Friday, March 13, 2009

Investing in the Hidden Investment

'How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it.'

Adam Smith (1723 - 1790), Scottish economist and philosopher.

Life's not all about the money.

Now after a nice backgrounder, here it is: the backbone of our pursuit.

The Hidden Investment Philosophy:

1) Life’s Not All About the Money

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

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

The Hidden Investment Goals:

A. Invest in Yourself as the Greatest Asset

B. Invest in Your Relationships and Family

C. Invest in Time as a valuable Resource

D. Invest in Sharing and Charity

E. Invest in Taking Care of What you Have

Hence, our Key Categories,

1. Your Greatest Asset: Yourself

2. Our Business Partners: Building Relationships

3. There’s Gold in the Hours

4. Sharing: Good Measure and Running Over

5. Making it Last: Effective Wealth Management

There we go, future articles for The Hidden Investment will flow from our key categories, and definitely, not limited by these basic five.

Let us join together in this common goal of detailing out how to put financial and material success in proper perspective and live life to the fullest.

No matter what happens with our financial investments, we know how to cope and systematically this time. We’ll have better chances in succeeding in life and enjoying it at all stages, starting now, when we put on a healthy attitude towards the accumulation of wealth, both material and non-material.

God bless us all in our awakening in the abundance of life and the healthy pursuit of it's meaning and truth.


1: Lush grass grows as if reaching for the sky
2: Abundance: Grapes ripe for the picking
3: Life's a miracle: The Namib Desert Flora

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Investment in Wealth Management: Taking Care of What We Have

''Consider also, in counting your blessings, taking care of the things you have now, and putting them to good use, there may be times when we got to make do with what we have.''

Author Unknown

1: Smart Spending: Checking whether it's a need or not.

2: 'I'll put this to good use': A beaver takes a twig.

The Hidden Investment is about making the most out of life. It is also about making the most out of what we have.

At the onset of our most critical expenditures, more often than not, we weigh between cost and quality, and most of the time, we prefer quality over something cheap that may prove to be costly due to maintenance, repairs and, worse, replacement.

There are people who can pretty much assess how much service something, some gadget or material has delivered to them. That’s a good thing to have. Generally, for most of us who do not have that keen sense of evaluation, the quality of something is a qualitative perception which directly relates to the time span of such a material exists and can be put to good use. Simply put, ultimately, how long something can provide service to us is the manifestation of its quality. We often set aside as minor premise other factors such as frequency of use and environmental conditions (i.e., storage).

One of our objectives is making use of our possessions, material things and resources efficiently and to the best of service it can render us. In other words, making things last. It is definitely about exerting extra effort in taking care of our property and belongings.

This is Investing in Wealth Management; taking care of things in general and in particular, making it last so that we can stretch its usefulness.

1) It’s a Commitment

Most people, especially in our time, are pretty much used to disposables. Sometimes, we can take our resources for granted, even those that may have cost us a few more bucks than others. We think so much of the cost when it comes to the purchase of everyday things; say the flashdrive, the pair of gardener’s scissors, even our mobile phones and a lot of other things, but after the transactions, we do not put enough effort in taking care of them. We are not so much concerned with its maintenance, unless it’s something really big. We have to make a decision in taking care of our things. It’s a commitment we have to make with ourselves

2) It’s an Effort

Sometimes, we even have things that are there for no reason at all. Say we bought that thingamajig from a garage sale last summer! And now, we don’t know what to do with it and realize it could be a waste of money. It’s an effort to take care of our things even those we may have thought not to benefit us. The phrase “I’ll put that to good use” could be a great mantra whenever we find gadgets or materials lying around the house. The next time around we can make an effort in thinking whether or not something merits our even the cents in our pockets.

3) It’s about Extending Value

This could well be about creativity in putting things to good use and making them last. More importantly, it’s about extending it’s value. Well, the notion of value varies from person to person, but at any rate, prolonging the service of something does stretch their value.

Two characteristics usually come to mind:

Thrifty - careful with money and resources: managing money and resources in a cautious and sensible way so as to waste as little as possible.

Frugal - characterized by thriftiness and avoidance of waste

Well, yes, we have to be this and that. Don’t worry, just always think about it as efficient management of wealth and properties. These characteristics will be very handy on our journey to success in every way.

See, The Hidden Investment can be this mundane in a manner and more importantly practical at that. This is simply making the most out of life and everything that’s in it, including our biggest commercial assets to grandma’s old pair of scissors.


Finally, 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

Friday, March 6, 2009

Investment in Sharing: Good Measure and Running Over

''No one would have remembered the Good Samaritan if he'd only had good intentions. He had money as well.''

Margaret Thatcher, Former British prime minister

1: It's all about empowerment: Riding on horseback in South America

2: Charity does not take so much

Why do we usually wait for the undefined ‘someday’ when we think about helping others in a big way, like charitable foundations and sharing institutions? Well, we usually think it costs a lot, for one, and that to make an impact in peoples lives, we need to do something really big. We also think that it takes a Warren Buffett, a Branson or a Rockefeller to do things like that and that we will have to wait for that day when we’re Rockefellers and Buffetts to be able to do so.

