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The weight of the world ,....The Get Rich Slowly Philosophy

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posted by Hughes Songe alias bernawy hugues kossi huo on Tuesday 17th of April 2018 06:49:17 PM

IN MANY years as a foreign correspondent, quite often in scrapes, Bagehot only once troubled Her Majesty’s representatives overseas for help. This was in Kigali, six years ago, after Rwandan agents looted his hotel room. Ignoring two passports and several hundred dollars in cash, they stole the fruits of a three-week research trip through neighbouring Congo—notebooks filled with accounts of the massacres and rapine carried out by Rwandan soldiers there during the previous decade. Using software that is not commercially available, they also evaded the security settings on a laptop computer belonging to The Economist and erased its contents. In this section The lessons of Boris It was annoying, not least because as a British taxpayer your columnist was helping pay the thieves’ salaries. Rwanda, a fly-speck central African country, with 10m people and of no strategic interest for Britain, has in recent years received over half a billion pounds of British aid: far more than it has had from any other country. Hence Bagehot’s hopeful request to Britain’s envoy to help retrieve his stolen belongings. Fat chance of that. The ambassador appeared not to believe that President Paul Kagame’s government would stoop to such a trick. Yet it was clear then, and has become clearer since, that it is one of Africa’s most ruthless, repressive and belligerent regimes. It is also tactless; last year British sleuths uncovered a Rwandan plot to kill two dissidents in London, one of them a Liberal Democrat activist. But Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) still backs Mr Kagame. After he was shown to have armed his umpteenth uprising in Congo earlier this year, Rwanda’s other main donors, including the EU and Sweden, froze all or part of their largesse. So did Britain; but then DFID’s departing boss, Andrew Mitchell, used his last day in the job in September to slip Rwanda £16m ($26m). Mr Mitchell does not much like Lib Dems either. Still, what was he thinking of? His successor, Justine Greening, now has this and bigger questions to worry about. A decision to protect DFID’s budget against cuts was one of the coalition government’s boldest policies—a matter of both conviction and strategy. It chimed with David Cameron’s benign paternalism and with the prime minister’s bid to make the Conservative Party appear more compassionate. Yet the longer Britain’s economic doldrums endure, the more controversial this exemption seems. Right-wingers are seething. “Monster behind genocide and rape squads” ran a headline in the influential Daily Mail newspaper, above a photo of Mr Kagame campaigning for a recent presidential election—which he won with 93% of the vote. Other parts of DFID’s spending are also under attack, including £280m a year given to India, a country with an aid programme (and space programme) of its own. Lord Ashcroft, a Tory tycoon, senses a “growing fury over giving away ever-increasing sums to foreigners”. Polls suggest he may be right: almost half of Britons, according to the latest by YouGov, support the notion that “Britain should look after itself, and leave poorer countries to sort themselves out.” That there are not more of these curmudgeons is testament to one of Britain’s more laudable features: a philanthropic concern for the world that has survived its shrinking global influence. As a share of gross national product, Britain gives three times more aid than America and 50% more than Germany. Its charity also comes with few strings. France channels much of its aid to its African clients; DFID is forbidden by law to take British national interest into account. For this and other reasons, development wonks (which Britain has in abundance) praise DFID richly. Far from incompetent—as its critics say it is—it frequently comes up in Whitehall audits as the government’s best performer. Seeking to trumpet these achievements, Mr Mitchell went so far as to call Britain a “development superpower”. Paved with good intentions That was an ill-chosen phrase, because power suggests influence, which DFID has little of. Poverty reduction, not influence, is its forte, which is why it has kept faith with Mr Kagame. His regime may be repressive but it uses aid well; between 2006 and 2011 Rwanda cut its poverty rate by almost 12 percentage points. Yet this progress has come at some cost to DFID’s reputation, and, in a violent region, will be reversible so long as Mr Kagame continues to stamp on dissent. Britain’s donations to India, not dissimilarly, are also easy to justify in the narrowest development terms. Despite its growing wealth, India has more poor than Africa and a state that is largely incapable of serving them. Yet the country’s new wealth makes DFID’s support to India anomalous. It appears illogical to many Britons and humiliates India. The country’s president, Pranab Mukherjee, has rudely derided Britain’s alms as “a peanut”. Contrary to what many wonks wish to believe, politics and development are inseparable, for the donor as well as the recipient. Ms Greening appears to recognise this. In a spirit of self-preservation, she has tightened her control of DFID’s spending, launched an inquiry into Britain’s support for Rwanda and is expected to announce a large reduction in British aid to India on November 9th. She is right to do so: if the department’s mostly well-spent budget cannot be justified both at home and abroad it is liable to be slashed. That would not only be a loss to the poor people who might benefit from it. Britain also gains from its prowess in dispensing aid, albeit in a vaguer way than Mr Mitchell’s talk of his department as a superpower suggested. To continue punching above its weight in the world, as its economic and military advantages shrink, the country will need other areas of expertise such as this. One admiring foreign diplomat even suggests DFID’s strengths semi-justify Britain’s permanent