The Income Tax forms to be submitted in the coming years will collect information on the spending details of the assessees. When I read this I wondered if the Finance Minister was trying to understand the soul of the assesees as I had read somewhere:
"How you make your money is unimportant;how you spend it reveals your soul."
I suppose the FM today is such a harried man that he has no such desires but yes, the spending habits of a person or family speak a lot about them. The FM himself is a personally wealthy man with simple and refined tastes and then we have men like Narayanamoorthy on whom their enormous fortune sits lightly. Makes you realise that beyond what you can spend in a lifetime, your bank balance is just a number.
As one looks around and sees the salaries offered for fresh engineers and MBAs you realise that the problem for many today is not "how to Make money" but "how to spend it well."I guess that is where the lifestyle magazines come to one's aid - showcasing exclusive products designed to announce your "arrival" to the world. Watches costing lakhs, designer jewellery, cars oozing machohood and diamonds enhancing one's self esteem.
I suppose the first impulse we all have when we get our financial independence is to splurge on things we have always wanted but not allowed to have. Most of the time these attractions lose their charm once we have the ability to acquire them anytime. So it would seem that the trick would be to set one's desires so high that you would always be a little short of the ability to have it, and this will keep you stay motivated to make more money. I know a few friends who support a lot of causes and this give them the motivation to earn - the desire to help the needy. But on the average, I suppose most people make money to have comfort, security in old age, a certain level of luxury and indulgence and their spending patterns reveal these motivations which revolve more around themselves and their family than any cause or person beyond. Not a bad motivation to have - at least they are not a burden to anyone. What I cannot understand is people who spend so much time and energy making money and having no time or interests to spend it. And then there are these others who make money in corrupt ways that spending it or even keeping it becomes a problem - they have to create secret storages in their house floors or their children use currency notes to smoke cocaine.
I suppose money well spent is an indicator of a life well-spent.
But I think the problem with running after making money is the question :"how much is enough?" Tough question. But I think for me , "enough" would be when I can give my children nutritious food and good education,buy the books and music I want,not have to think twice about inviting someone to share my meals,indulging in something silly once in a while, and being able to lead my simple life independently without becoming a burden to anyone till the end.
Isn't that enough?
10 Responses
  1. Deep thoughts! Personally, I simply believe that life is larger than money however I will not deny the pleasure that spending money brings...may not always be in the wisest of ways. So, I guess money is a good more better? Maybe so.

  2. Visithra Says:

    One of the things my dad thought us was to travel - we were never filthy rich but he always made it a point to travel as a family - it broadens the vewpoint

    what use is money if you keep it safe in a locker n never travel out to enjoy the wonders

  3. passerby55 Says:

    took my time to read this ...

    the first part didn,t hold me/work on me, but as i proceeded with it...
    could only end up saying...You are Superb! Usha you have done it again...."WONDERFUL POST"

    to add a bit here,
    Money not spend is/was never yours!

    "enuff" ... I say only when mom keeps serving in my plate ...
    Now, I hear it from my Kids..."Enough MOM"...

  4. Anonymous Says:

    "enough" is invariably relative and tends to expand and contract with time. It never can be confined into a bracketed definition, that's just its nature!

    Well, so long as we are moral and ethical in our means, there is nothing wrong in desiring for more. Thats the first and minimal thing! And if we can include charity into our intellectual manifold, that's a bonus.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Brings to mind essential axiom of Economics that says it is the science of allocating limited resources to unlimited human needs/desires.

    So I reckon, judging from the above, that no amount is enough.

    In addition, what is simple living is somewhat subjective. It depends on your history, your place in society, your belief systems & all that. So I'd say, to generalize your description of 'enough', at a minimum, one should be able to do things or live the way that reinforces one's opinion on one's identity.

    Now that need not necessarily be where it all ends. I mean growth is desirable in many ways, & monetary growth is one of them. Money indeed could serve as a means to achieving other goals. I think this was the point you made about 'how to spend money well' - however, that discussion is again subjective & there is no concrete decision-making model.


  6. Mahadevan Says:

    What a fine piece of writing! I felt for a moment, I was reading a book like Lin Yu Tang's "Art of Living".

    From how much we have spent, the FM wants to find out how much we have earned and whether we have declared all that what we had earned.

    'Men like narayanmoorthy on whom their enormous fortune sits lightly. Beyond what you can spend in a lifetime, your bank balance is just a number. - True , True, True.

    'The trick would be to set one's desires so high that you would always be short of the ability to have it and this will keep you stay motivated.' - This motivation should not expand into aggrandizement and we end up with what Talstoy wrote in his classic "How much land does a man need ?". Harshad Mehta and group exemplifies this.

    Your last para after adding the line "and to maintain a PC for reading USHA'S blogs, shall be the guiding force for the rest of my life.

  7. ravi Says:
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. Preethi Says:

    U r right... the first thing anyone does after getting their pay check in the initial years of their work life is to binge on everything and anything... Spend. splurge and enjoy! I remember buying all kinds of nasty stuff which I wouldnt do at any cost now!:) Things lose their charm after a while...
    There were days when I thought Rs20000/- per month is a huge amount of money, but now I know its not.
    But as you said, enough is a relative term. Depends from person to person.
    Personally, I would say I have enough when I have a secured life for myself so that I am not a burden to my kids when I get old, provide the best of everything to my kids and provide for the people who are needy... After a point of time, how much ever money we earn becomes just an addition to the bank balance and doesnt do any value-add to our life as such... I feel so...

  9. Usha Says:

    Orchid: Yes, Money is a good thing. But apart from all the pleasure that spending money can bring, I guess
    "The real measure of your wealth is how much you'd be worth if you lost all your money."

    Visithra:Ah yes travel- it expands your perspective and all that and yes that is a good thing money can buy.

    Passerby55: Thanks for persisting. :). True, food is the only thing where you can give until someone says "enough" that is why it is considered the best form of "dan" (giving)

    Kishore: I agree that it is purely personal - there are no objective or sorrect definitions of what is enough. BUt the expansion of enough is what gets people into a dilemma of never being able to get out of the rat race. And many times you postpone all the enjoyment that your money could have brought until it is too late and the very same things no longer give you pleasure.

    Souvik: yes in the realm of economics it is absurd to define what is enough and the target should never be just "enough." But at the level of the individual, I only wonder if most of derive proportionate pleasure from enjoyment of the money earned as much as the effort spent in making it.And if not, why are we doing it?

    Thank you. Here 's a nice thought for you:
    "Don't tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I'll tell you what they are."

    Raviji: welcome back. Thanks for the nice comment. I see what you mean.

    Preethi: When we start out o our careers most of us have clear ideas about what we want and where we want to stop but somewhere along the line these get blurred as successes in our career egg us on to stay longer and prove something to ourselves and the money is incidental. By then we are sucked in and it becomes too late to get out.It is really tough to quit when you are in the peak of your career. Some of us do and very few of us can do that without regret.

  10. Hip Grandma Says:

    the definition of 'enough' varies from person to person.i know of a few people whom i call 'sukhrogis' who never seem to have 'enough' of anything.they have fancy cars driven by uniformed drivers but envy you for owning a for me when we were struggling to make ends meet we had just abt.'enough' to educate them in good schools and treat them to an occasional movie or dinner in a decent with children having flown the nest i still seem to have just enough, never excess of money tho' we don't support anyone else and lead an easy going retired life!