This is actually the inspiration and probably the most important key principle of The Hidden Investment. It’s about giving. It’s sharing with others, our wealth, and doing it, as in conventional investments, as early as possible.

1) It’s Not about the Money
It’s all about empowerment. Great things start from small beginnings. Maybe all they need a little boost, like a little injection of Jet fuel to get a struggling 4WD to surmount an uphill climb. Likewise, it only needs a few great books to change an entire life and a little inspiration to transform a point of view from despair, resignation and apathy into idealism, optimism and resolve.

2) It Does Not Take that Much
If it’s about the empowerment, then it’s doesn’t take a lot of money to help individuals and / or group of people. Education and skills training, for example, spells a lot of difference in developing countries on whether or not a certain family has a potential to get past the poverty line .

3) It’s Best to Start Early
The complexity of needs is directly proportional to our age. This indeed may also be true to the complexity of the things that make us happy, but that’s another matter. Now, while the basic needs are met, the chances of enabling someone meet his own in the future will greatly increase. Consider the needs of elementary pupils to college students. We can then start with the young ones, who do not need that much, but still can’t afford to help themselves or to get help from their family.

The First Steps We Need to Take:

1) Choosing our beneficiary – this is about who we will share our blessings with. This is critical. Some of us can very well see great potential in other people, and that all they need is a little spark for their rockets to soar.

2) Setting our guidelines – It helps of course to at least in ourselves or among our friends to formalize a little bit and set procedures, from choosing, qualifications, and conditions for our beneficiaries. Well, it really depends on the help we are extending.

3) Individual or Pooled Funds – Getting a support group for this may be even better, our friends may have been thinking of the same thing. We may opt to invite others, totally strangers who are committed or ardent in the same cause.

4) Terms of Release – There could be a one-time help such as a construction of a school building, clinic facilities and multi-purpose community areas. Others may include regular endowments such as books for a library and maybe personal financial help; say a certain amount for every term.

5) Talk about Inspiration – Explicitly sharing the goal or objectives of our endeavor to our beneficiaries, enlightens them. One of these persons that we are able to help could be the next extension of ourselves in this undertaking. Or maybe not, however, certainly, the seeds of The Hidden Investment in helping others have been sowed.

The answers to these qualifications variably depend on our objectives, and our areas of concern, or aspects of life that we are deeply passionate about.

See, when we empower people, we at the very least give them fuel to reach their dreams. We at the very least ignite the fire of hope in their lives. We share with them the commitment to make life better at the very least for themselves, their families, and who knows, maybe for a lot of others as well.

The rewards are pretty much apparent; just imagine how great the feeling of empowering lives. In our little ways, we can alter the cycle of poverty into a culture of people helping people help themselves


Again, 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

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Investment in Efficient Time Management: There’s Gold in the Hours

“Time waste differs from material waste in that there can be no salvage”
Henry Ford (1863 - 1947)

1: Liquid gold being poured into mold

2: Brass Sundial

That's one good lesson from the master manufacturer himself. Time is a resource we often take for granted. We usually shrug at the old adage that time is gold, because it is cliché, because it's like an old record, and we're sick and tired of our folks always telling us that.

Be that as it may, time is a powerful ingredient in investments. Whenever we put money into an investment vehicle, it takes time to cook it up. Our investments, through interest and growth of businesses overtime, finally bear fruit. That's the basic idea behind investments.

Now, Here in The Hidden Investment, that's how we view investments as well, it is growth over time.

However, we also stress the importance of time in our daily lives. This is about taking care of how we manage time and make the best use of it. Every minute and every hour counts, we try to imagine that really, there's gold in the hours; and fragments of it in the minutes. The only problem is that we are only given it to be spent wisely, or else it's gone.

We will then explore how we value time as an investment resource - how it will bring us advantages and ultimately, success in general.

1) Making the Time
We do not, and cannot, apparently, create time, some say we can save time, but really, we are simply just spending it wisely. By making time, we mean, spending time efficiently. Much is said about saving money, that every penny counts, we will look into translating that into every minute counts, and see how exactly we can do that, at work, leisure, with the family and a lot of other things we do.

2) Taking the Time
Of course, it should give us an idea on which activities we should be really investing time on. Well Spending time on a certain activity is investing on it, unless of course if it does not have any perceivable potential. It's also about prioritizing, and measuring our daily activities against our objectives - one of which broadly speaking is, whether or not, it answers the question: Will this make me a better person, in a better position in the future?

3) Time Out
We can strive for almost 100% efficiency, but it can wear us out, we get tired, well, good news, we're human, it's all right to take a little time out. In The Hidden Investment we want all of us to be happy and not live bereft of fulfillment and enjoyment, just because we are “saving time”. We aim to be happy not only in the future but also now, in the present. It's living life to the fullest at every stage. Leisure time, rest, these are also investments for ourselves, making us better persons. We should be careful, though, not to overdo it, and also, still, to know, at the back of our heads, which are important for our well-being.

In a nutshell, we will consider time management techniques, spending time wisely and what to spend time on. We will also check to see if there are superfluous activities and an excess of unhealthy interludes, which make time management, even more difficult.

