Life is not fair – make the most of it

Concept of rich and poor in person.Life is not fair. Those who cry for equality are simply naive about how the world works. There is inequality everywhere. The thing is that sometimes the inequality works to our advantage and at such times we do not complain. Sometimes it works to our disadvantage and at such times we are bound to complain.

Consider some things we take for granted that illustrate this truth: a CEO will get more money than the guy on the factory floor. Equality would say everyone contributes to the company’s bottom line so everyone should get the same rewards.

Not all players on a premier league soccer team get the same pay. Each one has their value, they are not equal. When getting on a plane business and first class passengers get priority  and they get better service overall with a better flight experience both on and off the flight.

In the cinema you can pay extra to have a premium experience, such as Prestige cinema. Banks have ordinary customers and they have various levels of premium customers whom they provide, or at least are supposed to, give better and more convenient service.

Your maid or gardener is not equal to you by a long shot. But that works out to your advantage because it means you can afford their services.

Economic inequality is everywhere

These examples illustrate one very important thing – economic inequality. It is everywhere in our daily lives. A lot of it you accept and a lot of it you do not actually think of as inequality. It just seems to be the way the world works and you go along with it.

Sometimes, once in a while, when you are on the wrong side of the equation you might get that deep sense of frustration or dissatisfaction. Sometimes you might get a sense that you too deserve better.

You deserve the good things in life

Yes. You do. Deserve better. We all do. We all deserve to be premium bankers, to be business class or first-class travellers, to be able to take a fun holiday at least once a year, to drive a luxury car, to be able to afford first class healthcare. We all deserve that.

The world is not going to change any time soon. Complaining will not change anything, inequality is only getting bigger around the world with the gap between rich and poor is growing.

The only question is, which side of this equation do you really want to be on and what can you do to get there? Clearly it takes more effort to be a “have” than to be a “have not”. But…might as well put in that effort.   Things are not likely to change on their own.

So get angry, get impatient, get working towards it. Direct that energy to getting on the other side of the scale. Once you are there, you inevitably pull others there too. Your family, your friends, your employees, your neighbourhood, your country. It starts somewhere and that is with you.

Commit to it

For me, that is one big way to fight the inequality – getting more people to be on the good side of the equation. Yes, there are other ways, influencing policy, changing laws and rules and so on. But nothing beats simply increasing and spreading the wealth around. That tends to bring about more change in the long run.

I subscribe to what someone said a while back: “Get rich, it is the best way you can help the poor.”

Granted the journey is not certain, victory is not guaranteed. But we can learn from those that are on the good side of the economy what they are doing or did right and apply the lessons ourselves. If someone else has done it, why should it not be possible for you? It is possible. It is doable.

I decided I am going to work hard and smart so that I am not the one envying the people in business class, the one crying “foul” when the queue in the bank is long and someone walks to front with premium membership. I decided I will be one of those people.

I am committed to learning how and to applying those lessons. I will be on the right side of this equation. You can decide too. Any day. Today.

Going in Style – A movie about financial freedom in old age

indexOn my flight from Accra to Johannesburg recently, I watched a movie titled “Going in style.” I was intrigued by the cast lineup of Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin and Michael Caine, whom I always enjoy watching. They are masters at their trade and a good example of what it means to excel at what you do, making it seem so natural. They espouse much of what I teach about purpose and destiny.

It was a funny though sometimes sad story about three old gentlemen who suddenly find themselves without their pensions after decades of hard work. With the threat of foreclosures on their properties and being unable to make ends meet they decide to go out with a bang and rob a bank to get some good old fashioned justice.

To find out how that mad plan goes you must watch the movie. No spoilers from me. The thing that got my attention was that this story is played out with millions of people all over the world. Having worked hard all their lives and finally retiring many hope for some much needed rest and relaxation, only to be let down by the system they trusted so much.

Pension payments do not come, and when they do they are insufficient to have any kind of lifestyle other than barely surviving. Medical care becomes unaffordable. Small luxuries have to be foregone and life becomes an ever shrinking circle of experireces.

Unfortunately, robbing a bank to get out of this situation is neither practical nor advisable for many. Western prisons may have some basic facilities and offer a decent standard of life and medical care, but that is not the case for us as Africans.

Thus it is ever more critical to plan for your old age and ensure that you have the income to be able to live well and sustain a certain quality of life. A pension is good, but for most people it is barely enough to get by. You can’t trust nor depend on it. Just because many do does not mean you should. Many can be disappointed and often are. An additional income is necessary.

Yes, children might look after you in your old age, but even if they want to and are happy to, life has its own pressures and they might just be unable to. It is better if they help when they can rather than as a necessity.

Planning for retirmeent or old age is very crirical. There is nothing worse than being poor and old, especially if you have had a reasonably okay life financially. I hate to see old people working so hard as gardeners, guards, drivers and the like, unable to quit their jobs for necessity.

Yes, no one says you should retire and do nothing. You can retire and pursue other interests and still be useful to society. You can be on hand as a consultant with vast years of experience when needed. You can write that book, paint that painting. The thing is you cannot do these finer things if you have bread and butter issues to worry about.

So do not go robbing banks. Do not go depending on someome else to look after you in your old age, as much as you can avoid it. Plan for it. Invest smartly for it. Save for it. Work smartly for it.

Old age should be your best time, having lived a full life and become all you could possibly have become.