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?

35 comments:

Devika said...

You are definitely asking too much Salil..especially being an investment banker and in times of credit crisis :)

Your explanation of inflation -- hahahah just laughing out loud :))

Nice Post, Salil..btw, you got an island, huh?? or is that our own Arabikadlinte Rani ??

wishes,
devika

Mampi said...

Well, If I ignore your unkind comment about your wife, your post was quite funny. Has she, by the way, said that you are worth less??

Usha Pisharody said...

Salil, a glimmer of laughter in tough times is sometimes the answer to earning that much more, in experience.

I guess the problem is that money is that tangible, very current, rectangle of paper :) What of the kind of wealth that does not come with tangibles?? But then it is always better to be able to enjoy it with some of the tangible kind I guess. Little mercies of life, that most often even if it's wealth that you cannot claim to own, at least you can get to spend a bit of it, even if it is to be returned.. Lol.

And yes, while you speak of the wife, I too was thinking the same thoughts as Mampi :) I wonder about the depreciation that has come about your own good self. :D!!

Refreshed, this middle of the month when I have begun counting the pennies, and end up counting stars instead... :D!!

shri ramesh sadasivam said...

You are 100% materialistic. That's why your writing is so funny. Anyhow, reading it and having a hearty laugh is 100 % spiritual. :)

Nikhil Narayanan said...

Good one maashey.
Kidilam

-Nikhil

Gazal said...

making ends meet...

well for a lot of people,it means meeting every little desire,that they ever desired.

to say that money cant buy happiness is...well foolish...most of the time time CAN buy you everything....there are those "sometimes"...it cant....it's fun hunting for those sometimes and discovering them

money money money...must be funny in a rich man's world!!!(coz in a woman's world money never stays that long...)

i know ..you must be saying...woman go write on your own blog...

Devika said...

Hi Salil,
Reading Mampi and Usha made me think..

Perhaps when i reach here to read..i keep my logic away..which makes me have a hearty laugh...

But they could be right -- perhaps your wife would feel bad if she see my laughing over that...Tell here about my idiosyncracies and insensibilities :)

but, i think i had read you saying about her comments about you in that post on outsourcing shopping...I had a good laugh at that too ...so i believe, it goes well between you two...

anyway, if my laugh was out of place...please ignore it :)

wishes,
devika

Santosh said...

very interesting read! I thoroughly enjoyed the post. Keep churning out more. :)

I Witness said...

Heyy Salil

Deleted the earlier comment to change an error ... Nice breezy read as usual .... you aren't asking for too much ...actually you may use my privet jet or my yacht ... my Armanis by the way may not fit you too well

Regards

I Witness

PS: I never knew you fancied exotic wines

Sal said...

@Devika:
Thank you for dropping by.
You are right in keeping your logic away while reading. Don’t worry, your laughter is not out of place; the definition is in a lighter vein anyway.
As of now, I don’t own an island. I am looking at a few in the Carribean. Let me know if you come across any.
PS: I am not an investment banker.

@Mampi:
Thank you.
My comment about my wife, though unkind, was the most kind on her (yes, you guessed it right, she does not read the comments section).
Oh, you want to know what she thinks about me? It will give you bouts of laughter. Let me try to write a blog about it.

@Usha:
Glad you are refreshed in the middle of the months in these tough times.
Somebody once said money is something you have to make in case you don't die.
And regarding my ‘value’ for my wife, look out for a blog on it.

@ShriRS:
Thanks. That is the most spiritual comment on this space, though I am not 100% materialistic.

@Nikhil:
Thank you maashey.
Kidikidilam comment.

@Gazal:
The funny part in the whole business of making ends meet is that nobody bothered to define ‘end’.
And yes, money can buy you a lot of things if not happiness. But then that is a wrong comparison, because neither can happiness buy you money :-)
Now I understand why Abba worded the song as rich “man’s” world.

@Santosh:
Thanks buddy.
Nice to see you here.

@iWitness:
Thank you for the offer. I know I could count on you.
PS: I don’t fancy exotic wines, or for that matter even the non-exotic ones.

Rakesh Vanamali said...

'Give me a chance to prove that I don't work for the money by giving me more'.

How very correct to ask!

I laughed out loud on the way you explained inflation to your wife!

Lol! And to think that your survived! ;)

Wonderful post! Very well written!

Roopa said...

Thank you for putting a smile on my face :). We are living in hard times indeed, and for me, it is not just money :(...everything around me is as tough as it can get.

actually, i liked the wife joke. it somehow showed how close you are to her and how certain you both are about each other. i have a similar way of deprecating myself and those i hold dear :), so struck a chord somewhere.

Ÿ∂ Μ Î ŋÎ said...

'Give me a chance to prove that I don't work for the money by giving me more'-It makes so much sense...

I bet, it takes a lot of seriousness to write a funny post on an utterly seriously ridiculous topic -Money.

Great post... :)

MAN IN PAINTING said...

Salil..dearest..
Seriously,you are becoming a master of your craft.With out any doubt i could rate this post as one of the best I ever have read on this subject.I just 'pray for talent to recognise your genius'...
A brain in which impulses can "take the curve without skidding" is moving towards rare festival destinations..happiness is one such destination..
wishes..
mip

sansmerci said...

welcome bak... been long eh?

nice one as usal .. pls write often and entertain us pls!

