Cultivate Family


wealthymattersAs regular readers know, I have been watching the new advertisement efforts of housing.com  with some interest. And yesterday, I saw two huge billboards with their ads outside the Siddhivinayak Mandir with the togetherness and help theme which provided the stimulus for this post.

Shri Siddhivinayakji is widely believed to be the remover of all obstacles and so worshipped. Ganpati is also believed to be the creator of obstacles in his attempt to keep us on the path we are meant to follow in this life.Failures are hard to live with, I deal with them by believing that its the universe’s way of saying that I am not engaging with the right thing or going about it the right way. So, I  like to start all new ventures with a prayer at this temple for Ganeshji to help me go about things sensibly to attain as much success as I possibly can, in the simplest, swiftest manner possible. And yesterday’s was one another such visit to this temple.

Now,I like to pray in isolation. In a crowded temple such as Siddhivinayak,I can focus my thoughts inwards and isolate myself, as long as I am not accompanied by friends or family. Unfortunately, my mom is firmly of the school that believes that people should not go to temples or set out to engage in any auspicious activity in a group with an odd number of members. So, no way was she going to let me go by myself. Worse, she was already complaining of a backache. And my mom doesn’t believe in suffering in silence, especially when it comes to my company. So, I was slightly put off, knowing I was not going to have my wish for a few seconds of peace communing with the deity. Read more of this post

On Practicing Gratitude


wealthymattersFor the last couple of months, I have been practicing gratitude. I believe that doing so forces us to ‘be mindful’ as the Buddhists put it. That way we become more aware of what is happening to us at any given moment and we start living each moment more consciously and so get more out of life. Also if we get into the habit of being grateful for something, we will be conscious of its importance, and so unlikely to do or allow anything to be done to destroy what we regularly give thanks for. So, if we are regularly grateful for the food we eat, which we are aware of comes from our farm, and so and so helped grow it and transport it, we are likely to value the farm and the people who work there and their skills. We are unlikely to let the farm run to ruin or sell it out of hand. We are unlikely to disrespect the people who work there and lose the benefit of their abilities. And ultimately, all these things that we surround ourselves with are symbols of our wealth. If fact our wealth comes from these production systems we control. So, if we’d rather be wealthy and remain wealthy, practising gratefulness is a good exercise. Just, set aside a few seconds a day to mentally count the many good things you have enjoyed in the course of the day, and get started on practicing gratitude. Read more of this post

Virtual Equity


wealthymattersHave you ever wondered how billion dollar infrastructure projects are financed by the private sector in India? Here is the story:

Say there is a Rs.10,000-crore project, with a 70:30 debt-equity ratio. The promoter needs to put up Rs 3,000 crore as equity . Suppose he can scrape together Rs 1,000 crore. He will inflate the project cost to 15,000 crore.

His required  equity contribution now goes up to Rs 4,500 crore but he gets credit worth Rs 10,500 crore, more than enough to finance the entire project.

During implementation through promoter-owned companies, money will be taken out of the project, to fund a part of his equity contribution and to grease the palms that allow such an inflated project cost to go not just unchallenged, but actually blessed.

While implementing the project, he will start another project, take money out of it to fund the remaining part of the original project’s equity contribution and to service the loan on the first project once its construction is over. Then he will start yet other projects, to actually finance the second project, and so on. The first project will turn into a cash cow, if this string of loan-financed projects can continue to mushroom long enough for the loan on the first project to be fully paid off. Read more of this post

Apple’s Negotiating Formula


WealthymattersApple wants what Apple wants, when Apple wants it and how Apple wants it. And Apple will pay for it. If they don’t get what they want, they just say no. And they typically don’t come back a second time. And they may declare war on you. - Ryan Lokey

Emerging Market Crises:1998 Vs.2014


 

wealthymattersOil prices were tanking. Emerging market currencies were in a freefall.Venezuela was mired in a financial crisis and Russia had sunk into debt default and devaluation. The year was 1998.Emerging markets today, look a lot like they did back then. Here’s a look at the similarities and differences between now and then.

SIMILARITIES

Falling Oil Prices

Crude has dropped 48% since June to about $55 a barrel, squeezing exporters from Venezuela to Russia and Nigeria.Credit default swaps show a 97% probability Venezuela will default on bonds within five years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Russian economy , which is under sanctions by the US and the European Union over the Ukraine conflict, will contract as much as 4.7% next year if oil remains at $60.

Currencies Sink

A Bloomberg index tracking 20 of the most traded emerging-market currencies fell to the lowest since 2003 on December 15. The ruble tumbled past 64 per dollar for the first time, Turkey’s lira fell to an all-time low while Indonesia’s rupiah retreated to levels last seen in 1998.During the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and 1998, countries from Thailand to Malaysia capitulated on defending their currency pegs, leading the Thai baht to lose half its value in six months. Read more of this post

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