,“Money does seem to play a role, be it large or small, in helping us achieve everything that is important to us, ’’ said Rajen Devadason. “MONEY, money, money, must be funny in a rich man’s world.’’ Those are the lyrics of the popular song sung by the Swedish pop group ABBA, which was an international sensation in the mid-70s. They made tonnes of money from record sales and their net worth is said to be over US$1bil (RM4.1bil). Like them, there are plenty of millionaires and billionaires around and the rising capital markets continue to create more of them yearly. Whether it is hard work, societal advantage or opportunities that led to accumulation of wealth, money certainly plays an important role in a rich man’s life. “Money does seem to play a role, be it large or small, in helping us achieve everything that is important to us, ’’ said Rajen Devadason, a licensed financial planner with Manulife Investment Management (M) Bhd. With so much money to their name, it is no wonder one businessman not so long ago said that his daily shopping limit was RM1,000. That does not include his living expenses and others. That of a tycoon he knew of was RM30,000 a day. Do the maths and you can work out roughly how much wealth they have accumulated to be able to spend that kind of money on a daily basis. There is no denying, money is an essential fabric of our lives, though it is often taken for granted. Money is necessary but the love for money often corrupts and leads to greed. But without money, we can’t possibly put food on the table for our loved ones. The Covid-19 pandemic has taught many lessons to many on the value of money, its management, how excessive spending can be cut, and the need to have a safety net to ride the tide during challenging times. Success Concepts Life Planners chief executive officer Joyce ChuahTo understand the role of money in our lives, we must first focus on finding out what is our relationship with money, said Success Concepts Life Planners chief executive officer Joyce Chuah. “Secondly, we must know how money can be used to serve our goals, and thirdly, how money can also fail us, ’’ Chuah said. The childhood and adulthood experiences with money, the disappointments and financial limitations do have an impact on our decisions making over money. It is important to pay attention to these relationships with money as it will give insights to us to identify our values, attitudes and behaviour towards money management and whether we are spontaneous, careful, or have a do not care attitude towards decision making over money, according to a report. It adds that misguided decisions can affect your future and finances, while frugality on the other hand means one is overprotective of money. It can hamper one’s ability to take risks and over spend. So, having a clear mindset over money is necessary. How can we use money to achieve our goals? “It really depends on us. Either money becomes our master because we allow it to dictate our behaviour in the pursuit of even more money or we become its master by telling it where to go and how it may serve us, ’’ said Devadason. Excellentte Consultancy financial planner Jeremy Tan adds that goals and objectives are different at every phase of a person’s life. “We need to identify them so that we know how much money we need when we are single, married, with children and also for our retirement, ” Tan adds. Knowing how much is required to keep our lifestyle is necessary. That does not mean we need to be debt-free, but knowing what good leveraging can do to enhance our wealth. Often we hear that the rich get richer. This is because they have sound financial concepts required to stay rich and they focus on their net worth, work on their appreciating rather than depreciating assets, says a report. It adds that by employing the right financial strategies, taking on investment opportunities that some may see as risky and having purpose-driven portfolios are vital. Having financial data at your fingertips is a must, adds the report. According to Tan, investors must focus on a wealth accumulation plan by investing into different assets as a way of diversification and mitigation of risks. Retirement, an often ignored item, should be part of wealth accumulation. “Whatever the plan, we have to ensure the money we have accumulated lasts more than our life span, ’’ Tan said. But money can also fail us and there have been many such cases all around the world.“The biggest way money can, and does consistently fail people is when we lose sight of what it is, and what it is not, of what it can do and what it can’t, ’’ Devadason points out.He adds that if we think amassing money will make us happy by filling a void in our souls, we will always remain disappointed.He says joy and fulfilment come largely from relationships. If we use our money to care for those we love, we will consider ourselves successful.For Tan, money is liken to a “trust’’ which must be earned and managed. “Money can make or break us, it is a double edge sword and if greed overpowers us, we can easily get lured into money scams and get rich schemes and the results are often undesirable.” With money, there will always be winners and losers. Those who fail, according to experts, are because they don’t allocate sufficient time, lack discipline and management skills, have no sight of the big picture, while lacking in knowledge and expertise.
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