So, my first blog and I didn’t have a clue as to what to pen down. I spent several weeks trying to line up my thoughts but my grey cells wouldn’t budge. So then, what to start out my momentous journey on the web with? Looking desperately for inspiration, I found it in a book that I had accidentally picked up in the library in the Finance section.
In reading “Killing Sacred Cows” By Garrett Gunderson and Stephen Palmer – I found myself staring at a mirror. Garret and Stephen has essentially captured some of my key thoughts. This is the first time I have reviewed a book, so here goes. The authors make some interesting arguments that I found quite persuasive.
But first the title – “Killing Sacred Cows”? That’s really a strange title. For the authors, “Sacred Cows” Are financial myths that the rest of the world lives by and they are out to dispel (or kills) these myths that govern our financial lives. In the world that we live in, we are told that one needs to sock away money for what turns out to be our afterlife. We save, cut corners, penny pinch in order to “invest” for our future. But why? At retirement, which could be years away when we begin to withdraw from these accounts, the authors contend that most of us will not be in a position to enjoy the money that we worked so hard to save. We’ll definitely be much older and maybe beset by a number of health problems among other things. The authors poke holes at this fundamental theory of “accumulation”. Why not, they say, shouldn’t we learn to live a quality life that entails pursuing our passions? And while we are pursuing our passions, can we not make some decent money? Yes, it is possible. Using our passions to add value to the lives of others will be fulfilling to not only yourself but also to folks who value your work. And value for work directly translates to compensation.
There are other myths that the authors try to dispel using common sense arguments. Myths like “Money is Power” or “High Risks = High Returns” are essentially taken apart by the authors. One of the things that they contend is that many of these myths are essentially marketing campaigns for financial services companies who stand to gain by taking your money in the form of “investments”. When the financial services companies make money, someone loses money at the other end of the transaction and that someone may just be you. Garret and Stephen also take a big swing at 401(k) plans saying that these are instruments that essentially don’t add any value to your money.
In a nutshell, the book is a very interesting read and will force oneself to introspect about their financial situation. While the contents very much resonated with me, I also felt that the myth-busters could have conveyed their ideas in a tome that contained lesser number of pagesJ.
If there was one takeaway for me, it was the concept of “Soul” vs. “Sole” Purpose. The difference in spelling is very subtle, but the meaning is very profound. The authors propose and I agree that, one should pursue their “soul” purpose as opposed to “solely” pursuing money via a profession they do not enjoy. Pursing one’s “soul” purpose, whatever it may be will result in fulfillment, both emotional and eventually financial. Now, how many of us are out there pursuing our “soul” purposes?