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Monday, December 31, 2012

Income from House Property Part-3 (Sec 22 and 24 IT Act)

In this series of posts, we have been covering the tax awareness on Income from House property (Sec-22 and Sec-24 of IT Act). We have covered 2 parts till now and we are covering the 3rd and ultimate part today.

Part-3 : Sec-24 : Income from Self Occupied Property (current post)

In the last two posts, we essentially studied the following:
Part-1 : Sec -22 of Income Tax Act which talks about what is considered a house property and what kind of taxes are applicable on the same.
Part-2 : We studied Sec-24 of IT Act. Once you have a taxable house property which is worthy of generating income for you, we must understand the applicability of Sec-24 for a rented out property.

The applicability of Sec-24 is covered under two sections (and hence Part-2 and Part-3 of this series of posts)

So, lets read on the Computation of Income from a self-occupied Property.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Income from House Property Part-2 (Sec 22 and 24 IT Act)

In the last post(Income from House Property Part-I (Sec 22 and 24 IT Act)), we studied essentially about Sec -22 of Income Tax Act which talks about what is considered a house property and what kind of taxes are applicable on the same.

Today, in Part-2 of this series of posts on "Income from House Property", we would study Sec-24 of IT Act. Once you have a taxable house property which is worthy of generating income for you, we must understand the applicability of Sec-24.

The applicability of Sec-24 is covered under two sections (and hence Part-2 and Part-3 of this series of posts)
This series of posts:
Part-2 : Sec-24 : Income from Let House Property (current post)
Part-3 : Sec-24 : Income from Self Occupied Property (next post)

So, lets read on the Computation of Income from Let House Property

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Income from House Property Part-I (Sec 22 and 24 IT Act)


As your wealth grows, so is your tax liability. Hence, understanding of tax laws can play a critical role in paying the correct taxes. Income Tax laws can be sometimes very complex but if we understand the intent behind the specific law, it becomes all the more easier to interpret, understand and follow these laws.

"Income from House Property" is one of the most often misunderstood laws in Indian Income Tax Laws. Very often, we confuse it with the rental income, loan interest and many other such misconstrued notions. We are going to deal with this specific section of the IT act under a series of posts starting today.

Today, we deal with Part-I which is understanding the fundamental meaning of this Income Tax law under Section 22 of the IT Act, which deals with understanding the meaning of "Income from House Property".

Friday, December 21, 2012

How to measure life - A perspective


The criteria and measurement of success and happiness in life can be very different for everyone. Which criteria is right or wrong is a an individual's prerogative. There is nothing which is absolute "right" or "wrong" in this world anyways. It is all the perspective of the viewer. My strong belief is that each one of us always try to do the "right" thing from our own perspective ie whatever we believe is the right thing to do. No one deliberately does anything "wrong".

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Quick decision making

Decisions must be taken after giving enough thought to them. While that is true for most decisions, it has also been observed that most of the landmark decisions are instant, taken with gut feel, involves emotions and mostly lack the "thinking time" that is normally advisable to be associated with any decision making process.

Let me tell you a small story to exemplify what i am trying to say.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

What is a Stock Split

In our recent post, we studied about the Bonus Issue.

To summarize, what we read
Share-holders get bonus shares from company's earnings in compensation of dividend. But we also realized that the overall wealth of the shareholder does not increase because of the drop in share price post the bonus issue.

Most readers seem to have some confusion about whether bonus issue and stock splits are the same or not.  They may appear to be the same especially in the eyes of a person not well-versed in finance. But they are, in fact, two different things.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Implement the change that you want to see

Yes, we must listen, read, see, visualize, learn, understand and also appreciate the things the way they ought to be, but we must also remember that for any change to happen, you must take a very important next step and that is "to act" towards the change that you want to see in the world around you.

Very often, we spend a lot of time in all the aspects of reading, listening, visualizing, understanding but just halt at the step of "acting". While all of these is important, failure to act turns out to be the single biggest reasons why your ideas and thoughts do not take the shape of reality.

Monday, December 3, 2012

What is a Bonus Issue?

Stocks reward you in many ways. Apart from the regular interest free dividends and the capital appreciation on the stock value, investments in company shares also fetch you certain non monetary benefits to you. Bonuses and Rights issue are two such noticeable benefits.

Let us understand in detail about the Bonus issue.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Are you blindly following everyone around you?

"Go with the crowd" mentality is so typical in any corporate work environment. It is also not uncommon to notice this in our personal lives. You will see people just following what people around them have been doing for many years, sometimes, not even knowing the rationale behind what they are doing and why.

