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11 financial planning lessons from Ganesha

Last updated on: September 26, 2012 18:17 IST

11 financial planning lessons from Ganesha

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Hiral Thanawala, InvestmentYogi.com

Lord Ganesha is known as the god of wisdom, remover of obstacles, symbol of happiness, master of knowledge, etc equally adored by kids as well as grown up people. There are so many things to learn from Ganesha's idol. Today, we will see what message he conveys to us on financial planning when you look at his physique (appearance). This will help you to gain some insights on financial planning, change your financial behaviour and bring prosperity in life.

The credit for this interpretation on financial planning from Lord Ganesha's physique goes to my friend Jigisha. Two years ago, when her financial planning was in absolute disarray. She was trapped under loads of debt due to a personal loan she had availed and unchecked spending on credit card bills; also she had taken some wrong investment decisions amounting to more losses, purchased things as per desires and did not analyse her requirements before opting to buy. Due to such illogical financial planning situations in her life, she was stressed out. During that time she visited Shree Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai to worship and concentrated on Lord Ganesha's appearance for some time. HIS physique gave directions to resolve her problems and she learnt 12 financial planning lessons from HIM.

1. Big head

Lord Ganesha's 'Big head' tell you to 'Think big' and out of box during such situations. There are solutions to every problems you face in life. You just need to analyse the situation by keeping calm and the answer lies within it. Here, Jigisha had taken wrong investment decisions and kept all eggs (investment amount) in one basket (asset class) which turned into losses. Also, she had concentrated only on one aspect of financial planning i.e. investment planning.

She learnt a lesson from her oversight that diversification in asset allocation is a must in when markets are volatile. She understood that with investment planning equal importance must be given to other aspects like tax planning, retirement planning, estate planning and insurance planning which play vital role in making a comprehensive financial plan.

An important message she learnt is managing debt by planning it ahead and to take investment decisions considering her goals and risk appetite.

Hiral Thanawala is a PGDM (Finance) graduate and certified financial planner. The views explained by him are personal. He can be reached at hiralthanawala@gmail.com

Investmentyogi.com is a one-stop personal finance website which helps in managing finances, investments and taxes through services like financial planning, online tax filing, budgeting and 'Ask the Expert'.

Photographs: Sanjay Sawant/Rediff.com

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2. Small eyes

The 'Small Beautiful Eyes' tell you to 'Concentrate' on your financial planning goals.

You need to ask questions to yourself like: why do I need a financial plan? What are my specific goals with time frame to achieve it? The goals which are identified need to be prioritised and then start working to achieve it.

Earlier, Jigisha's investment decisions lacked specific goals with her investment decisions; she didn't prioritise her goals and time frame to achieve them. Now, she maintains a table that has a holistic view on investment decisions with specific goals attached to it as shown in the table below:


Photographs: Sanjay Sawant/Rediff.com

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11 financial planning lessons from Ganesha

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3. Large ears

'Large Ears' tells you to 'Listen More' to financial advisors/planners.

There are interviews and TV shows by financial planners/experts that give insights on financial planning. Learn more about financial planning from their discussions and see to it that your plan is perfect. If it's difficult to manage your financial plan then meet these experts to chalk out your financial plan and follow the recommendations they suggest to move in right direction.

In the past, Jigisha's financial plan was cluttered; she took decisions which she thought were perfect for her without taking any expert advice. Later she understood her financial planning required some guidance. So, she turned to me for advice on financial planning since I was her friend and a practicing financial planner.


Photographs: Satish Bodas/Rediff.com

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4. Small mouth

Know this popular proverb: Actions speak louder than words?

This means what someone says is different from what they do. 'Small Mouth' of Ganeshji tells you to 'Talk Less' and work on financial plan with 100 per cent dedication and focus to achieve fruitful returns.

It is often seen people prepare financial plan and say they would start following it from that moment but after a few weeks keep pushing its implementation ahead citing silly excuses.


