What is your relationship with money?  Are you a spender or a saver? How do you value money and where do you get those values from?

They say that you get most of these from your childhood and mostly from your parents.

I don’t know about you, but my parents always told me to make sure I save money for rainy days and that I should not spend it on things I don’t need.  My mother came from a well-off family, my father had worked his way up to creating a successful business. He was a self-made man whom I admire very much.

However before we knew it, before he had even reached the age of 40 and before I was even 10, the Iranian revolution changed circumstances for many people.  He was luckily in a position to send me out of the country and my sister and mother also left two years later.  The only thing to note here was that while he had built a successful business and life in Iran, the Iranian currency was no longer tradable in foreign banks.  In order to buy foreign currency, we had to buy it at 10X the price. So basically for every 10$ (the equivalent of Iranian money), we got 1$ in the west.

This is where my world started. We have money but we don’t. We lived a comfortable life in Iran but how in Europe we had to be careful. I say careful with caution because I still attended private school, we still lived a fairly comfortable life, we had everything we needed and possibly more.  Both my sister and I went on skiing and school trips and still had an extremely comfortable life in a comfortable house.

Yet as teenagers who by now were in secondary school with a good grasp of “basic” economy and politics we knew that my father had to exchange a 100% to get 10%. Money did not come hard but money was precious and we had to be careful.  Our father worked hard, we hardly saw him except for a few short visits a couple of times a year. He spent a fair few years on his own, working in Iran, running the business while my mother would be travelling back and forth and looking after us for the two years that we were all together in Spain.

Money was not hard to come by, but we had to be careful. This was our experience and of course, the talk was that we have to study hard, get good jobs or build a business and work hard for a better future. Savings was important. Save to buy the first property and save for your old age.  These were certainly engrained in me. From my parents and also the generation of my parents including the many Europeans I came to have a close relationship with and looked after me.

However, somewhere along the line, I decided that this view is pretty faulty.  Saving money has serious limitations and its biggest limitation is that money does not grow.  The only  way you can get money to grow is if you put it to use. Let me clarify myself here.

> Money in bank, will get you little interest and saving accounts will not give you a large return. furthermore many banks are not even a guarantee or necessarily a safe place to store your money.  Banks will give loans on money that does not exist and if they go bankrupt they will use your money as a backup.  Only up to a certain amount of your money will be guaranteed by the bank.

> Pension funds, stock market and bonds and the rest is where you will probably get a better return for your money, however keep in mind that you are investing your money in other people’s work and companies and hope that they will do well and give you a return.  Invariably this is where most people earn a return on investment from their money (reserve cash and savings).

I am not a money expert. This is my simplified view. Yet there is a clarity here for me.

If you are young and you are able, active, creative and have a little cash reserve what would you do with that money?

A) Keep it in the bank for a rainy day.

B) Invest it in other people’s business and projects?


C) Invest it in yourself and your own dreams and projects.


Option C is the place I want to bring your attention to.  Often we are told that we should work hard, save to buy this or that.  What if you didn’t save it. What if you spent that money on setting up your own business?  What if you spent that money on learning something new, new skill sets? What if you spent that money on giving yourself a break and much needed holiday to refresh your batteries?

You will always earn money. Of course you need a little cushion for the days and months where you might need an extra but we tend to stretch and the news tends to make us hoard more than we need, be conservative, be careful; tomorrow is grim, there are no jobs, etc, etc.

The glass is always half empty or half full.

Over the years I  have learnt to change my views.  My glass is always half full and I work at always keeping it half empty. I spend half of what I have on things that can fill up the glass tomorrow or in due time.

Money is energy, spend it while you have it, because storing it only makes you FAT 🙂  This is my view.  If you are an entrepreneur, startup founder, young or old but willing to try something new, don’t save it. Spend it on whatever can make your company and business grow.

And you?