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From the Rat Race to Financial Freedom... A common man's journey
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Happiness Unlimited...How to be happy..always !!
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Dream On...Every setback is a little nudge from HIM to Dream On
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The Autobiography Of A Stock
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Manoj Arora    About Me
Author Mission    My Mission
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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Stocks vs Mutual Funds

Most of us feel that investing in direct company stocks is risky. Of course, it is. But so is investing in mutual funds, for the simple reason that mutual funds also invest in company stocks. You may feel that mutual funds is still safer because of the expertise that the fund house has as regards fund management and detailed analytical reports, but then remember that rewards are always in proportion to the risk. Let us do a pointwise analysis of Mutual Funds and Stocks...read on...

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Creating Positive Chains - A Social Service Sitting at Home.

Over the last few years, during my interaction with thousands of my book readers and fans, I realised that there are so many of them who want to contribute to the society and the world around them, but are unable to do so for lack of time.
So, for all of you, who want to be a part of this change and impact our society positively, here is a simple way which my daughter recently learnt....

"Happiness is not only in feeling happy but also sharing your happiness around you. It is simple. When was the last time you felt good?" I asked my daughter.

"When I was appreciated by my school teacher in front of all the children." She responded without any hesitation.

"Right, and what has been the best incident or the most positive incident in your life till date?"

"When I worked hard and got Rank 1 in the class."

"And when you learnt that you got Rank 1, what was your first thought that was making you happy?"

"Well, I was happy thinking about the fact that I will come and share this wonderful news with all of you at home."

"Right, and how were you feeling all the way from school to home?"

"Very excited to share the news with all of you."

"Exactly, that's the point - It is not only the incident that triggered happy thoughts, but also the fact that you get to share your happiness with your close friends, family and relatives which triggers further happiness."

"Right Dad."

"And then what happened when you shared those positive thoughts with your family?"

"Well, they also felt happy about it, and of course I was appreciated and felt good."

"Great, and then what do you think would have happened to them?"

"I assume that they would have felt the same happiness sharing this news with their friend circle."

"You are right baby, and the chain continues in an exponential form."

"So, what are we trying to say Dad?"

"Here is what I am trying to say. Sharing positivity around you keeps you happy and excited. But the chain does not stop there. This excitement and positive energy spreads positivity to the people with whom you share the news. The chain continues further and makes the world a better place to live. Unfortunately, it is exactly the same with the negative news."

"So, what can we really do about it?"

"We can bring a very big social change if we truly understand and appreciate this concept."

"Social change?"

"Yes. We don't need to open NGOs, we don't need to bring in any kind of other revolutions. We can bring a massive social change and make this world a much better place to live in, just by making sure that we make efforts to share positivity all around us. It is that simple, but it needs a change in our fundamental habit of pressing the 'share' button on positive things and avoiding the 'share' button when we encounter negative situations or incidents."

"I am getting it somewhat."

"And in today's web enabled technology, sharing is perhaps the easiest thing to do. Remember that all this was not easily feasible just a decade back. But today, it is. So, the next time something makes you feel happy - a video, a book, a blog, a true story - don't just stop there and smile or take pride in it. Do not just learn yourself. Take responsibility, share it among your friends, and a chain will get started."

"Right"

"And if you see a murder, a political blame game, or a natural disaster, try and calm yourself down and desist from sharing it, unless it has the potential to save someone's life."

"Super. I get it."

"Start as many 'positive chains' as you can. Get busy creating these 'positive chains'. Create so many of these positive chains that it explodes into an ocean of positivity. You may not realise this immediately, but you are definitely positively impacting someone's day or life with your sharing. Not only that, by the law of karma and the laws of attraction, what you give is what is going to come back to you. So, get set to receive great things in life as well."

"And Dad, what do we do with the negatives that come to us?"

"Just forget the negative chains. Stop the negativity right at you. Completely ignore them. Because as soon you ignore it, the chain dies off at you, and cannot grow any further. If most of us can do that, soon their will be a time when the positive chains will completely outnumber the negative chains. It is like a nuclear reaction. It just becomes uncontrollable after some time."

"Got it. I have to go Dad, and meet some of my friends urgently. Thank you for your wonderful advice."

