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Personal Finance
By Sharmila Ramnani

Money cycles

Do you look back at the events in the past, which, at that time seemed so intensely overwhelming, with a different feeling? For instance, you may have been fired from your job in the past only to land a much better job... Or you may have survived a life-threatening disease only to be able to appreciate life more... When you look back at your past, do you get this feeling that everything turned out for the better? It always does...

In the same manner as the ups and downs of life, money will also have its ups and downs. No matter how carefully you plan ó even if you do every financial thing right ó money, like every other living thing, isnít always going to behave in ways you can predict.

Sometimes youíll have more than you expected, and at other times, money will flow out and youíll have less than you thought. There may be a time when you have money in the stock market and it goes down dramatically. Or maybe you suddenly inherit a valuable piece of property. Perhaps you are downsized from your job without warning ó or given a surprise promotion.

These transitions can be exciting, or often scary, but they are all part of the natural cycles of life ó and money. There are two lessons to be learnt from these natural ups and downs.

First, you must always take the long view of your financial future. Be clear about what you want to achieve and donít let the short-term ups and downs discourage you.

Second, you must believe that everything that happens is positive, if you are willing to let it be. These events will be tragic and painful but if we are open to them, they can teach us lessons and give us gifts that we would never have found at more comfortable times. Things that seem almost unbearable as theyíre happening to you can even, in the long run, lead to riches you never imagine. If you can believe that somehow everything happens for the best and hold firm to this belief, especially during troubled times or when you undergo what appear to be setbacks in your life, then you will be able to draw the good out of any situation. You will be looking for the benefit, the hidden treasure, and you will be able to profit from even the toughest experience.

Think about your entire financial history. Try to remember all the worst things that have happened to you. Think back to how you felt ó tense, afraid, paralysed, angry; Here are a few questions to trigger your memories:

  • Did you ever not get a job you wanted badly?
  • Have you ever lost a lot of money on an investment?
  • Have you ever had a business deal that you worked hard to put together fall to pieces at the last minute?
  • Have you ever had a friendship end over money?
  • When and why in your life were you the most frightened about money?
  • Now ask yourself this question: Have there come any gains from any of these losses? Didnít any of your misfortunes turn out, over time, to be the best thing that could possibly have happened to you? Didnít the gains come in ways you could never have predicted?

    You can turn the same exercise around and do it backward ó review events that seemed to you at the time like lucky breaks ó and donít be surprised to discover that these lucky breaks sometimes brought with them problems you never expected.

    Did that mean they werenít really lucky? No, it means they were part of the cycle, and the cycle is natural. Gains and losses arenít flukes, or curses; they are built in, like the doors and windows in a house; and they both have the capacity to bring us closer to the sort of life we long for.

    The author can be contacted on [email protected] or [email protected]

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