There was a real experiment (scientific study) done involving 5 monkeys (10 altogether, including replacements), a cage, a banana, a ladder and an ice cold water hose. Some of you may have heard about this experiment before, but the fact that this was a real experiment amazes me every time i read this story and relate the same to the real world.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

All about Top-Up Premiums

What is Insurance?
Insurance is a form of risk management, primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent, uncertain loss. Insurance is defined as the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another, in exchange for payment.

Who is an Insurer & Insured?
An insurer, or insurance carrier, is a company selling the insurance; the insured, or policyholder, is the person or entity buying the insurance policy.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Can i change the world?

Can i make any difference to the world? Can i make any difference to my country? At least, can i make a difference to the people and society around me? On numerous occasions, we get ideas and plans to bring about a change around us.... for the better. But in most such occasions, what stops us are some questions like these or some very simple but logical doubts in our mind.

What if no one else is ready to change? 
What difference does it make if only i change?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Power of Simplicity

"Simple" has immense power.

Doesn't the above quote look too simple? Yes, it is. But why do we need to complicate it if it conveys the message that we want to convey. Most of us, in life, either ignore or undermine the power that simple things can bring. We either believe that such simple things cannot bring success, else everyone would have achieved it or we get satisfaction out of complicating things for ourselves.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Your TIME is your most valuable ASSET

Rohit and Sapna have been happily married for the last 10 years. They have an adorable 5 year old daughter who has just started going to school. Both of them work for top notch multinational companies. Money is not a real problem for them. They earn well, and spend well. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

5 Year Tax Saving Fixed Deposit (FD) under Section 80C

We studied in detail about Bank Fixed Deposits (Bank FDs) and the tax implications arising out of the interest earned through Fixed Deposits in a few of our earlier posts:


There is one very interesting aspect of Fixed Deposits which is worth mentioning as a separate post. So, i thought i would share that with all of you.

As per the Section 80C of the Income Tax Laws of India, we can do investments of up to Rs. 1.5 Lacs (Rs. 150,000 only) which would help us save taxes on an equal proportion of our salary. While there are various commonly known options to invest and save taxes under Section 80C, one of the option which is not very commonly known for Section 80C investments is 5 year Fixed Deposits.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Be careful of what you feed your mind

"As you sow, so shall you reap". 
My younger daughter was reading this idiom in her 3rd standard English workbook and i was trying to explain its meaning trying to cite various examples.

Monday, November 12, 2012

What is Reverse Mortgage Loan

What is Mortgage?
We understood the fundamentals on mortgage in one of earlier posts titled : "Understanding Mortgage" . I would suggest you to go through the details of Mortgage before getting in to understand about Reverse Mortgage.
In layman's definition, a mortgage is a loan to finance the purchase of one's home. This is clearly the biggest debt that you would ever get into in your life.
Literally, The word mortgage is a French Law term meaning "death contract", meaning that the pledge ends (dies) when either the obligation is fulfilled or the property is taken through foreclosure.


What is Reverse Mortgage Loan (RML) ?
Reverse mortgage is a loan that enables home owners above 60 years of age to convert a part of their self-owned home equity into income without having to sell it.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Lets create our own inspiring story

GOD made you and me with the same dedication, commitment, focus and HOPE as HE did for someone like Sir Edmund Hillary. This is also true for each and everyone around us. When HE created us, he did not create any difference, in terms of giving us the "freedom" to mold our own lives, live the life that we want to live, define our own path and to go and achieve our own goals and dreams.

We do trust GOD on this impartial commitment. Isn't it? Then, why is it that some of us are able to carve our names in the history books while some keep struggling for most part of their lives.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What is in a Gift - Know about Gift Tax in India

Most of us consider giving and taking gifts as a normal tradition in India and may not have ever bothered to even look at the fact that this could also have some serious tax implications. The last thing that you want to think of while receiving a gift from your loved one is about its tax implications.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Get your Life Vitals right - Mission, Goals and Strategy

We have been talking about the need and importance of a mission, goal and strategy to achieve anything meaningful in many of our earlier posts. I call these 3 elements as vitals of our life. Having understood the purpose of these vitals, let us now focus on how to go about creating these vitals for our own life.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Life is a journey towards a destination


Nothing can be more true than the age old saying: "Life is a journey and not a destination". This saying is so relevant because if you have not enjoyed your journey of life, you are in for a hollow sense of achievement after you reach your destination. You will spend a major part of your life in the journey towards some of your goals and a minute fractional little in savoring the destination. Hence, it makes so much more sense to lay emphasis on the journey rather than the destination.

