Many of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s will remember or would have seen Vinyl records on the shelf. I too had a turntable at my home and was very fond of it.
As I grew up, the turntable and the 4 records that my Dad possessed became a big source of entertainment for me. It was my first introduction to recorded music and HMV as a label etched a place in my heart. Two of the albums were from very famous compilations – Sound of Music and Anand, an epic Hindi film.
As I listened to those records (a total of less than 20 songs) again and again, it became a part of my everyday life. After school, it was a routine just to start it up and enjoy the music flowing through the room. I studied, played, read and sometimes just intently listened to the tunes and beats of the music.
There was something magical in the turning of the turntable, the careful handling of the vinyl records and the art of placing the play needle in the right place. The needle to me was symbolic of the control that I had over the songs, as I knew exactly which concentric track to place it on to play the particular track I wanted to hear at the moment. No buttons, no swipes, but a precise and delicate move. It made listening to music more intentional, and not something that is just playing in the background without you noticing.
With the advent of iPod and digital music, we have automated good music to an extent where we do not care anymore what’s playing. We take pride in owning thousands of songs in our playlist and talk about the abundance we have at no or minimal cost.
Of course the digital transformation of the world is nothing to sulk about, it has changed the dimensions of convenience to a level we had not imagined in those days. I myself work in the tech sector and enjoy every bit of the transformation I make to the world through my work. But there is a lot of non-tech aspects of a good life.
The same is true for personal finance in most people’s lives. They just go through the motions day in and day out, with the assurance that our banks and credit cards are abundantly full of money and we can keep using it as the songs on the iPod. However it is not as harmless as mindlessly letting your iPod play music. Sure it does eat up the battery and you have to charge it, but that’s a minor inconvenience as compared to the ill-effects of not being intentional to your finances.
I had spent few initial years of my working life in this mode. As long as the paycheck came and the yearly raises were guaranteed by the hard work I did, I cared less about taking care of my finances. It was all lumped into the default bank account set up by the payroll department and languished in a paltry interest rate savings account or simply vanished into thin air.
The statistics say no different.
Fact: Two-thirds of Americans would struggle to scrounge up $1,000 in an emergency, according The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
In my later years, as I learnt more about saving, budgeting, investing and long term planning, I started enjoying money in a more tangible way as the vinyl record. When you spend on something with an already planned budget, it is a completely different experience than wondering at the end of the month, where all the cash went.
Do you see why I enjoyed playing the vinyl records and the control in dropping the needle at the right place and right time, and then enjoying it as it plays till the end of the record?
By the way, I just bought myself a turntable last year and my vinyl collection is growing. I guess I am getting old…. or just going back in time to the basic principles?
- Be intentional about your personal finances and interact with money in a tangible way as you would with a vinyl record player.