It is not a crime to want to make more money!

Published: October 25, 2021 at 8:47 am

Last Updated on October 25, 2021 at 8:47 am

In this article, Santhosh explains that it is not a crime to want to make more money and why it could be beneficial! This might seem astonishing to a younger audience, but the ground reality is too many people around us have a “money is evil and wanting more is wrong” mindset.

A few months ago, I asked members of the Facebook group, Asan Ideas for Wealth if they have seen people with a “money is evil” attitude. Many members said it is quite common and agreed that it is unfortunate.  In fact, we got a demonstration of this attitude when I was asked to provide clarification in the same thread if such money was obtained legally or otherwise!

Obviously, I am only referring to making more money by legal means! Wanting more money is perceived as greed; as avarice. I requested Santhosh to discuss why many feel getting rich is a bad idea – that seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Santhosh as older readers may recall was recently profiled: Lessons from a middle-class crorepati! He runs a successful e-commerce consultancy. The following is pieced together with my conversations and email exchanges with Santhosh.

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Dear freefincal readers, I don’t have any experience writing a well-structured article like pattu so let me get straight to the point: “Why do so many feel getting rich is a bad idea?”. I may be wrong and these are only my opinions. I think such thinking can be categorized in at least three ways.

Type 1 incorrect self-conditioning: They believe that life has passed them by. They believe they are too old to learn new skills and too old to get new opportunities to use their skills and help other people. Obviously, they could not be more wrong! If only they would appreciate their own skillset more, ideas to help people and make money would emerge.

First, let us agree that personal enterprise at any cost is quite repulsive and is not what we are talking about here. For example, an Olympian featuring in an ad claiming that he would have been a gambler if he had not become a sportsman! Yuck!

At least with respect to honest, personal enterprise, making money is essentially about helping other people. You have a product or service that solves a specific problem. Wanting to make more money = wanting to help more people. What could possibly be wrong with this?

True, it is possible to make mistakes with goals such as “wanting to scale up or “taking it to the next level”, but that does not mean the goal itself is wrong!

The problem with this group is, they tend to be not only defeatist but also envious of other people’s income. Every time pattu talks about the importance of retirement or FIRE there are also a few people who go, “don’t retire; don’t think too much about money; Focus on good health instead”.

Yeah right! If I lead a healthy lifestyle, I will never get sick and can work forever. Aspiring to work hard is one of the best ways to stay healthy and is there anything wrong if my efforts lead to a higher income?!

Type 2: Political conditioning: Many of our er .. comrades believe that private enterprise, capital markets etc are all evil. Obviously, this system is far from perfect but the alternative is not practical like our country learned in the early ’90s.

On the verge of bankruptcy, it was arm-twisted into opening up our economy and the positive change in amenities and infrastructure is there for all to witness. There is no free lunch though – consumerism and debt are the side effects but is any day better than living in state-controlled squalor.

Type 3: social conditioning: There are many communities that believe that status quo = contentment. That is, they do not want their economic status to go up or down. They are happy with what they get and never actively try to destroy wealth with vices (gambling etc) or grow wealth with risk (enterprise, investment etc).

This may seem like a great place to be in but the power of inflation would gradually degrade their lifestyle.  If this is kept up over a generation or two it would mean a slide down the social ladder. So even if a person does not want to strive for more income, they should strive to build a portfolio that can match up to inflation after paying taxes.

Why is it helpful to want to make more money!

Let us look beyond the obvious benefits (more money = more spending) here! Also, many people want to make more money, but don’t know how! So they start crowdsourcing ideas. This is unlikely to end well. See: What is the most profitable niche for a side-hustle or passive income?

Let us only consider a situation where there is a worthwhile talent or idea or skill that can be used to solve a problem for a set of people. Wanting to scale up this activity (= desiring more profits) is beneficial because:

  1. This is quite easily one of the best ways to spend our time between meals and sleep.
  2.  It makes you focused, determined and pumped when you get up.
  3. At a time when there is so much information overload, the only way I can maintain my sanity is by working on my business.
  4. My reputation in the field enables me to be continuously engaged. That reputation was built entirely on client satisfaction. The goal should be to grow that goodwill and your name. A higher income is a secondary consequence.

Naturally, a high level of discipline and dedication is necessary!

You cannot visualise (yourself as rich) and go eat a sandwich! – Jim Carrey. Want To Get Rich? Write Yourself A One Crore Cheque!

I was discussing a similar topic with someone and suddenly that person said, “since you are already so successful, why don’t you offer your services for free?”

I am a strong believer in charity and offering opportunities to the less fortunate. In fact, wanting to make more money helps you support more causes. I am however insulted when people presume that I am not doing enough.

This is poor conditioning. No one will come with a magic wand and change our lives. We must take risks, work hard, lose sleep to do that. Wanting to make more money (when we already have “enough”) is the same drive running on inertia.

I am happy to offer my services for free if the organisation is a non-profit or a cop-operative society involving low-income entrepreneurs. I cannot offer free consultancy to a big corporate. That is a guaranteed way to lose my standing.

It has been my experience that people who seek something for free never truly appreciate its value and tend to push their luck more and more exploring the opportunity. A reasonable fee in exchange for a product or service keeps the buyer-seller relationship professional.

Wanting to make more money is not evil. Comparing ourselves with others; expecting the government to take care of us; assuming wealth is always ill-gotten; self-pity etc. is evil. It will guarantee that nothing changes in our lives. Anyone – young or old – can strive to earn a higher income by being useful. And there is nothing wrong with wanting to be useful to others.

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Pattabiraman editor freefincalDr M. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the founder, managing editor and primary author of freefincal. He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He has over ten years of experience publishing news analysis, research and financial product development. Connect with him via Twitter(X), Linkedin, or YouTube. Pattabiraman has co-authored three print books: (1) You can be rich too with goal-based investing (CNBC TV18) for DIY investors. (2) Gamechanger for young earners. (3) Chinchu Gets a Superpower! for kids. He has also written seven other free e-books on various money management topics. He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India,” an organisation promoting unbiased, commission-free investment advice.
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