All roads lead to Rome

Decisions, History, Uncategorized

This is an old saying which we learnt in grade 5 or 6. And I am a little sheepish in claiming that I didn’t know the actual origin of this term.

At the height of the Roman Empire they had built about 13000 km of roads in the Gaul region(the Western European region) now part of France, Belgium etc. and about 4000km of what is now considered Britain and in other areas of Europe.

One of the core principles of the Roman doctrine was to build roads so that the Roman armies could move fast and was the reason for their undisputed might.

All the central or key roads used to terminate in Rome so that the transportation of the army from the central location to any direction was quick.

So why did I decide to look at the roads of the Roman Empire. It started because I was delving into railway line gauges- the width between the inner ends of the railway track.

Globally most railway tracks are built on what is called as standard gauge. In India we now follow what’s called the broad gauge network for all our railway lines. Initially we also followed the standard gauge or what was known in India as meter gauge.

We had to convert to broad gauge because the only way to carry a large population cost effectively in a developing country like India was to accommodate more people per journey.

So if there’s a broader track, you can have broader bogies and when you have broader bogies you can accommodate more people in a bogey.

However now most of our metro and high speed trains that are coming are coming with standard gauge. Which led me to research the size of the standard gauge -Its 4feet 8 and 1/2 inches. This is a very odd figure.

That led me to the history of the development of the standard gauge to Britain, in a town which had coal mines. Which had old remains of roads of the Roman Empire of that width.

Till then I didn’t know that the Roman Empire had extended all the way to Britain. Which made me research where else it had gone. And that brought me to the way the Empire had constructed its road network.

You see how a search for one item led me all the way back to an Empire which existed more than 3000 years back but which still impacts the diameter of the engine of the space shuttle – 4ft 8 and 1/2 inches.

Till next time time then look out, history impacts our decisions today.

Carpe Diem!!!

Lazy man’s guide to growing rich

Affirmative action, compounding, Financial Independence, Human Brain

Outsourcing in a lot of contexts is looked down upon. However by outsourcing the routine tasks that you tax your brain with can help you improve your decision making capabilities.

In addition by ensuring that you don’t use your brain, you can actually grow wealthy

Today I am going to be talking about forcing functions which take action irrespective of of your intentions – which the brain can sabotage.

Once you have outsourced the mechanism to invest systematically by giving your mutual fund the authority to automatically deduct money on a given date from your bank account, your brain no longer has to take any decision and you can just relax

We already have so many decisions to make every day that if we load one more , about investing the money, then the brain will fall back to default mode to take the decision some other day. Which if you had not guessed, doesn’t come any day. And life happens. And it happens to all of us.

We then feel bad and think we are procastinators.

Instead just take one decision with the help of your financial advisor and let your investments get done automatically and you will see your wealth grow. First it will not be appreciable but the longer you keep it, the exponential power of compounding will make its presence felt. And literary you don’t have to think about it. It will work whether you are sleeping or traveling

You can utilize this power of outsourcing brain functions in other areas also. I have asked my bank to pay my telephone and gas bills. So now my brain does not have to bother about the bills, their due dates etc. My bank automatically monitors the service providers and makes the payments and informs me. Since it makes the payment only on the due date, that money earns interest, till the payment is made.

This gives me more time and energy to do more high value tasks while I can be lazy about reaching my financial freedom targets.

Till next time

Carpe Diem!!!

Decide – You want to have financial independence

Affirmative action, compounding, Financial Independence

The word decide has origins from the Latin word caedere, which in English has the last four words “cide”. It means to cut off or to kill or equivalent. So all the words with the word “cide” in them have some relation to the word to die or to cut off. As an example sui-cide, homi-cide, are also words which mean to cut off or kill or die.

So why start this blog post with such dreary thoughts about cutting off. Its because when you DECIDE some thing, you cut off other things as possible action items. So I have seven items on my plate which I need to finish before the end of the day. But I DECIDE that I will write this blog post first. The moment I decide to write this blog post, I am therefore cutting of other things to be done at this time. I went to the Webster dictionary’s site and then I did a search on google to ensure that I was getting my facts right about the history of the word. But I kept doing things to help me write this blog post and not anything else at this time. I had cut off the other 6 things. After I finish writing this post, I will then have ti Decide which of the remaining 6 things I choose to do next.

So what has this got to do with attaining financial independence.

Well the day you Decide you want to have financial independence ( again I am not talking about being wealthy) you will take steps to invest money. Like the first step I took in 2013 of starting to invest in SIPs of Mutual Funds. There were a lot of other things I could have used that money, but I took that decision and have stuck to the decision ever since.

Similarly, I can keep talking about how compounding can help you grow, how Asset allocation needs to be done or how you should ensure your student loan gets cleared out at the earliest. But till the day you decide to do something about it, it’s all talk no action. You need to take action and decide to walk the talk.

The decision is the first step you take to move forward. Not deciding on something is also deciding to let others or circumstances to take the decision on your behalf. Life suddenly passes by and you think back and see so many forks in the road, where if you had taken the decisions life would have gone in a totally different orbit.

While I speak, I have had my own share of being indecisive and I have shared a lot of those instances with you in the blog. But as I have learnt more and more from my experiences, I have stopped talking about the experiences but more about the learning I picked up. In these blog posts I try to share those learnings with you so that you can have a bigger future compared to mine.

There’s no doubt a lot of decisions that you take (or let others take for you) do go wrong. But from each of those which went wrong you could learn something. Once you learn something, it stays with you and you make better decisions in the future.

So decide today that you want to be financially free. And then take actions with small steps by starting some regular systematic investment and in a few years the exponential nature of compounding will help you become financially free.

To your future.

Carpe Diem!!!