Want To Get Rich? Write Yourself A One Crore Cheque!

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Now, why stop at one crore? Make that a Ten Crore Cheque. If you are wondering whether you have landed at the wrong site or if something is wrong with me, not to worry. I am not any more mentally disabled than I was yesterday, and you are at freefincal. Allow me to explain. How does one get rich? What is the first step towards financial independence? Crude as it may seem, the first step to be rich is think you will be rich. The first step to financial independence is a clear purpose. Not a higher a salary as many mistakenly believe.

Sure a higher salary will help hasten the process, but it is the purpose that counts -the desire to change the way and your family have been handling money. Here are two fascinating anecdotes.

Table of Contents

Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey is a versatile actor, best known for his comic roles. He hails from an extremely poor background. His family lived off a van in Canada, and at age 16, he quit school to become a full-time custodian (a Janitor). Prior to that, he had an 8-hour shift after school helping his father on the same job. (source, plus many others online)

Created with the http://www.hashemian.com/tools/check-generator.php

In the early 90s, he wrote himself a cheque for 10 million dollars for acting services rendered and dated it Thanksgiving 1995 ( 2nd Monday of October in Canada or 4th Thursday of Nov in USA) 1995 and put it in his wallet. Just before said date, he was paid 10 million dollars for Dumb & Dumber. As Oprah Winfrey so rightly puts it in this interview (youtube) ,

Jim Carrey visualised himself as rich and visualisation works if you work hard

To which Jim replies,

Yes, you cannot visualise and go eat a sandwich!

When his father passed, Carrey placed the cheque in his father’s casket because it was “our dream, together”.

What’s that? Do I hear you say, this is more an exception than an example?  That JIm Carrey is super-talented and he would have made it big anyway? Hmm.. I don’t agree, but all right. Here is another.

Mr. Lastbencher

This is about my college mate who was a last bencher both in location and behaviour. He did not appear one bit interested in doing what he was supposed to do – study physics. Cut to 22 years later, a mutual friend tells me, that Mr. Lastbencher is retired!

So I befriend him on Facebook and messaged for details. Months pass before he sees the message. He eventually told me that “it is no big deal”. He wanted to retire by 40 and did by 39. He left a top job with a sweet severance deal and for the last four years has spent half his time on the road with his Royal Enfield. For the rest of the time, he is at home and sometimes drives a cab to pass the time!

I asked him how he did it and he says, (a) closed out loans, (b) reduced his needs to achieve his goal, and (c) invested right.

Now, what do you say to that?! He would have easily been a contender for the “least likely to succeed” award based on the evidence available to us 22 years ago. Now, look at him! Please do not look at his position or the severance deal. Focus on his desire to live his dreams by a certain age. Focus on how fast he must have risen up the company ranks and the hard work associated with it. Focus on his planning, his cutting needs short.

Most importantly, focus on the fact that he exhibited no special talents. He was only passionately driven (à la Einstein). Most education systems have no way to judge this. Academic performance can neither reflect intelligence or passion – at least that is what I tell my students each semester. As long as a student get her act together at some point in life, she should be fine. Mr. Lastbencher is a fine example of this.

He shall be unnamed for this post because I have not sought his permission (it may take months to get a response) and he may not agree! It is better this way and his name and other details are of little relevance to the present context.

What is common between these two tales?

Tamil actor Vijay Antony sums it up quite well. When asked “how he did it”, he said:

I knew where I was today and I knew where I wanted to be tomorrow. So I did what was necessary to go there.

That is it. Pure and simple – a clear purpose followed up with the necessary effort.

Nothing to do with how much they earned. Sure the quantum of money earned will decide how sooner or later financial independence is achieved. But it is not a race. There is no special award for getting there earlier. And not all can get there at the same time.

This is about the intent and the journey.

So let us go ahead and visualise ourselves as rich. Write that cheque for Ten Crores.

Let us ignore trivialities (discounts, reward points, cashbacks, charges, fees, 0.5% drop in interest rates etc) and focus on the big picture (start early, invest right and invest big). The first step in getting rich is to believe without a shred of doubt that we will be. It is just a matter of time and effort.

The first step in getting rich is to believe without a shred of doubt that we will be. It is just a matter of effort and time (in that order).


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About the Author M Pattabiraman author of freefincal.comM. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the author and owner of freefincal.com.  He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras since Aug 2006. Pattu” as he is popularly known, has co-authored two print-books, You can be rich too with goal based investing (CNBC TV18) and Gamechanger and seven other free e-books on various topics of money management.  He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India” an organisation to promote unbiased, commission-free investment advice. Pattu publishes unbiased, promotion-free research, analysis and holistic money management advice. Freefincal serves more than one million readers a year (2.5 million page views) with numbers based analysis on topical issues and has more than a 100 free calculators on different aspects of insurance and investment analysis. He conducts free money management sessions for corporates  and associations(see details below). Previous engagements include World Bank, RBI, BHEL, Asian Paints, TamilNadu Investors Association etc. Contact information: freefincal {at} Gmail {dot} com (sponsored posts or paid collaborations will not be entertained)
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  1. And if you want more on this topic, read the classic book “Think and Grow Rich”.

    Whilst on classic personal finance books – “The millionaire next door” is dated but still relevant.

  2. What I’ve realized is that academic performance at the most, gets you your first job. After that, it is all up to personal ambition!

  3. Very Nice Post. I feel the top big challenge in personal finance world is to avoid the noise like unnecessary online shopping, thought of interest rates of home loan(up/down), credit cards, cashbacks, free gifts, personal loan,Top up loans etc…….

  4. The numbers mentioned (1 Cr and 10 Cr in the opening sentence of this post) seem pretty interesting.

    Rs 15,000/- invested monthly, in a vehicle that generates 15% CAGR, for 15 years, results in a corpus of 1 crore.

    Rs 15,000/- invested monthly, in a vehicle that generates 15% CAGR, for 30 years, results in a corpus of 10 crore.

    MS Excel’s FV(…) indicates so!!!


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