Yesterday – Saturday – was an exceptional day, and I will tell you why. From nine to three was at Trans Asia for the workshop “How to Retire Rich” organised by Colombo Stock Exchange. The market’s devastated so they want people to come in and pick up stocks. The workshop was great. I mean for the material girls and boys. The first session convinced us that our kids will not be able to look after us, our government will not look after us (for purely demographic reasons, if not for others), the inflation will suck the value of what we earn and save and that by the time we retire in say 2030, at the rate of 20% inflation you would need more than five million bucks a month to survive. Ofcourse before that, you got to build your house in say, Boralasgamuwa, and buy a Toyota Corrolla at least and send your son to Middlesex for his IT degree, and oh, you have to afford at least a Pomenarian, right? Say your EPF runs out by 75…if you are a woman your avarage life expectancy is you’ll live till 76. And if you live till 80, HOLY SHIT!
So in one slide:
So basically, there were more graphs, calculations, predictions, speculations, analysis. The bottom line was you got to have an investment portfolio. Then, you got to calculate: diversify your invenstements. Plan. Research. Strategize. Invest. Buy low – sell high. Shave off. Cut-loss. Re-invest for highest interest rates. If you loose money, don’t worry, the world is not going to end tomorrow. Think Long Term. Think Real Income.
See, now I know a thing or two about Financial planning.
Please don’t misunderstand. I am not mocking this whole logic. It’s probably right; it;s probably true; it’s probably sane. But I cannot live on DELAYED GRATIFICATION!!! I cannot forgo life in order to live rich in retirement. I don’t want a house, unless it is a creative excersice to build one. I do not want dependents. My whole counterpoint was that: you get started on that line, you gonna go sleepless, baby. SLEEPLESS NIGHTS FOR A SECURE FUTURE. Sounds like a way too late sequal to FOR A FEW DOLLORS MORE!
So I walked out saying that I got to have my kinda strategy. Live Simple. Die Early. While living simple invest as much as possible in food, sex, wine, travelling, movies, books, good music, good clothing, make up, friends, good art. (I might be missing a lot here, but anyway…)Also help a couple of people who are needy, who are around you…say the security guard at your office, or the cleaning lady, for instance. Talk to them! My security guard has a wife with cancer. She cries every time when he bathes her propped on a chair. The cleaning lady wants to send her son to Abu Dabi. See…
So that was nine to three, Saturday. In the evening, I went to join a group of friends. the art house crowd, ofcourse. No flashy mobiles dangling in their hands like in those in the workshop in the morining. Jesus, it’s like a diffferent planet. So they talked politics for a while. And then, they start singing. Sunil sang a Russian song from his college days, playing the guitar…raising his voice to a pitch that would make any woman’s heart toss! I was mad about him for those moments, sitting beside him!
And loosing myself in that revelry, I just felt, a fleeting sensation, my heart skipping from on clapping pair of hands to the other, that THIS is happiness. This is life and the best it could ever be. I loved every one in that room, yet I was not attached to any. I was not aching or pining for anyone, or anything. I had no dreams of things to achieve, personal or higher. material or intellectual. No more money to be earned, cars or houses, no more exams or certificates, no more need for husbands, babies, or even the urge to travel more…or live more…to change the political system of sri lanka…or anything really…i did not want, crave, need, yearn, pine, for anything, or anyone.
Driving back home alone in the night, with Sunil’s voice reverberating in my heart, I decided for myself: I will live simple (like a queen). And die early.
And the rest of the world can keep calling me insane for the rest of my life.