Being optimistic is great but being blind – not so much. Everyone is emotional about their family, everybody hopes that nothing wrong should happen to them, everyone prays that there is peace and harmony. All these thoughts do make sense but there is always a possibility of life jumping up behind you and shouting a ‘surprise’ every now and then.
I have come across several clients who in their first meeting have told me that they have two sons and they are like Ram and Laxman. There is a lot of respect and love between them. And then the same client has come back to us a few years later telling us that they now realize that their sons are Raavans.
I know of a gentleman, in his mid-60s, who gifted his house and business to his children. His children not only fought day in and day out but also were so inconsiderate that they threw their aging parents out of the house. This was the same house that the old couple had built with a lot of love hoped that one day the entire family would live together, happily.
Basically, when Ram, the perfect man, perfect king and The God was not spared then who are we? We are mere mortals, after all. My colleague and business partner Dipti once told me a story (popular folklore in Gujarathi). She said that there used be an old lady staying with her big family. She had a steel box in her possession which she would guard carefully. The old lady would make one or the other family member lift it every day and move it to a safer place. When lifted, the box would be really heavy and rattled. So everyone believed that the old lady had a lot of wealth and hence took good care of her. One day she died and her family immediately opened the steel box only to realise that it contained some coins, pebbles and stones – worthless trinkets! Isn’t there a lesson we can all learn from this story?
I normally advise my clients not to gift everything to their kids during their lifetime. I always tell them to write a Will and allow the devolution to happen when the time is right.
Over the course of the years, we have seen so many empires getting destroyed because of family infighting, several businesses dying an infamous death. And still we don’t want to learn. None of what I advocate is intended to tell you to not provide for your family. I only advise my clients to be wise and responsible more than emotional, when it comes to money matters.
There is a saying in Marathi and it goes as “Taat dyava pun Paat nahi”. This roughly translates to – “Offer a plate of food to the needy, not your own seat”. Do you agree?