Well, if that is the fact, then why are we so hung up about

Sunday, October 28, 2012

My article in Outlook Money (Journey to Financial Freedom)

Efforts, done with the right intent, and done long enough, do get noticed. The key is to keep doing the efforts, and never ever give up.

I am learning all this in a very different way. Dealing with the publishing of any article in a reputed magazine or a book from a reputed publisher is never easy. Patience is the key in all such cases. A lot of my friends are keen to know the launch date of my book. For all of them, i have to plead three things : patience, patience and lots of patience. The publishing industry is very different from whichever other industry we work in.

While the book (From The Rat Race to Financial Freedom) launch may take some more time, below are the snapshots of my article on Financial Freedom that got published in the 30th October issue of Outlook Money Magazine (Page 68). 

For those who may not be aware of this magazine, it is the No. 1 Personal Finance magazine in India.

So, while you keep patience for the book launch, here is a drop from the ocean :



Cheers

Manoj Arora

Friday, October 26, 2012

Top 13 Symptoms of leading a Desultory Life


I sometimes wonder how come most of us go through this journey called "life" without having any concrete plan for it. We have a clear plan for almost everything that we do at our workplace or in our personal lives, but we just seem to ignore our own life completely on this aspect. On deeper thinking, i realized 3 primary reasons for the same:

1) May be, we do not want to believe the fact that life has a clear beginning and also a definite end. While we celebrate birth, we mourn death. These are the 2 milestones in between which you must cherish every moment and make your life worth living.
2) We fear death to an extent that we do not want to talk or even think about it. It is like closing your eyes to avoid an upcoming storm. Doesn't help. Rather, get ready for the inevitable and plan for it. Plan and execute this span of life so well that you have no regrets as you lie on your death bed. Do not repent for it in the end. Life is a beautiful gift from god.
3) Worst, we have the inherent feeling that although death is inevitable, it will probably not occur to you. You may be seeing others falling around, but how can you believe that the same can happen to you. Trust me, it will happen :)
4) We just fail to see the bigger picture of life. We are so engrossed in our day to day life that we simply fail to halt, take a step back and look at the bigger picture before we proceed with the next step.

I do not know what is your reason. It could also be a mix of all the above reasons. Whatever be your reason, it is always going to be more meaningful to come down to the reality of life and the facts surrounding it. If that is the case, then let me ask you a hard hitting but a very important question. Do not ignore it. Try to answer is in a simple Yes or No.
Do you have a written plan for your life?

If you were honest, I know that most of you answered it as a "No". Some of you even tried not to answer it because you still have the feeling that you need not answer it. Life is going on anyways. Some of you also thought that though you have not written your plan, but you surely do have a plan.

But let us face it. Unless you have clearly defined (and documented) the three critical aspects of your life ie your life's Mission, Goal(s) and Strategy, you can be sufficiently assured of the fact that your life is being lead. It is being lead, not by you, but by situations, circumstances, people and everything else except you.

Well, it is so no rocket science why i say that. If you do not even know why you are existing on this planet and what is the purpose of your life, then all the actions you are doing on a day to day basis are driven by the environment and circumstances around you. Let us take a very rudimentary example. Let us say that you are on a beautiful highway driving the best car that you can think of possessing, but unfortunately you are not aware where you are headed. If that is the case, and you reach a crossroad, then how do you decide which path to take. In such cases, you would probably tend to take the path of least traffic or best road condition or anything else that attracts you. Your decision is driven by the circumstances on the road and not by the destination. This situation is exactly similar in our lives. Our life is a beautiful highway road, you are that dream car. If you do not know where you are headed, you take actions in your life depending on what you see around you rather than what you truly want to do.

Are you among those who have forgotten to define and document your life's mission and goals. You may not be sure. So let me try and help you with this.

Having seen most of the people around me in a similar state of life, i tried to figure out how their day to day behavior was different from those people who had clear goals and mission in life. I accumulated all those symptoms together and tried to list down the top few symptoms which i could commonly see across most of such unfortunate souls.

