It is always an enlightening experience for a person of my age to get to know really successful people/business owners in my line of work. Although I do have clients from all walks of life, it is that some of these group of people which I learned the deeper, more subtle aspect of financial planning. Successful people who are not defined by their wealth but also by their values.
As you might have already known, all forms of financial planning focus on one or multiple end goals. Anyone who has worked in any US Multinational companies before know it is all about delivering the end results and outcome. It is not surprising that CFP comes from the West in the recent years. How about before that for Eastern country like Malaysia? No systematic financial planning exists for individuals, yet people are successful in their own terms. When I said successful, these are the people who possess not only wealth, but SUSTAINABLE wealth. People who are likely to defy the Chinese saying – “Wealth does not last 3 generations”. (NOTE – do you think trading and flipping properties are sustainable wealth building? Think again).
What is one thing common about them?
Here’s an analogy.
OK, sometimes when you drive along the roads in Penang, you notice that there are trees that stand tall, and likely has been a silent watcher for many major historical events for the past 100 years.
What we see is the outcome after 100 years. But we know every trees started with a seed. A Small seed.
If we still recall our first Biology or Science lessons, what are the first part of the seed that comes out first?
The sprout, which eventually becomes the root of the tree.
Now back to the 100 years tree. If we were to cut off its leaves, branches or the bark to a certain extent, the tree will still survive.
But if we poison the root, you have a dead tree in no time.
So, the root is where everything originates. Agree?
When it comes to money, who are the one who first gave us and taught us the value of money?
Undeniably, our parents. Or grandparents.
Our values in money came from parents, yes?
If now, we, as parents, places high importance on branded goods, would it be convincing to tell our children that luxury goods are not necessary?
Or if we just show our love by showering our children with lavish lifestyle and money WITHOUT teaching them the value of hardwork, is it surprising that they grow up taking things for granted and always have this feeling of entitlement when they come out to the society?
What does this tell us?
We must take care of our roots. And the rest, the universe will take care of it. Just like where a tree originated from just a tiny seed, once the roots are in place – you don’t really need to purposely nurture it anymore. All the natural elements will take of it, and the tree will take care of itself – able to withstand the external forces of nature.
Therefore, equally important is filial piety – the core concept in Confucianism. Successful people like….instinctively knows this.
Good Example – Robert Kuok. If you are have never watched this interview people, here’s below. Some of the related excerpts from this interview:
- My mother told me to conduct business following the path of morality, don’t worship materialism.
- Advice from mother: If my children are as capable as I am, there is no need to leave them with inheritance money; if my children are not capable, giving them more money is useless as well; not working just for my own benefit, but so that everyone can live in a safe and peaceful environment.
- My mom knows that I’m somehow a talented businessman, but she would not want me to turn to the dark side and be an “evil” businessman. She advice us to be a good person, and not be greedy about money.
- My love for my mom is eternal; and I believe most Chinese mom is like my mother.
- If my mom is still alive, she would advice me to continue to be modest and practice humility, and help the poor people.
Closer to what we can more easily relate to – Prosperity actually comes in many forms. You may have encountered people who have intangible wealth or prosperity. They may not have vast wealth, but they are prosperous by the virtue of having good health, longevity, and having filial children whom are successful in their own field. That beats anyone with vast tangible wealth but with constant sickness. In fact, no amount of financial planning in the world can beat that.
Now, my point is – when the eastern values are combined with the western method of financial planning – it is absolutely formidable.