Grains of gold are ticking away, let’s take some, and put them to good use.


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

three down, two left.

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

"The only rock I know that stays steady, the only institution I know that works is the family."
Lee Iacocca, Philanthropist, American Corporate Executive

1: I learned saving from daddy and mommy
2: A family of egrets celebrating over the
day's catch

Setting a good example for people to emulate starts with investing in oneself. The more we invest in ourselves, we create better opportunities and potential for success and when people see results, especially those close to us, who know what we’ve been up to, they begin to look into our lifestyle and ask about how we are able to do it, even little by little.

How exactly do we invest in our Family as our future business partners? We started with convincing them of a better perspective and way of life, through ourselves as the subject of a great personal life experiment. When even little change is evident, they will ask and start to listen. Here’s steps 2 and 3:

2) Get them to Listen, and then Guide them
Once they know what we are about or up to with this shift in perspective and applying The Hidden Investment principles, and are convinced, even at the least hint, by asking, we can then begin help them help themselves as well. The first step may take time though, all this getting them around to your side strategy, well, because of the complexities of the nature of individual attitudes. We have to remind ourselves that the last thing that we should be thinking of doing is quitting on them. There will be those who are easier to persuade, especially when they see results. A word of caution, though, in mentoring or teaching. Let’s not forget that it is their prerogative to determine what exactly they want to learn from us. Let’s keep from overloading them by volunteering information they do not need, yet.

3) Grant Opportunities and Give Experience
Let’s be leaders in our families. We may not be dad or granddad or mum or grandmum, patriarchs or matriarchs in our clans, but that does not mean we cannot be leaders in our families. Especially when we have proven ourselves successful in varying degrees and different endeavors, a lot of our relatives and immediate family members look up to us, for the younger ones and, set us as good examples by the elders. We then gain their trust. For those who were on our direct mentorship, we could give them great opportunities to test whether or not they have absorbed and practiced the ideas that we’ve shared. They can at least stand on their own and, as they say, fish on their own, since we have taught them to. We can extend opportunities to them and make them feel good at sharing not only responsibilities but also the potential for fruits, profits and gains to be shared to other members of the family.

Just note for the record, that this is definitely not about manipulating people for our future advantage. It’s about strengthening genuine relationships that last and a relationship built on foundations of manipulation for personal advantage is not going to last, and will even destroy lives, one of which could be our own.

The objective of this category is also to create more and more people like us in the family, so they can also reap the benefits of success for themselves at the very least, and at most, become our great success team and business partners. It’s always good to savor success, so much so is enjoying it with our loved ones.


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

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

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

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

“The family, that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor in our innermost hearts never quite wish to.”
Dodie Smith, British playwright, novelist, and theatrical producer. Dear Octopus

1: Mother penguin teaches baby to dance
2: The family circle

In part I we ended with this premise: “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”.

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? Because, we begin to focus on improvements and positive potentials in the people or things that we care for.

A shift in perspective or how we look at things or people, in this sense, transforms our instincts into well-meaning and nurturing actions which increases potential benefits for all. This shift, in basic and general terms can be described as a shifting from duty to delight. It is a shift in gears from doing or “caring” because of duty, because we have no choice because socio-cultural values expect us to, into caring because we believe in the value of uplifting our own well-being as well as our loved ones’.

See it’s all about relating ourselves and our importance to others especially the ones close to us, our relationships, our family and relatives. In terms of The Hidden Investment principles, the way we want to value ourselves because of our potential gains, investment fruits and advantages from ourselves, would be a great standpoint in valuing others as well, in that sense, and so much more, beyond that.

Now, for some, it is quite daunting to see and then believe that our parents, kids and siblings could be potentially great business partners. We keep on thinking about the hurt if any in the past, incorrigible attitudes and idiosyncrasies since these are the people we have lived with for the longest time. But as we’ve noted earlier, it is very much possible, for there are great businesses out there that have been run by families along with the vicissitudes of the nature of business. The first thing that we need to have is a change in viewpoint.

Although it’s true that we can only choose our friends and not our family or relatives, we can also choose to be on one side with our immediate team, none other than our nearest and dearest.

Now, how exactly do we invest in our Family as our future business partners? We'll consider these following first steps starting with one and will be continued in the next article, Investment in Your Family/Relationships: Building and Maintaining Relationships (Part III)

1) A Good Example is A Great Teaching
The way we start to deal with ourselves in The Hidden Investment should extend to the way we should treat our potential business partners as well. It starts with showing them, first by sharing with them directly this great insight or philosophy on financial success and success in general, and then by setting a good example in practicing what you preach in terms of taking care of yourself, saving, balancing activities, stress management, financial planning and other activities that we will also discuss in the future.

Putting our ideas into practice is one great way to get our potential business partners to listen, much more if we succeed at it and that trickles of the great change we’re aiming for are becoming evident, little by little in our life.

We’ll continue with the next steps 2 and 3 tomorrow with our conclusion of this three-part Hidden Investment key category.

The family for a basic unit presents such complex behavioral implications. It should not be surprising since our individualities, basic values and how we view life can be traced in the roots of the tree that we are most “familiar” with.


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

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