how it was possible for money to lose its value. Then I realized that though you ‘gave your two cents’, but it's only a ‘penny for your thoughts’? See how one penny vanished in the bargain. Guess who takes it – government, in the form of inflation, by printing more currency.

Inflation is like sin; every government denounces it but every government practices it. Inflation is when you pay fifteen dollars for the ten-dollar haircut you used to get for five dollars when you had hair. I explained inflation to my wife as: "When we got married, you measured 32-26-34. Now you're 36-34-40. There is more of you, but you are not worth as much!" I wonder if I could invest in inflation in some way because it seems to be the only thing going up these days.

After making a lifetime of savings my mother-in-law has enough money to last the rest of her lifetime; unless she buys something. If this is the condition, I wonder how much money is considered enough money? My wife and I always, after doing complex calculations on multiple spreadsheets, arrive at it as ‘just a little bit more’. It is winter here and they have moved the clock an hour back. But I don't mind going back to daylight saving time. With inflation, the hour will be the only thing I've saved all year.

It is said that a college education can add many thousands of dollars to a man's lifetime income - which he then spends sending his son to college. Reminds me of the joke - A tour guide was showing a tourist around Washington DC. The guide pointed out the place where George Washington supposedly threw a dollar across the Potomac River. "That's impossible," said the tourist. "No one could throw a coin that far!" "You have to remember," answered the guide. "A dollar went a lot farther in those days."

Making ends meet has been the biggest struggle for mankind. I have always found that by the time I earn enough to do so, somebody keeps moving the ends. In fact, I am living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart.

I'm tired of hearing about money, money, money, money, money. I just want to travel in my private jet to my island, play golf, drink some exotic wine, wear Armani and relax in the pool in my mansion. Am I asking too much?