Ahmad Abdul Haq


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Sumber: Kick Andy.com


Jumat, 21 Nopember 2008 07:49 WIBLife

Life Increasingly numbers and figures are becoming the means by which we define our lives. We measure our joy in yields and gains and track our emotions in the rise and fall of capital market indexes. Our sentiment soars when the stock market is high and falls when share prices plunge. Our confidence level is suitably adjusted to the Consumer Confidence Index without which we have no clue as to how we should feel, while bank interest rates play a bigger role in determining our moods than the weather and the total value of our happiness is marked to market.

With the present financial crisis more and more do we obsess about numbers as if the meaning of life rests in the state of the country's macro-economic indicators, the value of our existence in income per capita and the purpose of our being on the planet is for our national currency to achieve the perfect exchange rate – not too high so as to be good for import and not too low so better for export with just the right strength so we could enjoy a foreign holiday every now and then. More and more we give ourselves headaches trying to keep up with and trying to understand the fluctuating prices of everything from oil, precious metals and commodities to share prices. We go into hysterics when commodity prices hit the roof but fall equally into spasms when the trend points downwards. More and more our dreams and hopes for a better future are hostage to the value of our so-called investment.

We put so much time and energy accumulating bits of paper with names like Bonds, Commercial Papers, Stock, Shares, Mutual Funds, Structured Notes which we never get to see or really understand what they are other than diminishing numbers in our monthly financial statements. Even the king of paper, which is cash money, is becoming exactly that, paper with numbers written on it whose value go up and down for no reason other than market sentiment and public confidence.

Even when we peg our wealth to gold, extra property or works of art, still numbers and figures dog us. We only appreciate these things when their perceived values appreciate: when their worth depreciate they cease to be attractive and we lose our appetite for them. We have no real understanding or practical use for them other than following our economic priests' mantra to diversify and the need to appease the gods of our religion called Return on Investment.

And yet when the gods refuse to be appeased, depriving bankers of a good night sleep and preventing traders from enjoying their extra long lunch breaks as the global capital markets languish in the doldrums, perhaps the time is ripe for us to decouple ourselves from the need to define our existence in abstract numbers that fluctuate in value or investment that can disappear for reasons beyond our comprehension and start to invest in things that truly matter: Things that have values with returns far higher than the most aggressive yields and more rewarding than any stock dividends.

There are many such investments and ones that require no brokers or fund managers. We all can create our own portfolios and when properly managed these investments give huge dividends at practically no risks. Moreover, the rewards can be enjoyed not only by yourself but also by those around you and not just for the short term but also for the long term when they are most likely to be needed.

I have my own investment portfolio that I have tried to develop, maintain and diversify over time in a more or less disciplined manner, and which I hope will keep me in good shape in the long term. The first and most important investment in my wealth management plan is Health. 'Health is Wealth' my father would say, for without it, the richest man is poorer than any pauper. I cannot agree more as if there is one form of investment anyone should make in this life, is not by buying cheap shares and have heart attacks over them but in investing in one's health. It does not guarantee a one hundred percent returns in terms of freedom from sickness and diseases and yet it goes a long way in providing one a productive and active life with minimal hospital bills. This is not an easy type of investment of course, as it requires discipline in paying the premium in the form of good eating and healthy habits, but rarely does anyone I know regret making this type of investment.

Another rewarding investment I find is not Time Deposit but in Making Time. For busy executives with targets to achieve this might be a difficult thing to do and yet in the long term this is an extremely good investment to make especially when one has already failed in investing in one's health. Investment bankers who can no longer focus on their strokes in the golf course would do well to make time for their families, friends and loved ones as well as on themselves rather than getting stressed out watching their money disappear down the drain. They will not only make themselves and their friends happy but they will be well cushioned from the possible hazardous effects should their numbers and figures investment fail. For proper investment in relationships rarely fail as their value does not rest in illusory numbers that shift and change, but in true and tangible wealth that no money could buy. (Desi Anwar, Tempo English)

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