Below is a list of the symptoms that you can check for yourself. These symptoms will tell you whether you are driving your life or you are being driven by circumstances and situations. If you happen to relate to a few of these symptoms, it is high time you take some action and try to define the mission of your life. Your day to day actions would ultimately be driven by the mission in your life. Another word of caution before you scan through this list. There is nothing wrong if you happen to be displaying these symptoms. This is just to make you more aware of the reality of life so that you can take appropriate actions to correct the course before it is too late. So, here you go.
  • Though you are doing well in your career, you often reach at crossroads where it is becoming more and more difficult for you to take a decision whether to aggressively go for the next step in your career option or to slow down and take care of your family, your health and your forgotten passions of life.
  • You believe that the childhood time was the best time and student life was anytime better than today's. Not only you believe in this, you also express this more often than not, in your casual conversations with your friends and family members.
  •  It is often difficult for you to chose the kind of role you should be performing at your workplace. You often seek advise from your "well wishers". Unfortunately, most of these "well wishers" and "free advisers" are also lost and themselves in need of direction. So, all the best with the advise that you get.
  • You are earning good money. You do not know whether to spend this money lavishly and live the life "in the moment" or save money for your and your family's future needs. You tend to toggle between these two extremes periodically.
  • You frequently start various personal initiatives and hobbies like joining a guitar class, exercising, cycling, walking, jogging, gym etc. only to leave them in between. Not only that, you have a very "valid" reason to leave every initiative every time - your work priorities, your kids, your spouse etc..
  • You do not know how much money you want to earn in life. How much of it would be enough? How much do you need which would ultimately prove sufficient to lead a financially secure and a peaceful life.
  • You occasionally want to leave the hustle bustle and din of city life and lead a peaceful, relaxed life in a relatively smaller town or village. But you do not know what will you do post retirement from job. Life is likely to be aimless after retirement.
  • You are earning well but are still not truly "happy". You seem to be unable to defend your inherent happiness, which gets stolen by adverse circumstances, situations and people around you. This "loss of happiness" happens to be quite frequent.
  • You do not feel that the colleagues at your workplace follow the right path in life. The irony is that you also follow the same path, as you do not see any alternatives.
  • You get frustrated that age is catching up.
  • You feel hollow sometimes of the so called "achievements" till date in life.
  • You seem to be working extremely hard, whether it is holidays, weekends or late night. You are always overloaded with work because you are good performer. In the meanwhile, you seem to be missing on smaller beauties of life like having occasional healthy discussions with your kid on a school subject, sitting and chatting with your spouse across the breakfast table with no specific agenda, spending time with your parents, playing Ludo or Snakes and Ladders with your kids, chatting with your neighbor etc.
  • You hate Mondays and you love Fridays.
Did you relate to any of these ?

If yes, then wake up and start thinking about what is that single purpose that you want to serve while you are on this planet? What makes you happy & fills you with bliss? Read good books to explore more. Establishing a mission for yourself will take time. It may take weeks, months and sometimes even years. But trust me, all time that you have in hand is futile unless you have established your life's mission.

For God sake, do not lead a desultory life. Do something significant in life.

Thomas Edison once said,
Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.

Cheers

Manoj Arora

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Always carry a book with you

According to one of the biggest surveys carried out in US, where data was taken from all across the globe, an average human being is likely to spend 4 years commuting to and from workplace, 3 years opening junk emails, and another 6 years in one or the other queue (whether online or physical), waiting for his or her turn. This accrues to a startling 13 years of your life !!

Now, assuming that an average individuals life span is 80 years, half of which (ie 40 years) goes in doing mandatory activities of life like sleeping etc, what it effectively means is that you are spending approximately 1/3rd of your life (13 out of available 40 productive years) in an absolutely unproductive manner. When i first heard this, i was shocked. Later on, i realized that this is not surprising at all. It has been a known fact since ages that success lies within knowing such finer aspects of life, which goes unnoticed by any average human being. 
We learnt a great deal about success from such "smaller" things in life in one of our earlier posts - Big Things Will Happen By Doing Little Things Right

Given these startling facts, one of the simplest and yet the most powerful time management strategies that you can implement is to always carry your favorite book with you - whether it is a hard copy or a soft copy in your favorite palm top or MP3 player. While others are waiting in line or in traffic and complaining, you are hooked to the wisest knowledge available from across the globe and directly feeding your brain with the best of the ideas possible.

Abraham Lincoln once said : 
Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren't very new at all.

That is so true. Just imagine what kind of ideas books can give you. I have an habit of always keeping one book in my bag just for that extra unproductive time. I always have some MP3 audio books or motivational speeches in my mobile, which i listen to while commuting to and from office. 

They already had a huge impact on my life. While i was going through my journey of financial freedom, i read 500+ books in less than 2 years (almost a book every day). I cannot explain you enough, the value this habit of book reading added to my journey. It is something difficult to explain but i can relate that these books helped in each phase of my journey starting from keeping my momentum going, to giving me new ideas, to even inspiring me to write a book of my own (From Rat Race to Financial Freedom). These repositories of wisdom helped me every time i was in a fix. Almost everything that i achieved in this journey is courtesy these books that i read. If you ever happen to visit my house, i would be delighted to show you a drawing room full of books. I still feel, i need more. 


