Sunday, 31 July 2011

Millionaire - in - training

Dollars from heaven
That’s who I am. I tell myself this as I’m on the road to financial independence.

The Serious Rich are natural risk takers and so am I. I got married thinking it’d be a bed of roses and but it soon became a bed of nails. I’ve had numerous challenges such as managing a thorn in my side (the ex) whilst nurturing three children (one with a disability no less).

Some of the bods on the world’s rich list are people who’ve graduated from the university of life.....a very bumpy ride....I’ve done that.

I was born on the wrong side of the tracks and was sent to the school for hard knocks. I was amongst the few five  year olds who already had responsibilities....caring for younger siblings...which was an entrepreneurial experience in the management of a team.

Eat your heart out Miss Jolie!
I’m a strategic thinker and high net worth individuals always have their eye on the next investment as do I. Do I go for the designer or  budget range? 

I’m regularly in touch with my bank manager – we are on first name terms - he explains in detail my precarious financial position. He’s the Sherpa to my Sir Edmund – a faithful guide. Millionaires always have good financial support on their way to the top.

I prefer to go without than borrow. Pride is not my downfall – it’s a badge of honour. 
The wealthy not only occupy the upper echelons of society but (sometimes) the moral high ground.

The rich never worry.....neither do I...though there’s debts to pay.

Spend, spend, spend is a millionaire’s motto and it’s mine too!

The rich are sophisticated....that’s me to a T.... (I love martinis by the pool)....and they’re shrewd (I’m working on that)!

No slumdogs here!
Rich people think far I’ve “accumulated” homes in France, Italy and New York, a  private jet, a yacht, an adoring army of fans.........all in my dreams.

I sometimes have to assume another identity in order to remain anonymous (oh yes - the gossip columns are buzzing unless I keep a low profile!).

Bottoms up!
I like to sip champagne, eat caviar whilst gazing at a golden sunset.....why not? 

My children think I’m a millionaire and never fail to ask me for this and that.

My wishes may seem excessive but I’m really not greedy....not even vain....I could sacrifice being a billionaire...just happy to be an ordinary millionaire.

If wishes were horses then beggars would ride....I'm on a bucking bronco that I'm determined to tame.

Ahh....the good life!
If thoughts are things then mine are always rich. When the skies are blue, sunshine on my shoulders, gentle breezes caress my cheek – these days feel like diamonds.....and diamonds are a millionaire’s best friend! 


Friday, 22 July 2011

A problem shared is NOT a problem halved

It's raining probs..alleluia!
A problem shared is not often a problem halved. Sometimes the more you share your problems the more you tie yourself in knots.  People offer opinions and advice but there’s no guarantee that anyone’s going to come up with a likely solution.  The problem with problems is that everyone’s got them. Some are simple whilst others are complex.

Problems present themselves at every turn – whether you’re a prince or a pauper - and there’s usually one (or two) looming on the horizon. We wake up to them, we get sick over them, we ignore them, we get into arguments about them until eventually we sleep on them.

Problems are a universal system of discipline and development. If we didn’t have wouldn’t be’d be a dull kind of hell. If we were carefree and happy all of the time we’d never appreciate anything. Problems force us to look at life through a wider lens and hopefully help us see the bigger problem -
usually ourselves!
How do you get an elephant into a fridge?

Though we might seek help from friends to soothe our  care-worn spirit and sympathise with our worries  they can’t provide anything more than moral support. That’s because it’s rare for someone else to truly empathise with your life predicament. After all, they've never walked a day in your shoes!

Face up to the truth - your friends just don't want to sift through your pile of bullsh** or have their ears chewed off by a moaning minnie!

Friends will  offer temporary comfort and advice but it is up to you to put in the effort into finding a resolution. Solutions don’t just drop into your lap – it takes a great deal of mental energy to figure them out.  
Sharing your problems is always a private matter. You don’t discuss it on Facebook with 246 “friends” –if you do you may receive 246 responses – how confusing is that??

Close friends know you well enough but we all have secret places inside of us where our  insecurities lie.
Be careful when you share

Problems are your insecurities unmasked. If you’re a DIY evader you’ll soon find that the roof’s sprung a leak or a drain’s blocked. If you hate creepy crawlies you’ll no doubt find a spider or two in the bath. If you hate raucous, social gatherings you’ll find yourself inundated with invitations to them. Anything that challenges your emotional security will have you coming up with numerous obstacles and excuses. You attract what you fear most.

Every insecurity is a potential problem. So instead of sharing our problems we need to do some tinkering from the inside.  Looking inward takes courage. We’ve spent so long running away and hiding that it’s hard to look our deficiencies in the eye. Often we’ll need help in correcting them. That’s when professional help is useful.

Change and responsibility is the biggest commitment we can make to problem solving. Indeed something's gotta give! 
Hopefully we can hold on to our sanity before we experience full meltdown. To make meaningful change happen you usually have to upset a few people.Everyone resists change and that perhaps is the biggest problem of all. 

Once you share your ideas about change you’ll be wandering around in the wilderness. You’ll become a social pariah or worse. 
Half of your problem is sharing them so be subtle. 
Save them for your inner circle or those you consider enlightened enough to offer tried and tested  solutions. If not, shut up and open your  mind!


Sunday, 10 July 2011

Generosity does not have a budget

"Ask and you shall receive"

It’s a favourite saying: “when I have enough money I’ll give more to charity” until then I’ll just walk past that homeless person begging in the street, the “Big Issue” seller, the person rattling a tin at me and the charity canvasser.
When it comes to avoidance tactics and excuses we are masters of them.

