A view from the Self-Realization Fellowship at Encinitas, California
Despite my recent views on money, it is still necessary. One needs to work within the parameters of this world as it currently is, and that is still the currency (literally), the vehicle to get around.
So we still have to look at the pros (and I mean the professionals, those who made it) and their best practices.
There’s Warren Buffett, the superstar of personal finance. We don’t know how he managed to thrive and survive the many financial meltdowns suffered by his generation (a clarification: it is ours too). His life is a testament to the reliability of having a process (look at the financial statements line by line, even the explanatory notes), following the process meticulously (buy, hold-for-a-long-time, sell), and then living simply. This guru/genius/chief, if it is to be believed, still lives in the house he bought in 1958. Isn’t that a wonder!
One other is Apple’s former CEO, the late Steve Jobs (1955-2011).
More than his acerbic nature (if it is to be believed) and his quotable quotes (stay hungry, stay foolish), very intriguing were the books that he read.
Going to orphanages, or the home for the aged, or seeking out the poor and the downtrodden – to reach out, to help – it is not something one thinks about on a day to day basis.
But they – the abandoned, the old and forgotten, the poor, the downtrodden – their existence is a day to day reality.
But many people do not care – either because they do not have the time and have their own worries, or they have nothing to give. It is the government’s job, after all, or those with millions to spare.
For a long time, I had those sentiments.
I used to think that as long as I minded my own business, do not take advantage of people, take really good care of my family (charity begins at home), and smile (well, I think this is important), then I am off the hook of what they call “social responsibility”.
One year. That was how long my relationship with the stock market has been. But there was a pre-story, which was training, lots of training, before I found the heart to jump in and play for real.
And to jump out too. But first things first.
Flashback to 2008. Giddy and excited and with fake money at hand, I started with the online stock exchange (it offered a practice account). Prepped by my financial planner, pumped up with some reading I had done here and there and some monitoring of the market, I found I gained some fake USD$600 in a few months. But I since I was in no real danger of getting poor or rich, I soon found myself bored. The market bottomed out too, wiping my gains, but ironically, it was also the perfect time to get in for real, to playfor real.
I could never get enough of Warren Buffett. I follow him on Twitter (and follow everyone he follows), his name would be the red flag that would make me read financial reports and updates (and countless finance websites I subscribe to that send me maybe 20 emails a day), and I even tried to join his 10,000 Women.
I cannot help it. He was there at my first foray into the world of money and investment through a book given to me by a mentor:The Tao of Warren Buffett, by Mary Buffett and David Clark. That introduction so inspired me that I have dedicated my life to learning all I can about this enigmatic thing, wealth, which has the power to change lives – not only the money earner’s but everyone’s. Buffett, the philanthropist, showed that it can be done (and should be done). I moved on to learn the principles of Kiyosaki, Orman, Coelho, Bo Sanchez, Ramit, Tim Ferris, Dan Kennedy and countless others.
But I always go back to Buffett and his principles. Here are three and some life’s lessons.
Financial advise comes from the most unexpected source sometimes.
I met Warren Buffett through a Chinaman, a name the Chinese were called a long time ago, and which I use here with awe and as a form of endearment. My Chinaman, let us call my Chinaman Mr. S, ushered me into the wonderful world of stocks.
He came one ordinary day into the office, wearing simple unassuming clothes, wanting advice for a tax problem. He did not impress me on day one, nor I him. He did not shake my hand when the meeting was over, only did some form of a bow, muttering that he still had a bus to catch. That would not have been odd except that I knew that his net worth was 290 Million Pesos, up from 29 Million Pesos, because he was a stock market genius. Having started learning about stocks that year, I knew I should have his ear, and he mine.