The best financial advice I ever got

     Print Edition: January 24, 2008

There’s more to financial success than buying a hot stock, a good fund or prime property. Does that sound odd in a personal finance magazine? But consider this: some of the most financially successful people aren’t necessarily financial wizards.

Their claim to fame, and wealth, lies in what they do best—business, sports, entertainment, politics…. If the country’s rich and powerful don’t spend their time chasing the best performing funds or the hottest stocks, how did they create their wealth?

In association with India Today, we asked a selection of celebrities in every field what guided them to success. In almost all cases, we found that it was advice given to them that made or changed the course of their lives and careers, and, therefore, their finances.

Even if the advice was not purely financial, it helped them achieve financial success. In fact, not one of those we spoke to named an investment idea as the best advice they got.

Instead, they spoke of simple strategies, attitudes and philosophies that we wouldn’t normally associate with money matters. And in this simplicity lies the profundity of the ideas.

In fact, some of the advice might seem too simple, almost simplistic. But the beauty lies in how this advice was acted upon. Another insight we got was that an overwhelming amount of advice was career-oriented. But for more on that, turn the page to start learning from real-life success stories.

Shah Rukh Khan

Don’t cut expenses; earn more

Shah Rukh Khan, Actor

My mother was a positive thinker with a unique perspective on life. She told me never to waste time thinking about cutting back expenses.

The time and energy spent on plugging holes could be more constructively used in trying to increase income. This thought has always stayed with me. And I have found the advice bears results. Another piece of wisdom I hold dear is from one of my oldest friends Viveck Vaswani.

He told me: “When you start acting, don't go by what films you want to be in because you won't have much choice. First, become a star and then fulfil your artistic and storytelling instincts.” In short, as he said, you must deserve before you desire.

As told to Kaveree Bamzai

 

Balance ambition and realism

LN Mittal, Steel Tycoon

LN Mittal

Someone once told me: “Reach for the stars but always keep one foot on the ground.” It’s a piece of advice that’s more philosophical than merely practical in nature and hence can be applied to every sphere of life. I have tried to incorporate this philosophy in everything I do and these words have never failed me.

It is a fact that ambition can be overwhelming. While challenging yourself to reach the next peak, it can sometimes prove difficult to hold on to values such as integrity. It also might get difficult to stay in touch with reality.

This advice to keep one foot on the ground while reaching high has always kept me grounded, even when I was flying high. Success, whether it is in business or in investing, is really no reason to lose sight of reality.

As told to Shankkar Aiyar

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