"No problems darling, But why are you in such a hurry? Is everything fine?"

"No, everything is fine Dad. Your concept of creating 'positive chains' - this itself is worth sharing and talking to my friends...bye."

I saw her race past through the lane and mingle among her group of friends. She was in the center of the group and others were listening, as she was trying to convey a message. As I saw her create her own 'positive chain', I was just thinking that our moral responsibility as a citizen of the country, as a responsible member of this society and as a global citizen does not end by just keeping ourselves away from the negatives, and surrounding ourselves with the positive. If only we learn, the chain has stopped at us. We also have the onus to take this forward and spread more positivity around. The positive chains have to move on.

Sharing of positive information deserves much more attention than it is getting now a days. What becomes the headline today is not if someone saved somebody's life. Rather the breaking news is if someone took someone's life. We need to change that, and the change starts with each one of us, with me, with you.

Let us get going right now, and with every click, let's initiate our 'positive chains'.

The book Happiness Unlimited shows you many such lessons to lead a happier, contented life.

Cheers


Sunday, June 21, 2015

13 Mutual Fund Myths Busted

The moment we talk about Mutual Funds, what are the first thoughts that come to your mind? If it is risk, market, stocks, unsafe, low growth or anything that does not generate a positive momentum, then probably you are one of the billions who would love to burst some of your mutual fund myths...read on...

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Our opinion about ourselves is all that matters

Our opinion about ourselves is all that matters. Really? 
Arushi found out about this niche life skill when she appeared for, perhaps, the toughest exam of her student life till now.

She was preparing day and night for the All India Phase Test at FIIT JEE. She just enrolled this year. It was going to be another big challenge for her. She had been a top performer in her school till 7th standard, but this was different, very different. This was highly competitive at all India level, new concepts and a vastly different pattern of studying. 


A day before her actual exam, I was ready with my sample test. It took me more than 2 hours to prepare this sample test, and I tried and made this as close as possible to the real Phase Test situation that she was likely to face the next day.

Both, Arushi and I, had gone through a tough week of understanding  the fundamental concepts of physics, chemistry and mathematics, attempting tons of practise questions, using unlimited formulae, and hundreds of real life applications of these concepts. Google had of course been a great help.

She wanted to hit the bulls eye in the practice test. She worked and prepared herself accordingly, and she did appear for this practise test with all earnest. She was now hoping for the best score.

It was my turn to check and mark the practise answer sheet.  I could not find any issue with the first 34 questions of the 40 questions. I had to give her 100%. Then came a series of 3 questions where she goofed up.

And she was upset, and sad for she had really worked hard for it.

"Why are you sad, Arushi?"

"You know it, Dad." and she was on the verge of crying. She knew she had given it her best shot.

"But I thought you should be happy about it."

"Happy about getting these 3 questions wrong? What are you saying Dad?"

"Happy about two things:
First, doing them wrong while still in a practise test. If you were not doing this practise test, you would have been doing this wrong in the actual test tomorrow. 
Second, there is no wrong or failure - there is only learning. You should be happy that now you would get something new to learn."

"That is fine Dad, but everyone everywhere measures you by the result, and not by your knowledge or effort you put in."

"May be. But who are others to judge you? And what is the guarantee that they would continue to judge you well? More important is how does a person judge himself or herself? How do you judge yourself?"

"Means?"

"Means, no one knows you better than you, yourself. Let us say that you have the required knowledge in a subject but you get less marks than what you deserve, probably because of some silly mistakes, then would your judgement about yourself be that you do not know the subject?"

"No."

"But that's not how people outside will judge you."

"Right."

"And who would be correct?"

"Of course me. But hold on, in the end - for everything, what matters is the result, isn't it? How does my opinion about myself matter."

"No, What only matters is our opinion about yourself, and nothing else."

"How do you say that, Dad?"

"Following the expectations of others will only limit our experiences in life. Do you know that a palliative care nurse by the name of Bronnie Ware polled a number of elderly people while on their deathbeds. She asked them about their deepest regrets in life.
The following took the number-one position by a landslide:
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

"Ah, I see..."

