Timeless Money Lessons from Laxmi Ji
Around this time before Diwali, it is a popular belief that Laxmi ji visits only those homes and offices which are clean and organized.
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With Diwali around the corner, the beloved and revered Laxmi Ji was the first image that popped up in her mind. Since Indian Mythology uses metaphors and analogies to convey important messages, here is how the has deciphered the Ancient Wealth Code.
1) Financial Knowledge is the real Power- Laxmi Ji is often shown to be seated confidently on a beautifully blossomed Lotus flower. Lotus represents the’ lotus Chakra’ also called the ‘Crown Chakra’ at the top of the head. This chakra signifies enlightenment. Financial knowledge is the foundation to good money management skills. One should make sure that they gather all the information about each and every aspect of personal finance through bona fide sources such as newspapers, online courses, workshops and books. Especially women, as they tend to shy away from financial matters. Only a small minority in India works with a financial planner.
Majority of the people make investment decisions as suggested by their banker, broker or simply friends. Now in a scenario where a distributor is the sole source of your advice, that advice may be highly skewed towards the inbuilt commissions offered by the product manufacturers. And there is no harm in double checking on your friends’ suggestions as well. Apt financial Knowledge is the foundation of a good Financial Plan and will help in keeping speculation at bay. Having a strong belief that one can understand money matters and will take full control of their decisions will help in overcoming any personal barriers to gain financial knowledge.
2) Keeping the Wealth target in Mind- The word Laxmi has been derived from the Sanskrit term "Lakshya" which means target. A good financial Plan starts with a Wealth Target. Seldom, a ship which leaves on a voyage, have a successful journey unless its destination is predefined. Just imagine if one has to plan a vacation to Amalfi Coast in Italy. It is only possible to know which means of transport should be taken to reach there once the destination has been finalised. Now the best combination of road, air, sea travel can be figured out. Knowing one’s family’s financial Goals, such as retirement, children's marriage or higher education is crucial to be able to select the investment instruments to achieve these goals. One should start by making a list of all the financial Goals. Categorize them into short term, medium term and long term and earmark the family’s investments to these goals. This will help in the review of the plan from time to time and make necessary adjustments to the wealth strategy. So begin with the end in Mind.
3) Money brings Financial Security - Laxmi Ji’s Right hand is in “Abhaya Mudra”. Abhaya Mudra is the hand pose signifying security and assurance. The word Abhaya literally means fearless. Money does give us financial security. But just by making investments for our future is not enough. One should be ready to face adversities in life which can throw the family in a financial turmoil. Insurance comes into the picture to provide financial security. So what are the types of insurance products one should opt for? A pure LIFE COVER in the form of a term plan is an absolute must. The sooner it is opted for, the lower the premium will be. It is the most cost effective way to ensure a family has enough liquidity to take care of their essential needs in the case of demise of the bread earner/s. Then comes Health Insurance. Health Insurance, preferably a family floater, is very important to cover the increasing medical costs which come with a longer life span. The third most important one is an Insurance Against Cancer or other critical illnesses. In some cases, the ability of a person to work significantly reduces due to illnesses such as Cancer and these policies can provide that cushion of money to run the household, business operations or simply take care of health adequately.
4 ) Let there be charity - Laxmi Ji's left hand is in the "Varada" Mudra which stands for charity. Charity means sharing one’s resources to make a difference in the lives of others. This can be in the form of donations made to NGOs, by giving alms to the poor or simply giving good bonus and perks to employees. Some pictures of Laxmi Ji show her with a pot tucked under the left hand, which is tilted to let gold coins or grains to flow out. This also signifies that money should not be hoarded. The best way to make sure that charity is practiced regularly is to automate it. Each month, one can put aside a defined percentage towards a charitable cause. Feel assured that the more wealth is flowing out for a good cause, the more it is multiplying.
5) Enjoying the Wealth- Laxmi Ji is always shown wearing brightly coloured rich Silk sarees and she looks resplendent in gold jewels from head to toe. She is also flanked by two white elephants. What is the point of making money if it has to be only saved and invested? Money comes easily to those who understand it , respect it and enjoy it. Some people, who love the luxuries of life which money can buy for them, always seem to get lucky and end up getting more of those luxuries. From a financial Planning point of view, the best way to decide the ratio between saving for the future and enjoying it now is to automate it. Once the salary hits the account, an automatic systematic investment Plan will take care of the investments and an auto transfer into another account which can be called PLAY money will take care of living in the moment. Make sure this ‘Play Money’ is spent before the next salary comes in. So eating at that expensive restaurant or indulging in an exclusive spa or beauty treatment is no longer on the waiting list!
6) A lesson in Humility and Hardwork- Laxmi Ji had fled from the kingdom of Indra to find an abode with Vishnu. Then on Vishnu's advise the gods churned the milky ocean for 1000 years and Laxmi ji resurfaced thereafter. Just like Laxmi abandoned Lord Indra’s Palace due to his show of arrogance, Money has its ways to run away from people who misuse it, hate it or become arrogant about it. So no matter how far one has trekked on the mountain of success, being humble and not indulging in reckless behavior is very important.
Even the Gods had to churn the ocean for 1000 years for her to resurface, so hard work cannot be ruled out as the key factor to attain wealth. From a financial planning point of view, It is imperative to be invested in various asset classes to reap benefits of compounding. Waiting for the right time or trying to time the stock market does not impact the overall returns as much as asset allocation does. So implementation is vital.
7) The Cleaning Custom- Around this time before Diwali, it is a popular belief that Laxmi ji visits only those homes and offices which are clean and organized. This refers to not just cleanliness in the outer world but in the mind as well. It’s time to cast aside all webs of self doubt, laziness, ignorance and get going on the journey to success and Wealth with prompt action and clear focused mind! Timely review of the mutual fund portfolio and getting rid of those underperforming investments without any emotional attachment, will reap benefits in the long run.
Lastly, after having enough money to enjoy the luxuries of life, after ensuring enough insurance to be secure, after making an impact on the society through charitable deeds and having enough investments to be able to live a life free from financial worries, the real passions in one’s heart can be pursued and shared with the world at large.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.