As goes a famous old saying :

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.

Yet, i hardly see many people in the habit of reading good books after completing their formal education. On the other hand, all it takes is one great idea from a great book to transform your life or reshape your character.  How successful you are in your life will not be determined by how hard you work but how great you think. And what can be a better source of ideas and thinking pattern than a book well written. The person you will be 5 years from now will be determined by two primary factors: the people you associate yourself with & the books you read.

I remember playing badminton when i was 10 years old. I was just an average player. But whenever i used to get a chance to play with someone who was superior (in badminton skills) to me, i would always come up with those special smashes and drop shots that would make myself feel proud of my game. What changed when playing with a more skilled player? I was the same, my knowledge about the game was the same. It is just that i was now involved with someone better than me. This involvement just uplifted my entire game. It is precisely the same thing that happens when you read books from the greatest minds all across the globe. You will see your thinking and idea generation capacity just gets a face lift, and you start rising to a whole new level of wisdom.

Many of the wisest and most knowledgeable greats of this planet are ready to share their depth of knowledge and experience with you, through their books. Why would you not seize this opportunity? It is all up to you to reach out to the next book in your nearest book store and make a difference to your own life.

Nothing can do what a book can do. Lifts you out of your life... to a whole new world, whole new perspective. A book is like a dream you're borrowing from a friend.

Happy Reading

Cheers

Manoj Arora

Saturday, October 20, 2012

14 ways to know if you are stuck in the rat-race and 1 way to come out

Many of my friends and colleagues understand that they should not be in a Rat Race for the rest of their lives. But in most cases, confusion harbingers clarity. How would any of them know whether they are on the right path in their life or they are also a part of this dreaded and mindless rat race?

The irony is that most of them are in the rat race and don't even know this. If i tell them the fact on the face, no one is going to believe me. On the other hand, i am also shirking my duty as a friend if i am not letting them know that they are a part of this vicious circle which has no end. I want that they should have a fair opportunity to come out of this race. They will keep running throughout their life and in the end would not achieve anything substantial to be proud of. They ought to take decisions and do something different in their lives else the time is running out for them. They can make an impact on this world, it is just that they need to wake up to the fact that they are also a victim of how we were brought up in our society. They need to take charge of their lives before it is too late.

Faced with this dilemma, i thought of giving a list of symptoms of being stuck in a Rat Race. How do i know these symptoms? I have been through each one of them at some point in my life, and so i have a first hand experience. These symptoms will help anyone find out whether they are also running this meaningless race. So, here we go..

If you face one or more of the following situations in your personal or professional life, you are very likely running a Rat Race - a race which may not yield anything worthwhile in the end in spite of all the hard work you are putting in.

1. You work long hours at a job you are not truly passionate about.
You may have friends at your workplace, you may be able to work through your day happily but do you truly get charged up by thinking about what you do at your job everyday? Does each morning bring excitement to you when you think about your work? There is a very simple way to find out whether you are truly passionate about your work or not. Assume for a moment that you do not have any financial worries in your life. Would you still opt to go to your workplace everyday even if it does not pay you anything ? If the answer is No, then you are surely a victim of this social setup which trains you to be a rat in this rat race. You better try and find a mission of your life. You are working hard but you do not know where you are headed. It is just like driving a car at a great speed but don't know where to go. It is like paying any game with no target in mind, which would ensure victory. What will happen if you keep doing what you are doing today? You life will end up in frustration and you will not achieve anything meaningful. You will only regret at the end of your life.

2. You hate traffic.
You are one of those who spend at least an hour commuting to and from office. I often hear my colleagues cribbing about it, but they wont do anything other than cribbing. They never start thinking about what they can do to change the situation. They are all driven by situations.

3. You worry about the next day at office.
At the end of the day, you do not fancy cooking. You just want to have a drink or have a dinner and go to bed, because you have a planned set of activities for the next day. Your mind is planning for the next day as you go to bed. You have stopped finding happiness in smaller things in life.

4. Hobbies !! What are they?
You used to have a few hobbies, which you feel, are a thing of the past. You may say that you would revive them some day but nothing is going to change unless you change what you do on an everyday basis.  If you look at the last few years, you have just gone busier by the day. The competition at your workplace just got a little more, as you climbed a few corporate ladders. To climb further, it needs more of your time and energy. With all this, who has the time to pursue the old hobbies, which you have come to believe are only a children's forte.

