Thursday, February 26, 2009

Investment in Your Family: Building and Maintaining Relationships (Part I)

we are each other's business:
we are each other's magnitude and bond.”
Gwendolyn Brooks, U.S. poet and novelist. Family Pictures, Paul Robeson

1: Sunset walk with dad, mum and kids

2: Close family ties: A small herd of dolphins

It's really surprising to see most quotations on the family mostly by famous Western persons are on the negative side. The usual finds are on how the family is like a prison or comparing it to a life of hell or something less than that extreme portrayal.

The thing with relatives and family is that we cannot, or we do not have the power to, choose our relations. And this idea that we have to live, grow and deal with people we are not sure we will like (well, if we've been thinking about it before our birth), sparks the ire of many individuals.

A lot of events in our society, from the awful to the appalling, are blamed to the family as its basic unit. What we do in the bigger scope of human relationships stem from how we deal within the smallest medium of daily social interaction. This has been the basic standpoint of many schools of psychoanalytic thought such as Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and the other sailors of the subconscious.

It is also true that sometimes, we find tragic flaws of not a few successful people in their family trees, either in the roots or the twigs. A wealthy and frugal businessman can be drained of his earnings by his spendthrift wife, or in some cases a hardworking career mother can be unduly complemented by a drunkard. That is pretty basic, other complications include, having spoiled brats daddy-I-want-a-pony-and-I-want-one-right-now as kids, and having a marred relationships with parents and in-laws.

We can look at this and turn around and see big big family-owned businesses prospering, bearing fruit, and even further strengthening along with their family ties as well. They may have black sheep in the fold, but they're generally in harmony. There is no question then which is the better set up, we will always want to prosper and succeed along with our immediate family.

There's just so much complexity with compatibility. We usually do not want to exert that much just for family and success in relationships, which are oftentimes viewed as liabilities, rather than assets. Yes, liabilities - mum and dad's healthcare, the kids going to college, and sometimes financially helping our poorer relatives - all these are necessary expenses that are good in themselves and also an indication of certain family values.

Let’s turn this around as well, then, and look at it in a positive light. What happens is that we begin to care and when we do, the situation starts to get better as well. Why? Can we think of our family as our assets in business and financial sense? And how exactly do we do that? Let’s explore that next.


Investment in Your Family/Relationships: Building and Maintaining Relationships (Part II)

Investment in Your Family/Relationships: Building and Maintaining Relationships (Part III)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Investment in Yourself: You are the Greatest Asset You Have

“Only Cassius from bondage will deliver Cassius”
William Shakespeare Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene 3

1: Headstand by the horizon

2: A Cat cleaning himself

Although “no man is an island”, we take a good amount of pride in being self-reliant. It is always great to be our own man or woman.

Hence, we will look into maximizing our capacity to think, work and generate and effectively use material and non-material wealth. In this area we will talk primarily about our well-being – taking care of our health, maximizing energy (using it wisely), and stress management – all this for the purpose of creating a mean green and clean machine, as it were, within ourselves. Here are the basic steps:

1) Self-Engagement
Now looking at all possible definitions of the word “engagement” these are the most appropriate for pursuing our point:

en·gage·ment (n):

2: commitment to attend: an arrangement to be present at an event, especially a business or social appointment

3: pledge for something: something, for example, a promise, that is freely made and that carries an obligation to do something

5: military battle: a battle or other conflict involving military forces
A minor engagement on the frontier

6: active or operational state: an act or condition of being activated or becoming operational

What we want to do is to commit ourselves in helping ourselves. Figuratively, definition number five may apply, as confronting ourselves and engaging in a battle for self-betterment. Definition number six, is also neat, and may relate to us getting ready to reach our goals or our potentials being activated for release.

2) Self-Enrichment
Part of this is also about self-enrichment – increasing knowledge, educating ourselves, ideas in taking care of our mind, using it at full capacity as well thereby maximizing the potential fruits it can render unto us.

Yes, You can be Your Greatest Mentor, among other people. One, because we know who we are, individually, to some extent, better than others, and no one is as interested in our development as a person as ourselves.

Hence, we can dedicate ourselves to learning and educating ourselves. This will keep us from boredom and eventually lack of interest in life, and impede our capacity for enjoyment and happiness. As long as we keep our minds stimulated and committing ourselves to exploring new ideas and new possibilities in life, feelings of aimlessness are first to dissipate.