"And remember that results are anyways, never in your hands. What you have in hand is your effort. So, go on, do your best effort, and enjoy the result - for the result is always what it should have been - just designed for you - by none other than HIM. HE has a plan for you, and he is working it out. Enjoy this beautiful journey as HE takes you forward, while you continue to make your best effort."

"I get it, Dad. I think I am all set for tomorrow's exam."

"Good for you, Arushi."

The exam day arrived. She seemed relaxed. She came back smiling after the exam, and as she met me outside the gate of the examination center, said
"God did have a plan, Dad."

Pleasantly surprised, I looked at her , and asked 
"And what was that plan?"

"I got the same question in the actual exam that I did wrong in the practise test yesterday at home, and this time I did it right."

"Awesome. What next?"

"Thats it Dad, I enjoyed appearing for the exam for the first time in my life."

"Great, and when is the result for this coming out?"

"Who cares Dad !! Who is bothered about the result. I enjoyed putting in my best effort. And I am ready for the next journey - and make it as beautiful and enjoyable as possible."

"Phew...your life skills implementation is awesome"

As we walked away to McDonald's to celebrate our great effort, we were happily aware that:

  • It is the journey and the effort that needs celebration, rather than the results.
  • We have given in our best effort, and nothing else was in our control. 
  • We only know that we have put in our best effort, and no one else in the world does. Our opinion about ourselves is all that matters - truly !!

The book Happiness Unlimited shows you many such lessons to lead a happier, contented life.

Cheers


Monday, June 15, 2015

Home Loans Vs Land Loans


While home loans are easily available for salaried employees, what about a loan to buy a residential plot? Plot loans are also available without too much difficulty and, in most cases, at the same rates as a home loan. But other terms and conditions could be different. It definitely requires some planning. Let us understand more on Land Loans...

Basic Difference
The basic difference between the Home Loan and the Land Loan is in the end-use. The plot loan is for purchase of a piece of land for a residential purpose, unlike a home loan which is for the purchase or construction of a house.

Property Location and Type
Unlike home loans which are available on all properties irrespective of their location or type, you may get a land loan only for a residential plot. Also, the property should be located within municipal or corporation limits. Consequently, you cannot obtain funding for buying an agricultural land, or for buying a piece of land in a village. 

Lower Loan to Value (LTV)
The Loan to Value (LTV) for a plot loan could be lower than in a home loan. LTV is the ratio of the loan to the value of the property, in this case the residential plot. In a home loan for buying or construction of property, lenders offer up to 85 per cent of the property value. In a loan for a plot, the LTV could be lower, at 60-75 per cent. This essentially means that you have to cough up more money from your pocket to get the loan cleared.
Maximum Loan Amount
The restriction is not only in the LTV, but also on the maximum loan amount. Most banks keep a maximum upper limit on land loans. As an example, Punjab National Bank stipulate maximum loan availability of Rs 50 lakh for purchase of land. Check with your bank on the upper limit on loan amount before you shortlist your lender, as this can considerably affect your finances if you are looking for a big ticket loan for investing.

Construction Start Date
For a land loan, the construction must start within a stipulated time period stipulated by the local authority or as specified by the bank. If construction does not start within the defined stipulated period (Earlier of the two dates), bank may recall the loan or increase the rate of interest. For example, SBI requires that construction begin within two years of availing the loan.

Tenure
Loan Tenure could also be lower than home loanFor instance, in a home loan, lenders are willing to give loans even up to 30 years. For plot loans, this tenure is somewhere between five and 15 years.

Floating / Fixed Rate
As with home loans, both floating rate and fixed rate options are available for plot loans. Lenders such as ICICI Bank, State Bank of India (SBI), Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) and PNB Housing offer plot loans at the same rates as home loans. Some lenders charge a higher rate on plot loans but this is case and profile dependent.

Tax exemption
Unlike a housing loan, which is eligible for income tax deduction for payment of both interest as well as the principal amount, 'pure' land loans do not offer any such benefit. You can avail tax deductions only if you are constructing a house in the plot. If you construct a house on the same plot, you will be able to claim tax benefits in respect of the loan from plot as well as from construction of house. 
The deduction in that case is applicable only for the loan amount taken against construction, and only after completion of the construction activity. Once the construction is completed, remember to submit copies of the completion certificate or occupation certificate to the bank so that the plot loan can be converted into regular home loan and borrower can avail income tax benefit.

