Ahad, September 30, 2012


It’s unwise to bet on the hope of striking it rich

I AM already at the age where I should start worrying about whether there is enough in my EPF savings to tide me through my retirement years.

Okay, maybe this statement is not quite correct because, one, I may still be gainfully employed for a good number of years if the “retire at 60” Bill is implemented before I reach 55. And two, seriously, I do not worry about such things.

But many of us are anxious about money matters. Hardly a day goes by when someone does not lament about the rising cost of living, or remark that the interest rate on fixed deposits is way too low.

At least, that's what people in my generation seem to be concerned about, even if those in the younger generation have no qualms about running up credit card bills and upgrading to the latest smartphones.

We may say that money does not grow on trees, but many yearn for instant wealth. Some even fall prey to get-rich-quick scams while others faithfully “invest” in the many options that promise to turn them into instant millionaires.

Stories of people becoming rich through lotteries regularly make it into the newspapers and an interesting item appeared last week about a family in Norway that has struck it rich three times in the past six years.

What is amazing is that their winning numbers come up every time Hege Jeanette was pregnant or had just given birth.

According to news reports, two of the wins took place within hours of her giving birth.

The three winners so far are Hege, her brother Todd, and their father Leif.

It is no surprise that Hege told the AFP news agency that her other three brothers who have yet to win the lottery are urging her to “have at least 10 children”.

A spokesman for Norsk Tipping, the Norwegian national lottery, however, cautioned that the brothers' plan for growing the family fortune by having more babies may not be foolproof.

“I've tried twice and never won anything,” said Roar Joedahl.

In Malaysia, as we know, one of the reasons why a jam quickly builds up at an accident scene is that punters slow down not to help but to take down the registration numbers of the vehicles involved.

To the die-hard gamblers, there are really all sorts of creative ways to generate numbers they can bet on.

I am not familiar with those strategies. But I do have a story to share about money appearing at a time when I most needed it.

In my first journey with cancer back in 1999, I was a full-time househusband. Without medical benefits from an employer, and no insurance coverage, it was quite tough paying for treatment.

But thanks to many family members and friends, there was always enough, and we did not have to dig into our savings that much.

But one particular incident stood out. One day, I had to be warded at hospital because of the extreme side-effects caused by radiotherapy.

It was only a one-night stay, but the bill came up to RM1,200. We knew that if we called up some friends, that would have been taken care of easily. Instead, my wife and I just got down on our knees and prayed.

Over the next three days, three cheques arrived by mail, two for RM500 and one for RM200. Talk about God being the perfect mathematician.

Yes, I do believe that money can sometimes appear out of nowhere, but I certainly do not think it is wise to gamble our money away in the hope of striking it rich.

And making babies to make it happen may backfire and make us considerably poorer instead.

> Deputy executive editor Soo Ewe Jin believes that a man's wealth is not measured in monetary terms.

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