Photographs: Sanjay Sawant/Rediff.com
Tags: Ganesha

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5. One tusk

One Tusk' conveys 'Retaining Good and Throwing away the Bad'. It means analyse your portfolio periodically, sell off investments which are making losses and stay invested in assets that are performing well.

Interpreting from Lord Ganesha's one tusk, Jigisha churned out her investment portfolio which was making losses and then diversified her portfolio giving consistent returns of approximately 18 per cent per annum since 2010.


Photographs: Abhishek Mande/Rediff.com

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6. Trunk

Ganeshji's 'Trunk' conveys 'High Efficiency and Adaptability' and tells you to evaluate your portfolio on a regular basis. There are times during which an investor needs to take defensive decisions and diversify investment to fixed deposits/bonds. But, when market look strong fundamentally investors should take aggressive decisions of investing a major chunk into stocks which has potential to perform well in future (long term).

Financial planning also requires regular review and continuous progress to achieve set goals with some adjustments and overcoming the obstacles. In the past, when Jigisha's investment was deteriorating she didn't review it on time and adapt to the situation. This led to losses in her portfolio.

Now, she understood the importance of efficiency and adaptability and keeps a watch on news which could impact her financial plan and investments.


Photographs: Sanjay Sawant/Rediff.com

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7. Large stomach

Large stomach' of Ganeshji asks us 'to digest all good and bad financial experiences in life'. Overcome bad financial experience as Jigisha did and look forward to brighter future by taking right steps from time to time to achieve your set financial goals.

Take every bad financial experience as a learning by analysing it and consider yourself one step closer towards success. Also, don't be over confident with good financial experiences and success you achieve while taking financial decisions.


Photographs: Sanjay Sawant/Rediff.com

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8. Right foot over left foot

Ideally, we see Ganeshji's with his right foot over the left foot while he is in a sitting posture. This represents using 'knowledge and reason to overcome emotions'.

Here, Jigisha took an advice (knowledge) from a financial planner to take corrective measures about her financial plan and overcame the emotions which she was going through.

You shall increase your financial planning knowledge by reading books, periodical magazines or personal finance newspaper on a regular basis to get some guidance from experts.


Photographs: Satish Bodas/Rediff.com

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9. Axe

A lot of Ganesha idols show him holding an axe in one of his hand. He holds it 'To cut off all bonds of attachment'. It means don't get attached to particular companies/asset class and stay invested even when they are not performing well.

For example, Jigisha had invested Rs 1 lakh (i.e. 70 per cent of her investment into equities) in Reliance Industries which has not been performing well since last few years. She had an attachment with this company like many other investors. She did not sell it even when stock price declined on a regular basis. The ideal decision would have been to exit from this stock when prices were declining and invest the proceeds in a company whose future business looked brighter.

Keeping yourself away from attachment with stocks or asset class (gold, silver, etc) will keep you floated during volatile markets and help to take wise buy and sell decisions depending on market situations.


Photographs: Satish Bodas/Rediff.com

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10. Mouse at Ganeshji's feet

Ideally, we see Ganeshji using a mouse for a ride or has a mouse at his feet. This image conveys that 'you must keep your desires under control and not allow them to take you for a ride'. Desire could be anything: purchase a car, LED television set, play station for children, an iPad, latest iPhone, etc. While preparing a financial plan, you need to keep a check on your desires and their actual requirement.

Keeping desire under control and focusing only on actual needs will help you build a realistic financial plan which is measurable and easily achievable.


Photographs: Sanjay Sawant/Rediff.com
Tags: Ganeshji , LED , Ganesha

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11. Modak and prasada

Ganeshji loves Modak and offers prasada to his devotees. These are considered as 'rewards of Sadhana (Devotion)' for followers. By, following recommendations/advice given in a financial plan you will definitely be rewarded in the form of achieving set goals in a timely manner.

Having 'Lord Ganesha' as your friend is a sign of blessings so move ahead in life by understanding these 11 financial planning lessons from Lord Ganesha as Jigisha did and follow her to solve your financial problems.

Happy 'Ganesha Chaturthi' to all readers from Investmentyogi!!!


Photographs: Rediff Archives

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