Jose Thomas

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TO BE OR NOT TO BE IN DEBT
Monday 26th March, 2012



     

 

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TO BE OR NOT TO BE IN DEBT

That is the question! I believe it is good to have debt. When you have debt you put your foot out and go find ways and means to make it and settle it. I have seen so many people who say, I don’t want to take on debt. I don’t want to pay the bank. You know what these people mean inside? They simply don’t want to work hard and this is going to be my next story.

One may wonder when you go to these large cities like New York, Tokyo, London, Paris, Frankfurt, in fact everywhere, I think including Mumbai you see people on the sub way, in the trains, not talking to anybody, just listening to some kind of music on their head phones, concentrating and reading newspapers, reading magazines – all on the move. I was in Santo Domingo last week (in the Dominican Republic) where I saw so many people who are laid back – just sitting back. I see people like this in the State I live in, Kerala, India. I sometimes wonder why they are not putting their foot forward. When you drive on the roads in Kerala especially in the mornings you see so many people just sitting around talking. Are they talking about their problems or, are they talking about a solution to their problems?

The youngsters today have a lot of comfort because of excellent parenting. I would call it excellent because the kids get everything. Are these kids ready to take on the challenges of being in debt? I doubt it. To such youngsters my advice would be: take on debts, borrow money, buy things, buy a two bedroom apartment, rather, buy a one bedroom apartment first in some place that you can afford, take a loan, wait for the market to grow, sell that apartment, close the loan and take a larger loan and make a bigger purchase and so on. This is how you create wealth. You become so busy that you find no time to do anything wrong. You have no time to harm anybody you have no time to hurt anyone. You just want to get on with your job and keep meeting your commitments and this is called, servicing your debt. I have seen so many people who say, “I got to work hard because I got bills to pay”. But my dear readers how many of you have debts? I know there are people who have debts. A lot of them suffer especially by taking debts for starting up businesses. But individually, do you all have a debt? Have you taken a personal loan and bought gold and seen if that market has helped you grow your personal wealth? There is a long way to go. Don’t be debt shy. Debt taken within your means simply shows that you are an entrepreneur.

I have had situations when some of my employees quit their jobs right across the table on the basis of simple issues or silly reasons even when they were well paid. And when they tell me that they are leaving because of whatever reason, I wonder whether he or she has thought about tomorrow. I even wonder (but I have never asked) if they don’t have bills to pay or commitments to meet. I also wonder how they would pay their bills if they are out of a job for the next two to three months or how they would service their debts. It is a mystery to me. How these youngsters quit their jobs in the blink of an eye right across your table without trying to make a compromise! I think people who do that don’t have commitments. They don’t have bills to pay. They may not be committed to themselves and to their lives.

In my life on several occasions I have pushed myself to the limit of going to the border where I should not be borrowing any more. If I hadn’t borrowed and if I were debt shy and if I had wanted to be living a mediocre life, I don’t think I would have reached where I am today. I have seen total debts of over what is equivalent to U.S. $15 to 20 million in my life, but I have never been debt shy because I simply believed if you borrow money and if you put that to right use, you can double it or make more from it and generate more. Of late, in the last couple of years because of my hard work for so long and careful planning which kept me out of all problems, I too started to see comfort. My debts started to fall. I started to think “Why invest again, I am debt free” and so on. But do you know what happened to me. My life started to get sloppy. I started to become lazy. I started to sleep more and started to think less. In the bargain, it started to affect me. I have never been used to relaxing, or going on vacations. But when I stopped investing, when I stopped borrowing, I saw a change in my life. Even my own bank came up to me and said, “The way you are doing business, probably you don’t need us anymore because you don’t need to borrow, you don’t need debts and you have become debt shy”.

As I was thinking of my next story whilst driving through the City of New York on a bridge heading down to New Jersey. I saw many things happening around me and I said to myself, “Wow”. On one side I saw New York City – the World Trade Center coming up day by day and trade and commerce getting better and I resolved that I can’t stop to borrow. I got to do more. I got to invest more. Suddenly I just decided that I would make another major investment by starting another factory. You know what will happen when I decide to build one more factory? I would borrow money, help the economy, build the factory, spend money and the money spent would go to some body. I would then employ people and create jobs. In the bargain if I have a plan in place, I will make money and I will become wealthier.

Never be debt shy. Keep looking at what you can do, but the fundamentals have got to be there. You need your equity to borrow and that’s what I always say. You need assets to offer to your banks to borrow. You cannot go with an empty hand or an empty tin or empty can. Everybody cannot be in business. You need employers and employees. But if an employee wants to grow his personal wealth, I suggest you read what I have written above – borrow and invest within your limits and have the patience to grow your wealth slowly, step by step.

To do this, to find bankers, you need more than your personal assets or collateral, you need relationships. You need to build that kind of confidence in that lender. I have seen so many cases where border line proposals have been financed by banks and institutions simply because they like the individual. They like his confidence – they like his approach to business which is a very important point. I myself have gone and hung out in places where I should be – in bars, restaurants and conferences and in places where people who are greater than me come and socialize. I make friends there and let me tell you friends, I have done a lot of business on evenings through my personal relationship process.

You need good PR to be in business. You need to have contacts. You need to make friends even though they may not be real friends. But you’ve got to sometimes go out and make friends and do something extraordinary – go out of the way to create relationships for which you need to go that extra mile. And you’ll never know how many will become indebted to you for that in the end!

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Responses to
 JACOB NINAN says:
VERY INTERESTING PIECE OF ADVICE TO A YOUNGER GENERATION FROM A MATURED ENTRPRENEUR WHO LIVES WHAT HE SAYS.'" HE HAS WLAKED THE TALK" SO THIS IS A VERY VALUABLE ADVICE. KEEP BLOGGING SIR. JACOB NINAN
 
 ranjit says:
sirji , you made my day thank you.... ren
 
 suraj says:
Hi Sir, Thanks for this article.
 
 shabeer says:
hi i find the thought to be very good only for those who are slaves to the their time. people being rich is all about having time.
 
 Biju Davis says:
Sir, this worked for you well.... but, will that be the case with everyone? And, can we blame someone, who prefers to lead a peaceful life, with what he has... :)