Land Loan and NRIs
Non Resident Indians are a potential segment of property buyers in India. If you are a Non Resident Indian and seeking to purchase a plot through a land loan, an extensive search is required. Majority of banks do not offer land loans to Non Resident Indians. Even if offered, they may come at a higher interest rate. 

Prepayment or foreclosure
Floating rate home loans are exempt from prepayment charges by the Reserve Bank of India and National Housing Bank. However, some banks and housing finance companies have taken a view that plot loans are not included in this definition of a home loan and they may apply foreclosure charges in such cases. Customers must take a written clarification from the bank/housing finance company on this matter while availing the loan.

Eligibility conditions
As with a regular home loan, lenders will check borrowers' repayment capacity, which is based on monthly income, savings history, number of dependents in the family and spouse's income, if any.
In addition, while applying for a plot loan, borrowers need to present documents such as the copies of the allotment letter, approved drawings of proposed purchase, agreement for sale/sale deed from architect/engineer for the property to be purchased, and title deeds, including the previous chain of the property documents in resale cases.
For converted properties (change of land use, etc), banks check whether conversion charges and development charges have been paid. Non-availability of these may result in your application being rejected, despite your being eligible with regard to income and repayment criteria.

Due diligence
Unlike a built property, due diligence in case of a plot is more complex because land records are not digitised and buyers will have to refer to manual records. Buyers must check if the land ownership is single or joint or if family-owned. If so, does the seller have the right to sell or can any other family member claim the land?
A safer option is to buy a developed plot - residential ones with infrastructure like water, sewer, electricity and loans. Buyers can buy these from developers and construct their own houses.

Where and Who?
Buying a residential plot might not be possible in metro cities, where land prices are very high. But in towns like Nagpur, Aurangabad, Kanpur, Mangaluru, Bhopal, Vizag, Vijayawada, etc, developed plots are as easily available as residential flats. Some developers who offer developed plots are DLF, Unitech, BPTP, Vipul, Raheja, Aditya and Sobha.
In smaller cities, land is relatively less expensive. So, many buyers prefer to buy plots and construct their own houses. But buying a standalone plot is riskier. Not only because of the due-diligence, but because you might also have to protect it from encroachment. Guarding it, especially if it is another town, can be difficult and stressful at times.

Cheers

Manoj Arora
Freedom can buy you.... what money cannot !!

More on "From the Rat Race to Financial Freedom"

Friday, June 12, 2015

Equal Respect for all - Is it really that important?

How does it matter whether you give equal respect to someone who does something 'inferior' to you for his or her living - say your trash picker, maid servant or a security guard? Well, it could save your life one day....Read on...

"Dad, why do you always smile and ask about the wellness of our car cleaner?"
"Well, Don't I ask the same to you everyday, sweetie?"

"Yes, you do...but he is just a car cleaner and he is not related to us also."

"Well, Yes, he is a car cleaner but what has that to do with the respect that every human being deserves?"


"I am not sure, but somewhere my understanding always was that we need not be so respectful to someone 'inferior' to us. I may be wrong, but that is what I see all around happening."

"So, here are a few things that you must always keep in mind,
(1) It is not the role, but the person that deserves respect.
(2) The person is not the body that you see, but a pure, peaceful, loving soul. So, in that sense, all are equal - because that is what you, me and all of us are - pure and loving souls.
(3) This applies to not only the so called 'inferior' roles but also to the so called 'superior' roles. Thus it will remove your inferiority complex in case you are talking to someone 'superior' in role.
(4) Everyone has been created equal, and yet unique, by God. There was no role assigned to you when you were born."

"Dad, this is quite interesting, and I am sure of this being one of the prime reasons that your car cleaner never leaves your car unclean while it may not be the same commitment displayed to other car owners."

"Could be, let me share a small story with you."

"Oh, sure !!"

