Five Finance Lessons from Mahatma Gandhi

(This column was first published on Value Research Online.)

The thing about writing about Mahatma Gandhi is that I won’t be able to say anything that already hasn’t been said. He’s inarguably India’s most revered icon. His contributions to the nation are exemplary; having single-handedly done more than an ordinary thousand of us can get together and do.

We’ve grown up reading about Mahatma Gandhi in our history textbooks, we read about him every year on his birth anniversary, and it is seldom enough. There’s so much that we can learn from him. There are things that he has said that hold true not only for our life, but the same can be applied to our investments as well.

We think what we become

Mahatma Gandhi has shown us the importance of embracing positive thoughts and eliminating negative ones. We can use this with respect to our finances by not letting our decisions get affected by negative events that take place around us. We’ve to plan our long-term finances with a positive view of the future.

Never give up and be consistent

It pays to stick out the rough weather, no matter what situation you’re facing in life. Things aren’t always going to be hunky-dory, but they will be in the end if you can brave the bad times. The same can be said for our long-term investments. Investing systematically through all kinds of market conditions has proven to be most rewarding.

Don’t say yes out of compulsion

Many times, we take decisions to make someone else feel good. We can’t say no to some people, out of respect, out of love or out of obligations. Saying yes for the first two is fair, not for the third. More so when the decision has to do with our finances. Don’t say yes to putting your money into harmful financial products. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about here. Say a decisive no to them.

Mental strength is more important than physical

It is said that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. And what pulls them through? Their mental fortitude. A strong mind is more important than a powerful body to tackle most tricky situations. Ditto for financial adversities. Maybe you’re having trouble earning money or maybe you’re getting anxious about how your investments are faring. Stay strong and stay put. That’s the most important thing you could do to get through.

Quality of life matters more than speed

Focus on the journey, not the destination. Oftentimes, in an attempt to get more and more out of life, we don’t cherish what we already have. Achieving one’s goals is important, but so is making sure every step you take towards the goal is something you’d like to remember. When it comes to your investments, don’t strive for big returns in a short time. Try to build a portfolio of quality investments, the returns will come naturally.

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