Idea of money & wealth01.08.2018
Every age or generations have their unique relationship with money. In past 100 years we saw multiple global conflicts, both militarily and financial in nature. That has hugely affected the way people perceive and relate to banking, but certain relationships remain constant. You may see banking differently but your relation to money is constant. The means may change but end remains the same. LIQUIDITY. Review date - 01.08.2018
I belong to a lineage of immigrants who lost almost everything in India’s partition during 1947’s independence. My grandfather left behind everything, their lands, assets and livestock while they moved to India in a haste. Times were uncertain and the only asset he could bring was my grandmother’s ornaments and some gold coins that they could hide in a wheat flour dough to hide them from prying eyes.
That generation realized the gold to be the real asset and real value that they called money. This experience shaped the perspective and idea of money for their next generation. Precious metals was and still is one of the primary idea of accumulating wealth for my father.
As the family started again and tried hard to re-establish themselves by hard work my grandfather faced another challenge while restarting. He wasn’t educated. As the wealth was plenty in their inheritance no one deemed interested in putting an effort to study. With this hard lesson, he made sure he made his 4 sons realise the importance of education. Due to lack of opportunities he had to rely on physical labour and he worked as a cook and then had his own small shed where travellers used to stop by for meals, as it was near the railway station of a town 100 Km away from Delhi.
Seeds of knowledge economy was planted then by my grandfather to my father and my uncles’ minds. They all worked very hard and with limited means and their own efforts all of them passed with scholarships to make their own lives in their respective fields. My dad moved to Delhi, (The Capital) in search of opportunities and got settled there with a stable job and had his family there. Migrating in search of opportunities was ingrained in the DNA by then.
The next wave of wealth came in and idea of wealth matured from Precious metals to real estate and an idea to own a car. My parents like any middle class family worked hard to slowly build the so called wealth that they own today. The idea that my grandfather saw destroyed because of uncertainty due to geo-political reasons, in a stable economy Property or real estate becomes a sign of wealth.
Almost unplanned my own journey has been in the similar lines of that of my past two generations, I have been out of my country for most of my working life. 10 years out of 15 year of my career I have been staying away from India, with past 8 years in Singapore. Definition of wealth for me is more evolved or different. Yes precious metals hold value, yes property is also a sign of wealth but do I have my wealth available to me in my hour of need when I am out of my country in a foreign land.
Idea of money is the instrument to get you the needed services you require at any certain point of time. I may have wealth in certain ways, but do I have LIQUIDITY? Does the availability of cash across boundaries there? Can I consider myself progressing in the direction of achieving wealth and being free of the need to keep earning money? Do I have enough means to give my kids the education they desire and the lifestyle they want?
If we’re a global village then is our currency truly global? No I am not taking the argument towards Bitcoin neither I am promoting crypto-currencies, but idea of money needs to evolve and evolve fast as the demographics are changing and evolving faster than ever imagined. If banks miss this the the argument that crypto-currency is bad and is nonviable will be rejected by people en-mass. Already digital currency have started to limit cash transactions in many countries. Soon this digitization will take a shape that we may not like or understand. Are we ready for that time?