"There once was a person working in a chemical factory who treated everyone equally, irrespective of their role. One day, while inspecting a chemical cylinder, he felt unconscious and got locked in a room that was increasingly become filled with poisonous chemicals. Since he was unconscious, he could not raise any alarm or shout for help. The poisonous chemicals were killing him. A few hours went past like that. There was no help. He was sure to die, when all of a sudden, the security guard opened the door and found this man unconscious. He immediately took action, seeked medical attention and saved this person's life."

"But how did the security guard know that this person needs help?"

"Exactly, thats what the person asked the security guard after he recovered in the hospital."

"And what did the Security Guard reveal?"

"This is what he said - 
Sir, I have been working in this factory for more than 20 years now. There are so many workers that come in and go out every day, but you are one of the few who greet me in the morning and in the evening when leaving after working hours. Many treat me as if I do not exist at all. Today, like every other day, you greeted me at the entrance when resuming for work. But curiously, after working hours today, I observed that I have not heard your Good bye. Hence I decided to check around the factory. I look forward to your morning and evening greetings every day."

"Wow, so this person's life was saved just because he was nice and respectful to everyone."

"Yes dear, this is just a small story, but you can make a person's day by greeting them with the respect that everyone deserves equally. God never created any difference. Who are we to overrule him and decide our own hierarchy. Moreover, roles are temporary, while the soul is permanent."

"Thanks Dad for this enlightenment. I will try and implement this as soon as possible."

And is she went out to play with her friends, she just smiled at the sweeper who was busy cleaning our streets, and the sweeper smiled back. It did not cost her a penny to make someone's day a little better.



The book Happiness Unlimited shows you many such lessons to lead a happier, contented life.

Cheers


Friday, June 05, 2015

An Oscar nominee's feedback on our Wealth Management Course

For those of you who do not know who Bombay Jayashri Ramnath is, she happens to be an Oscar nominee, the best Female Playback singer (Tamil) apart from being a sought after classical performer across the globe. 
Why she happens to appear on this Blog? 
She just went through our Wealth Management Course on Classle and was all praises... Read on..

We launched our Wealth Management Course early this year with one single intent - we ought to simplify money and wealth management, and so we created a simple and yet an extremely practical and powerful course on how to create and manage one's wealth. The audio visuals in the course showed the 'students' that it needs only discipline, commitment and a fundamental understanding about money to build and manage huge wealth. As long as we are able to keep things simple, and as long as we are disciplined enough, money and wealth cannot be far away.

Since the launch of the course, there have been numerous 'students' who have successfully learned, discussed, and adapted many of the key wealth management principles in their lives - Bombay Jayashri Ramnath being one of them. 
Just like all our students, she has gone through the course audio visuals, at her own pace, many times over and tested her knowledge with quizzes and questions to grasp the power hidden in the simplicity of this course.

The feedback for the course has been expectedly astounding. You can read some of the feedback by clicking here. This love from the people who attended this course, has made us dream bigger and aim higher. We want to change the way Indian society deals with money, or at an even more fundamental level, looks at money. We want to help people help themselves. We have a mission to elevate our society, and your love and affection only tells us that we are right on track.

Here is what Bombay Jayashri Ramnath had to say for our course:
I wanted to create something that was genuinely unique and user-friendly. In my attempt to understand how teaching and learning happens here, I signed up for a three-month course in Wealth Management on Classle. Plus, I wanted to study something I was neither very good at it nor was I not particularly interested in. That course not only gave me insights on the subject but also offered a good sense of how the technology and the platform work.
You can also read her complete interview published in "Mid-Day".
She also went ahead and authored a course on Classle Platform by the title 'Rhythms and Patterns with Notes in Carnatic Music'

For those who are dealing with money in any way in their life (and I believe most of us are), then it is imperative that we understand certain characteristics of money as well simple laws and principles governing wealth creation. 

If you have missed out joining any of the previous 2 batches, you still have an opportunity to join the currently running 3rd batch of the course. Registrations to the 3rd batch will also be closing soon. Every day lost can lead to a big impact on the wealth that you finally are able to create. 

Have a look at the introductory video OR simply go ahead and get going with the Wealth Management Principles Course at Classle platform.

You never know how a small shift in the way you look at money can alter the entire life for you, your loved ones and the world around you.



Cheers

Manoj Arora
Freedom can buy you.... what money cannot !!

More on "From the Rat Race to Financial Freedom"