5. You have stopped finding happiness in smaller things.
With all the hours that you and your spouse work, you have forgotten the habit of doing things together. The joy of making a meal together, the joy of watching the TV together, the joy of playing with the kids together, the joy of just chatting and spending time together - all these do not seem to have a great value in your life anymore.

6. The children are more a burden than joy.
Kids want your time, not the jazzy toys. They can happily play with a broken and a shabby toy if you are ready to spend your time with them. Instead, we go the other way. We do not have time for them though we have money and are ready to buy a new fancy toy for them. Sad, doesn't work that way at all. The equation just needs to be reversed.

7. You feel that you are becoming more and more alienated from your family.
Family vacations, once or twice a year, is the only family time you spend with the joy, assuming you do not carry your office mobile or laptop with you during the vacation. You deserve the same joy everyday in your life.

8. You believe in TGIF.
TGIF (Thank God Its Friday) has become synonymous to your Freedom today. The excitement,  energy and bliss that you get on Friday evening are some of the traits of what a financially free person experiences everyday in life. How good would that life be?

9. Your weekend just flies by.
Come the weekend, by the time you have fixed the dripping tap, cleaned the messy areas of your house, done the grocery shopping, watched the TV soaps, caught up on washing and ironing, dealt with the paperwork in preparedness for Monday morning's presentation at your workplace, your weekend has gone. As it happens every week, it turned out to be an anti climax. You have to now wait for the weekend once again for another 5 days.

10. You are always connected.
There is no escape either on the weekdays or the weekends from some thread at your workplace because the new technology ensures that you can be intruded in any part of the world at any time of the day or the night.

11. You never have enough money.
You earn good money but it never seems to be quite enough. There is always something extra to buy - for your spouse, for your kid or for your house. The bills just drill a bigger hole in your pocket every month. You are always waiting for the next salary credit in your bank account. Perhaps, if you changed jobs or got the promotion or worked something extra, it would have helped you meet your expenses. Sad, but you know that this change is not going to help. It has not helped till now and is not likely to work in future also.

12. You have a lifestyle (disease).
Though long working hours have brought in a nice car, a nice house and a nice overall lifestyle, it is very likely to also bring stress, and with it , all the lifestyle diseases. It has helped you stay ahead of your friends, both in lifestyle and lifestyle diseases.

13. You don't know how to effectively deal with the money you earn.
You are earning a lot, but you are not dealing with what you are earning. You always seem to be short of time to think on how to invest and manage your money wisely. Sad but true, you leave your family and your health to earn money but do not know what to do with the money you earned. Isn't it sad and ironical ?

14. Your gadgets are more a stress than help.
You have accrued a lot of modern gadgets, with the assumption that would at least bring some comfort to your life, if not happiness. They definitely did bring excitement for some time. But as your greed for the latest gadget went spiraling up, you see yourself spend most of your weekend time dealing with these gadgets and the issues that come with them.

Now, if you sit back and think through all of the above points, you might feel like you are on a hamster treadmill. You are running hard, very hard, just to stay at the same place. 

It is not necessary that you are experiencing all the above traits, but even if you are experiencing a few of them, you are a part of this race, which is self defeating.

You can continue to stay in this race as long as you want. It is a very comfortable zone, because you have got used to it. You can spend your entire life in this because that is what you see the colleagues around you doing. But in case you want your life to have a some meaning and do not want to regret at the end of your life, you need to come out of this race.

Financial Freedom provides one such way to come out of this race. I have shared my learning during my journey from rat race to financial freedom in a book with the same title. You will have to chart your own path and walk your own journey. You have to face your own challenges and you have to find your own ways to deal with your situations. But you can definitely reap the benefits from what i experienced and documented in the book.

Key is to take a decision and take the first step. Rest will follow. I wish you all the best

Cheers

Manoj Arora

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Price of Success




Success principles always remain the same.They never change.

Well, if the above statements are true, then have you ever wondered why only a selected few % of people enjoy the fruit of success while the majority lot quit the journey much before they could taste success. If success rules and principles have remained the same and are easily accessible to anyone, then what stops most of us from just following the rules and go and achieve success.

One of the most common reasons that i have realized over the years as to why most people cannot see success is that they never understand the fact that success will never come in the first or the second attempt. It is very rare if it does. But for most of us, it might take numerous attempts before we can finally succeed. How many attempts? I have no idea. But successful are those who "keep trying till whatever time it takes to succeed". Focus on the words "whatever time it takes". It is not the number of attempts or the number of failures. It is as many times as needed, which essentially means that failure is never a choice. If you have that kind of mindset that failure is not a choice and you are ready to do whatever it takes to be successful, that is when you would be able to taste success.