seat in the UN Security Council. All the more reason for Britain to give more carefully. The Get Rich Slowly Philosophy Published on - April 15th, 2010 (Modified on - November 3rd, 2010) (by J.D. Roth) 44 Comments 0 There’s been an influx of new readers at Get Rich Slowly lately. To serve as an intro the new folks (and to celebrate the site’s fourth anniversary, and in honor of Financial Literacy Month), today I’m going to review my financial philosophy. Although we covered each of these points in turn last autumn, it’s been a while since I collected these core values in one location. Based on my research — and my experience with what does and doesn’t work — I’ve compiled a list of fourteen guidelines that form the basis of everything I write. Some of these tenets draw on age-old wisdom: “Saving must be a priority” is just the ancient truth that you’ve got to “pay yourself first”, for example. But other rules — such as “do what works for you” — I came up with based on my own struggles. Here, then, are the fourteen tenets of the Get Rich Slowly philosophy: Money is more about mind than it is about math. That is, financial success is more about mastering the mental game of money than about understanding the numbers. The math of personal finance is simple — spend less than you earn — it’s controlling your habits and emotions that’s difficult. The road to wealth is paved with goals. Without financial goals, you have no direction. If you have no direction, it’s easy to spend money on things you’ll regret later. But if you’re saving for a house, your daughter’s college education, or a trip to Europe, your goal will keep you focused, making it easier to spend on what’s important and ignore the things that aren’t. To build wealth, you must spend less than you earn. Basic math, yes, but it’s important. Successful personal finance is all about building positive cash flow. By decreasing your spending while increasing your income, you can get out of debt and build wealth. Saving must be a priority. Before you pay your bills, before you buy groceries, before you do anything else, you should set aside some part of your income. If you have to start small, start small. Even $25 a month is good. As you earn more and develop better habits, save as much as possible. (My wife saves nearly a third of her paycheck!) Small amounts matter. Your everyday habits have a huge impact on your financial success. Frugality and thrift help build good habits, and make a real difference over time. Plus, there are tons of opportunities to flex your frugal muscles. Large amounts matter, too. It’s good to clip coupons and to save money on groceries, but it’s even better to save on the big stuff like buying a car or a house. By making smart choices on big-ticket items, you can save thousands of dollars at once. Slow and steady wins the race. The most successful folks are those who work longest and hardest at things they love to do. So try to find ways to make frugality fun, and recognize that you’re in this for the long haul. You’re making a lifestyle change, not looking for a quick fix. The perfect is the enemy of the good. Too many people never get started putting their finances in order because they don’t know that the “best” first step is. Don’t worry about getting things exactly right — just choose a good option and do something to get started. Failure is okay. Everyone makes mistakes — even billionaires like Warren Buffett. Don’t let one slip-up drag you down. One key difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is the ability to recover from a setback and keep marching toward a goal. Use failures to learn what not to do next time. Do what works for you. Each of us is different. We have different goals, personalities, and experiences. We each need to find the tools and techniques that are effective for our own situations. There’s no one right way to save, invest, pay off debt, or buy a house — and don’t believe anyone who tells you there is. Experiment until you find methods that are effective for you. Financial balance lets you enjoy tomorrow and today. Being smart with money isn’t about giving up your plasma TV or your daily latte. It’s about setting priorities and managing expectations, about choosing to spend only on the things that matter to you, while cutting costs on the things that don’t. Action beats inaction. It’s easy to put things off, but the sooner you start moving toward your goals, the easier they’ll be to reach. It’s better to start with small steps today than to wait for that someday when you’ll be able to make great strides. Get moving. Nobody cares more about your money than you do. The advice that others give you is almost always in their best interest, which may or may not be the same as your best interest. Don’t do what others tell you just because they hold a position of authority or seem to have a persuasive argument. Do your own research, get advice from a variety of sources, and in the end, make your own decisions based on your own goals and values. It’s more important to be happy than it is to be rich. Don’t be obsessed with money — it won’t buy you happiness. Sure, money will give you more options in life, but true wealth is about something more. True wealth is about relationships, good health, and ongoing self-improvement. The most important of these tenets — and this site’s motto — used to be “do what works for you”. But as I wrote Your Money: The Missing Manual, I realized the book’s theme was “nobody cares more about your money than you do”. And that’s the actual core value here at Get Rich Slowly. My philosophy — on this site and in my book — is all about taking an active role in your financial future, about becoming your own financial guru. Addendum: There’s now a fifteenth point to the Get Rich Slowly philosophy. Namely, you can have anything you want — but you can’t have everything you want. I talk a lot about my financial philosophy, but don’t know if I’ve ever asked about your financial philosophies. So, tell me: What money rules do you live by? What are the fundamental tenets of your fiscal life?



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