I usually try and give whatever small change I have. I especially make it a point to buy a  copy of the Big Issue. It’s important to support the work of bona fide charities since it took the courage of a few kind souls to start up such ventures.

When our hearts and minds are open we acknowledge the pain of lack in others. Closing our minds and acting indifferent is a protective mechanism that ultimately diminishes us as human beings.

Emotional involvement in another’s hardship is no easy ride. Often it’s poor parenting and a poor education that creates the greatest havoc and leads to the dismantling of a life. Once a life is in shreds then the mind can become unhinged.

Money alone is not the answer
The pain of poverty is all too real.
A homeless person sitting in a doorway is a stark reminder of how fragile our existence is. Take away our source of income or health there’s no telling where we may end up and in what state. If not for generosity in times of crisis a cardboard box would be a permanent home for some.

Developed countries are committed to alleviating poverty. It’s quite another story in the developing world which I shall discuss in another blog.
Hunger and homelessness are blots on the spiritual landscape. Sometimes it takes more than money and government policy to cure the ills of society. What is required is a drastic change in heart and mind.

Many people give to charity. I am one of those who makes regular payments from my bank account. I like to think of myself as charitable though that doesn’t necessarily make me generous. The feeling of generosity comes when I give ( time or money) to good causes in times of difficulty.

It is easy to give when you’re well off. It’s more challenging when you are going through a lean phase. When my budget is tight I find it hard to walk past without giving anything. It makes me feel mean-spirited and unworthy of the wealth I already have. I want to feel the joy of abundance not the pain of want. I prefer the latter and so giving to charity and people in need keeps me connected to my spirit and to God.

I believe that it’s what you give when the chips are down that matter. The important thing is to give with positive energy and the receiver also gains more than his next meal. When we look around at all that we have we know we’ve been blessed and blessings are to be shared.

A smile is of benefit too
So the next time you open your purse, remember also to open your heart.


Saturday, 2 July 2011

Dirty, Pretty Things

Rubber stamped rebellion

This is a section of society that is often marginalised and who face the greatest challenges in survival. Most of the time they are up against it and when they hit the bottom they either sink or swim. When they rise, they soar and crash through any glass ceiling. They triumph against seemingly unbeatable odds and success comes to those few who are prepared to take risks. Many an economic refugee has known the benefit of seeking his fortune in places other than his country of birth.

Emotional baggage
Successful immigrant stories abound but it is the less successful ones that impact our social landscape. Immigrants leave their developing societies to join the developed. They are exposed to democracy no less and  benefits are indubitably monetary. The problem with many immigrants (of the first generation) is that they arrive with an over-inflated ego – “since you invaded our country we’re invading yours.” This is the negative post-colonial baggage they disembark with. They are quick to regale you with stories of the atrocities that were committed by post colonial powers and the chip on their shoulder is as deep as the oceans they’ve traversed. The newly arrived diaspora have a long list of grievances and complaints about their treatment at the hands of  these“foreigners” oblivious to the fact that they have now signed up to be one of them. Moreover, they would kill for a permanent residency and to show off their “foreign” passport. 

Integration is challenging for them. Sometimes they are unable to converse in the native tongue and become zealous in their efforts to preserve their own, at the expense of advancement. Unwittingly they succeed in isolating themselves from the mainstream and become social misfits. They hang out with their own maladjusted kind and build themselves ghetto like communities in a bid to find home comforts. They abandon their ideas of  prosperity as bouts of home sickness assail them. They seek out their native food, places of worship, establish language centres , shops, restaurants and generally hanker after anything that reminds them of home. Home being the oppressive and unjust systems of government that they once fled.  Home, indeed, may be where the heart is but, for an immigrant, home is “wherever he lays his hat.” He is a self-confessed economic nomad. 

Soft target
Abuse is perhaps the hardest thing of all to deal with. Immigrants are often the perpetrators of financial, psychological, emotional and physical abuses. Recklessly they run up debts through a host of feckless business deals. Once they have made enough to build that palatial home in their native country they’ll  disappear leaving a trail of creditors and bailiffs in their wake. The ones who do remain, despite  burgeoning loans and arrears, claim hardship and allow the tax-payer to bear the burden. 

My other home's a 2 bedroom flat in Tower Hamlets
Their lives become a mere existence as they claim pension, disability and a host of other state allowances. If they are not sick, they will invent a disease that’s usually incurable. Their families live just above the poverty line and generosity is not a value they are quick to cultivate. Disgruntled from receiving money for no employment they abuse their spouses and children in every conceivable way. Gaze deeply into the eyes of their children and you will see a lack lustre spirit that has had the joy of childhood wrung out of it.  These are not happy homes and its the children who suffer most. 

The hope of any immigrant is to better themselves. Sadly it appears that many believe it is by foul not fair means. They are acutely aware of their human rights but not of the rights of the people of the host country they cheat. Their lips drip with lies, boasts and admonishments. They are right and everyone else is wrong. Their education is better and therefore their moral standing far superior.  They bring the worst aspects of their cultures and attempt to laud it over their integrated and progressed brethren. Stay clear of them; they are opportunists and confidence tricksters. Their words are pretty but their hearts are unclean. 

A big thumbs down
You are too good for them and I say that without conceit. 
You cannot live in their world because you don’t know the rules and, anyway, they won’t play by them. They will lure you into a cesspit of insecurity and deceitful notions. They need you far more than you’ll ever need them. Be gentle in your rebuff but get away -  far, far away.