Gauri said...

'Give me a chance to prove that I don't work for the money by giving me more'
LOL - many of us would echo that for sure ;) Hope the relavent others are listening up;)
Nice post Salil!!

zoram said...

I like ur blog...had fun reading it :)
Hey! y dnt u use sharing engine like Tell-a-Friend so that visitor like me can easily share ur posts with frens thru mails,IMs,blogs,socialnetworking sites etc...u cn simply register on www.socialtwist.com Careful with the site type u choose..al d best : )

nimis540 said...

Hi Salil,you have been awarded :) Please visit my blog..

Will come back to read your psot..

Good day

Ganga Dhanesh said...

deja vu, Sal...i suppose it happens 'coz i listen to this 12/7 from a banker hubby :)

shail said...

Of course not Salil, you are asking for too les!! :-))))
Hilarious to say the least! Enjoyed reading!

PRG said...

Salil, Good post as usual.Where have you been? Hope you didn't run too far after money and took your own time coming back in exasperation.

Swarna said...

I won't be surprised if we go back to bartering - houses, art pieces, cars? relatives?
The past is good to go back to - an anna for your thoughts?

Cris said...

Not sure if you do tags, but you have been tagged :-)

How do we know said...

no my dear.. u r soo not asking for too much..

bigbracket said...

great post!!!

May this New Year bring many opportunities your way, to explore every joy of life and may your resolutions for the days ahead stay firm, turning all your dreams into reality and all your efforts into great achievements.
happy new year..

Cris said...

Wow an accountant who doesnt like money. Or err who doesnt like it cause he doesnt have it?
Hehe I dont know about barter system though. Noone could decide what is something really worth for exchange with something else. What if someone says alright I will buy your new T Shirt for 2 peanuts, peanuts are worth that much.

Devika said...

Hi Salil,

Wish you and family a Very Joyous and Prosperous New Year :)

too busy? see you posting soon..

devika

Prax said...

so the best thing sounds like - spend money when you have it !!

nimis540 said...

"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"

Thatz a well put statement..We never have ENOUGH money..As you say "just a little bit more'...We are never ahppy for what we have :(


Great post ..

Good day..
Nimmy

Rajesh said...

Ha...haa... It was a SCREAM!!!

Dude...my first here...U have impressed me quite a lot...must say..

That small hoarding at the top was NASTY!!! :) :)

Being an investment banker, U have got it all right!!! Bull's Eye!!

Usha Pisharody said...

Do visit here to pick up a something I have for you :)

Now this will give you an opportunity to do as His Excellency and His Ultimate Majesty, Caesar had done, as told to us by Mark Antony!

:)

Devika said...

When are you posting, my dear Salil?? :)

will keep checking...
Now "AM I ASKING TOO MUCH"??

wishes,
devika

Sal said...

@Rakesh:
Thanks for the understanding.
As they say money won't buy happiness, but it will pay the salaries of a large research staff to study the problem

@Roopa:
Yeah, we are living in hard times. How harder can it get if even people like me get away with blogging?!
Talking about depreciating jokes about oneself, my wife blames me for making depreciating jokes on her. But how can I help it, because when they asked me to keep her ‘on’ a pedestal, what I heard was keep her ‘under’ a pedestal!

@Yamini:
Thanks for passing by. As Woody Allen said : “Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons”

@MIP:
Thanks for visiting this space after a long time. And wow, appreciate your kind words sir.
By the way, talking about talent, my one regret in life is that I am not someone else!

@Sans:
It's easy to sit here and say I would like to have more money. And I guess that's what I like about it. Just sitting here, rocking back and forth, wanting all that money.
Will be back with more.

@Gauri:
Guess what, I now realize that money doesn't make one happy. My CEO currently has $50 million and he confides in me that he was just as happy when he had $49 million!

@Zoram:
Thank you. I will look up the site you mentioned.

@Ganga:
Money frees one from doing things one dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy, I suppose.

Sal said...

@Shail:
I knew I wasn’t. Thank you for agreeing.
Zsa Zsa Gabor once said, "I want a man who's kind and understanding. Is that too much to ask of a millionaire?"

@PRG:
I have been busy working. Guess why – because every morning when I get up, I look through the Forbes list of the richest people. If I'm not there, I go to work.

@Swarna:
Bartering is exactly where I would like to go back to. I am sure, without the standard for value (money) and with my wild imaginations, I could have had the best of any deal.
An anna for your thoughts, indeed.

@How do we know:
I know I am not. And you know what, money is something we have to make, in case we don’t die.

@Bigbracket:
Thank you for passing by and your kind wishes.

@Cris:
Yeah, sour grapes!
When I was young I used to think that money was the most important thing in life. Now that I am old, I know it is.
Exactly, and that is why I would love to go to a barter system. Oh what all I would have bought with my packet of peanuts?!

@Prax:
Yes, spend by all means. Because any man who has $10,000 left when he dies is a failure.

@Nimis:
Therefore, I always live within my income, even if I have to borrow to do so. But more and more these days, I find myself pondering how to reconcile my ‘net’ income with my ‘gross’ habits.

@Rajesh:
Thanks for visiting this space. Hope to see you around more often.
One of the strange things that I noticed is that the poor, who need money the most, are the very ones that never have it.
Btw, I am an accountant and not an investment banker. And quite contrary to all other times, I am glad I am not!

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