It is very well said that "Winners never quit and Quitters never win".

To explain this fact, let us just forget the goal of your life or your current success criteria for the moment. Let us take the simplest of things in your life, and see whether you succeeded in the 1st or the 2nd attempt or you kept trying for as many attempts as needed to succeed. You will realize that, in most cases, it would be the latter. 

Remember when you started to learn walking or you tried learning to tie your shoe lace or when you started to write the first few alphabets of a new language. Unless you were born with exceptional talent, it would have taken you humongous effort and an undying spirit to succeed in any of these goals. Well, the big difference was that you were neither ever short of a positive mindset, nor were you bound by any thought restrictions at that age. So, the success that you achieved, even for relatively smaller goals at that age, was after numerous failures and countless unsuccessful attempts, but the essential principle that you followed (may be unknowingly) was that you kept trying till you succeeded. 

Continuing to try unless you achieved your goal is what i call as the "price for success".

Having understood that we have to pay the price for success and we would definitely achieve our goal one day if we keep striving, then the next question that might come to your mind is that why can't everyone pay the price and achieve success. 

Well, attempting success in your goals of life today is slightly more complex than the goal of learning to tie a shoe lace. Not only that, the environment within and around you has also changed. This change also does not help you in your journey by any means. 

It is not difficult to introspect and realize what has changed from our childhood till now. A few of those changes are as follows. These changes are applicable to most of us unless we have made sincere attempts to overcome them.

1) You have picked up a lot of negative thought process in the journey from your childhood, so you have relatively less faith in yourself and your abilities today, than what you used to have at that age.
2) You would be lucky to get someone to encourage  you in your failures at this age. You had your parents with you when you were a child. They would applaud you even if you tied the shabbiest of the shoe lace, as long as you made an honest attempt. How many such appreciations do you receive today, whether in your personal or professional life,  when you fail in any sincere attempt?
3) You have forgotten to dream and have relinquished the belief that you can ever achieve them. This is perhaps the most unfortunate happening in your life, and this trait might just take the longest to inculcate back in you. It took me something like reading thousands of self help books, listening to hundreds of audio tapes from the most successful  folks around the world, meeting hundreds of positive minded people, attended uncountable seminars before that seed of dreaming germinated back.You would not find these people around you. You will have to go and make sincere dedicated attempts to search for them.
4) You have not identified the goal or the mission of your life.

To achieve success, you will have to overcome all this negativity that you  picked up over the last few decades. It is not easy to do that. 

Most people want to be successful, but so few are ready to pay the price. The moment you identify your goal and start your journey, you will start encountering failures. Paying the price would be picking yourself up, time and again, until you succeed. Some of us will do this for a while, a few of us will do for a while longer, but a very few of us will consistently do this until they succeed.

The winners in life keep trying long after losers have given up. They never never never give up.
This is what paying the price is all about.

As i sign off this article, i remember some of the famous quotations that had a big impact in my life and helped me overcome some of those negative traits (and in fact also convert this negative energy to positive energy) i picked up during my journey from childhood till this age,

"Success will not lower its standard to us.  We must raise our standard to success."

"One who does not accept defeat from his heart in spite of not being powerful, he can never be defeated."

Cheers

Manoj Arora

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

9 Life lessons from "Snakes and Ladders" Game

 As i watched my two daughters play the traditional Indian game of "Snakes and Ladders", i was realizing, at every step, that there was a striking similarity this game has with our life's journey. There are so many lessons that this game can teach us, including how to go about executing the biggest game in our hands i.e. "our own life". 
Let me give you some background about the game just for those unfortunate souls who did not have the pleasure of playing this classic game during their childhood years, and then i will share how i look at this game from life's perspective and what do i learn from it.

About the Game
Snakes and Ladders is a traditional Indian board game played in almost every household. Today, it is regarded as a worldwide classic. The historic version of this game was designed to teach moral lessons to the players and to show the game's similarity to life and its teachings. A player's progression up the board from 1 to 100 represented the journey of a life while the snakes and ladders represented the vices and virtues along the journey.

Here is my take on the learning from this game. Some of these learning were historically intended the way it is documented here, while most of them are based on my own personal experience in life's journey thus far.