3) Self-Empowerment
Being good, doing good, looking good and feeling good – we all want these, if possible, altogether. The good news is, yes we can!

Having a great purpose in life, focusing on our objectives, having the energy and time to pursue our goals and possessing the know-how, all of this will ultimately give us the power to make things happen in our very own beautiful lives at the very least.

The even better news is that we can give these to ourselves as long as we commit to it. The first step at least is committing our minds to the idea. We can subscribe to a great purpose in life; we can focus on our objectives, give ourselves the energy and time to pursue our goals and help ourselves gain the know-how in our endeavors.

And when we have empowered ourselves, we can help others too and make it an energizing and inspiring cycle of successful living.

Well, the important idea here is that we have to take care of ourselves, gear ourselves up for the challenges in life and strive to win our daily battles then savor our personal victories.

After all, in financial metaphor, the goose that lays the golden eggs for us is none other than ourselves, first, more than anyone or anything else.


Again, The Five Basic Hidden Investments (Our Key Categories):

1) Your Greatest Asset: Yourself

2) Business Partners: Building Relationships

3) There’s Gold in the Hours

4) Sharing: Good Measure and Running Over

5) Making it Last: Wealth Management

1 down, four more to go.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Reach for the Cheese, In Style

“Economists tell us how to make money; psychiatrists give us a place to spend it.”
Allan Bloom (1930 - 1992), The Closing of the American Mind

1: Not Your Ordinary Cheese
2: Reach for the Cheese

Now as we aim to infuse a fresh perspective to our traditional money matters thinking. We will go by the following philosophy:

1) Life’s Not All About the Money

In the pursuit of personal success, most of us forget that money is just a means to an end (and not an end in itself, to complete the quip). Initially, as we set out to work and earn or before we do, life is about happiness, self-actualization and the rest of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs. But what we actually do to ourselves in our early, young adult, young professional stage reflect that dehumanizing fact that we live to work, earn, and invest to a certain extent, with of course a certain amount of risk.

2) Investment: Think Resources – Money is Just One of Them

That investment risk has bitten us in the past months. And those of us who are planning to do so are now in a quandary, where to place hard-earned money to make it work to guarantee future financial success.

Invest vb 1: to commit (money) in order to earn a financial return
2: to expend for future benefits or advantages

Most of the time, we only focus on the financial returns as money begets money. But future benefits or future advantages don’t always mean cash or liquidity or material prosperity it’s more than that. Therefore, in terms of investment, we may have other things in mind, such as time and energy or the capacity to do, to live and to enjoy life to the fullest. The commitment of money to gain more money is not entirely outlandish, but we can always commit it for something else, maybe even better, rather that instant, material and direct personal gain.

Things could be different from now on, like a bucket of cold water, the global financial crisis had us awaken from the denial of the fact that we used to live like robots, designed to work & earn, although still not guaranteed to succeed.

3) It’s All Under Our Noses: Tapping Our Vast Hidden Wealth

The relationship between contentment and happiness has now been an inequality.
We can always want more and more. In the process of doing so, we tend to forget about the nice things we have right now, material and non-material possessions and become slaves of the latest and the newest what-an-absolutely-incredible-offer.

This is about being aware and taking care of our real assets in life. Okay, life’s about the money, yeah, sometimes. But the assumption here is that these principles are, more often than not, jettisoned as we go through our everyday business running in the rat race, which, by the way, is defined as:

the struggle to survive: the struggle of individuals to survive and make progress in the competitive environment of modern life, seen as a dehumanizing and ultimately futile activity (informal).

Ergo, what we want to do here is to reassess the way we live and think about how we are making the most out of life. What, if there is indeed any, are our more important resources that we take for granted in the utterly meaningless pursuit of financial gains, as we think nowadays, under the cloud of a global crisis?

Yes, we will still be running in the rat race, but we’re going to run in it, in style, and with a better view, a fresh and confident pace with these principles in hand, that during the race, and after it, we will be sure that it was all worth it and that we have gained more than what we have expected.