(1) Virtues and Vices
The game has been interpreted and used as a tool for teaching the effects of good deeds versus bad. The ladders represent virtues such as generosity, faith, and humility, while the snakes represented vices such as lust, anger, murder, and theft. As in life, the game shows that the number of ladders will always be less than the number of snakes as a reminder that a path of good is much more difficult to tread than a path of sins. In spite of this, stick to this,

(2) Life is Dual
One of the biggest implicit in the game is unchanging two-ness of things, the duality of up & down, good & evil, Alpha & Omega, Day & night, etc. Life is not meant to be a one sided affair. You will face both the good and bad times. You will face ups and downs. Just like ladders(ups) and snakes(downs), you will meet good and evil around you and you will also do both the right and the wrong things as you go through the beautiful journey of life. Life is dual. Accept it that way and you will be able to live much more happily. If today, things have not gone your way (you may have encountered more snakes), that is a part of the game. You must keep focus and move forward. You are likely to get hold of a ladder soon. Keep moving.

(3) Identify your Goal
The goal in the game is pre identified for you. It is very clear that to win, you need to reach 100. Those who have played the game might have realized that how focused we stay in the game to reach 100, in spite of getting any ladder or getting stung by any snake. Irrespective of what is happening to our competitor in the game, we continue to stay extremely focused to reach 100 defying all odds and not getting bogged down by any snake bites. 
That is exactly how the bigger game (life) is supposed to be lived. First, you ought to define the goal of your life before you set out of your house to do anything else. This is the toughest thing for many people to do and most of us struggle till the end of our lives to find the goal of our life. I always recommend my readers to stop doing everything else before they have found the purpose of their lives. Living a life without a definite purpose is like playing the Snakes and Ladders game without knowing that your mission is to reach 100 . All that you are doing in your life today is useless unless you have defined the purpose of your life
If you are running hard in a vicious circle and are a part of the so called rat-race, and you are not sure that how would you find time to identify or pursue your true goals of life, you can adapt a process that i adapted a few years ago. First strive to get financially free doing what you are doing today. Post your financial freedom, you would have bought the time in your favor and then you can truly work towards your life goals. Make Financial Freedom as one of your biggest ladder in this game of life to reach your ultimate goals or pursue your passions of life.

(4) Keep your focus on the goal
Having once defined the purpose, align all your daily actions with the purpose of your life. You got to keep your focus on that end goal and that will drive your daily actions to make sure that they are aligned with the purpose. If you encounter things that you do everyday that are not aligned with the purpose of your life, start thinking and finding ways to eliminate them from your life slowly.

(5) Be humble but never give up. 

Don’t look down on people who are less fortunate than you. Everything that you have with you today is temporary and can be destroyed within a fraction of a second. Be grateful with what you have. Likewise, when you fall down, don’t give up. Try again. Isn't that exactly what you do when you fall in the game. You just look forward once again with renewed energy and fight back to the top. This is exactly how the life is supposed to be lived. Never Never never give up in life.

(6) Accept the outcome
Whatever the result (win or lose), accept it with grace. Do not be too elated in success and on the other hand, do not be demotivated in your failure. Everything is temporary and life is supposed to have a mix of both. That’s also the spirit of sportsmanship. Make losing a motivation, not an excuse not to play again. Convert your negative outcome into a positive energy to fight back again and reach the top.

(7) Have Patience 
Patience is another virtue we can learn from this game. You may be down and out. You may be the last in the lot but if you keep patience and continue to do what is the right thing to do, you might soon be surprised at how quickly life can give back to you, exactly the way how it happens in this game. So, be patient, keep doing the right thing, do not get distracted, annoyed or demotivated. Life will take a turn...yet again. Give it a chance and continue to follow the right path.

(8) Keep Moving
At the end of the day, it’s not the number of ladders or snakes that you face in your life that will determine your fate. Has anyone won this game just because he or she got more number of ladders? No. Your future in the game of life is determined by one thing, and one thing only – "movement". Just keep moving ever forward. Don’t stop at the foot of a snake and throw away the dice. Just keep moving. Get up again, and keep moving. You might like to pause for a moment to recharge the batteries, or even have a little cry, but then keep moving again. On the way learn from your mistakes or misfortunes – until you reach the finishing line as a seasoned victor.

(9) Enjoy Life
This is the biggest lesson of them all, according to me. Never be in too much of a hurry to reach the end of the game. Enjoy the lucky breaks, but realize that the steady patches and the snakes prevent us from getting to the end too quickly and add spice to our game. Enjoy your journey of this game, the twists and turns, the snakes and ladders equally. In the end, everyone will reach the end goal - sooner or later. Be a good player, making the most of all the journey brings. Enjoy and cherish every moment of life.

Cheers

Manoj Arora

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