More than the cash and assets that comes with the rat race, as it is, we will have put more meaning into the money game or the race to riches.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Interlude I: Supply & Demand

Can't help it. It's simply amusing and relevant.

Smile, it's a comical reflection of our current situation
Little Curious Cal: An example of a character who knows a good amount about living life to the fullest.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The 'Hidden' Agenda

“Foul cank'ring rust the hidden treasure frets,
But gold that's put to use more gold begets.”
- William Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis

1: A diamond in the rough

We need money to get more of it. We need it to work for us as well. That’s the deal, that’s the kind of thinking we’re into, and that’s just the philosophy that got us where we are now. It’s all right, nothing fundamentally wrong with that. But it becomes an almost never-ending pursuit.

Greed is good, some will say. Until at some point we realize it’s a chasing after the wind. We’re lucky if we end up with just feeling the meaninglessness of it, it’s a different matter, when we talk of ends and means – how much wealth we accumulated and what it took, sacrifices, marred relationships, lost time and energy for happiness and enjoyment, and more often than not, even more heartaches. Then we ask ourselves, was it all worth it?

Through this little joint we should be able to see, examine and tap hidden resources around us to help us live life to the fullest at every stage and every aspect, not just the financial. It is true, the window of success can be narrowly defined in monetary terms and material wealth but that is also to limit it and restrict complete happiness and contentment. So early at this point may we encourage you to contribute great ideas and constructive criticism, because in sharing and helping each other we are able to reach our common goals – that is, success in most, if not all, aspects in life.

We will explore five (5) basic areas of life with the highest potentials in guaranteeing future success and even present enjoyment. These are arbitrary categories in life, there are definitely more of them in sub-groups and whole new groups entirely, it is not limited to just five.

We will look into potential itself as a guiding concept in investing. After that brief immersion into the world of potential or hidden power and resources that may seem concealed at first, we will start our journey into identifying how we can tap these vast hidden resources in our lives.

We may be surprised at that sometimes these hidden resources are really the commonplace things we may have taken for granted. We will see how we can take control of these resources to some extent and make them work at full capacity for success and fulfillment:

The Five Basic Hidden Investments (Our Key Categories)

Your Greatest Asset: Yourself.

Business Partners: Building Relationships

There’s Gold in the Hours

Sharing: Good Measure and Running Over

Making it Last: Wealth Management


Potential: The 'Hidden' Power
An Introduction: A Challenge to Common Financial Thought

1: Hopes are dashed with disappointments as stocks dip in October 2008
2: Arctic ice crashes

The rest of the world is on a disillusioned note towards the free market economy. Money has been power for most, well, it still is; ever wondered why we feel so helpless nowadays.

Hearing the business news does make us cringe. Companies declare huge losses and even bankruptcy, massive layoffs from one industry to another, the value of retirement plans linked to investment vehicles cut down by nearly half, and we think to ourselves, “When is this going to end?” or “What’s next?”

We cannot seem to escape it, that’s all the news there is. It’s even hogging the headlines of our daily lives. Words like rent, mortgage, credit, debts, loans, expenses and liabilities keep on popping up in our heads until worries set in, dampen our resolve and dull our spirits.
These are definitely tough times. For others, these may even be dark days. Somehow, we find it hard to believe that the greed of a few can mangle the globe. And they’re telling us this going is going to take sometime, maybe even longer before we could get back up.

The last thing that we should think about doing is quitting.

What we need to do is to reassess our perspective, our view on success, thereby looking at life in a bigger scope. Somehow, we need to rethink our financial stance and the idea that only material wealth can ultimately make us happy. We may not be aware of it, but somehow, we have that in our heads.

Material wealth is part of success, but it's only a part of the bigger picture. What's worse is we fall in love in the process of amassing wealth only to find out that its fruits contain only a narrow definition of success.

Part of not quitting is knowing what our "remaining" assets are. More importantly, part of success is being aware of what real assets we have and taking care of them, making them last, that we may longer enjoy its fruits. Others, more often than not, are surprised at the idea that their most precious assets are non-material (and we usually take for granted that truth too).

Along with these important, untapped, and hidden non-material assets and resources, we can make better use of the material ones for our future advantage. This is the basic objective of The Hidden Investment. How to do it? It's about helping each other in repositioning ourselves in this big, big picture that is life and living it to the fullest.