Warning: This is a philosophical post, not based on hard-facts. Many of you may disagree to most of the content, but it sure can induce thoughts in your mind.
What is Karma
The Sanskrit (an ancient Indian language) word karma means “actions” or “deeds.”
As a religious term, Karma refers to intentional (usually moral) actions that affect one’s fortunes in this life and the next. For simplicity, we will only consider the causes and effects in this life time.
Karma is a concept common to Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, For the purpose of this article we will consider the karma as its known in Hinduism.
I apologize to religious people if I miss-state or misinterpret religious matters.
The concept of Karma or “law of Karma” is the broader principle that all of life is governed by a system of cause and effect, action and reaction, in which our actions have corresponding effects on the future.
In many ways its same as Newton’s third law ‘Every action has its equal and opposite reaction’. The similarities end there. A Karma has far-reaching effects and causes than a simple solitary action.
As Karma is about the set of actions, it can be good or it can be bad. A Good Karma goes further to establish your values in front of others. On the other hand, a bad Karma may prevent you from succeeding.
Your bad Karma does, in fact, keep you from getting over debt and from becoming wealthy. A bad Karma can make your personal life and personal finance equally miserable.
This is very powerful – You might not agree with this, but the world’s oldest religion and world’s oldest books believe in Karma to extend to our future lives. Hinduism talks about having 7 lives in an incarnation. The people who appear unfortunate and needy by birth are believed to have bad Karma from their previous life.
At the same time, the religion also states that we shouldn’t ignore the needy assuming its their bad Karma which is responsible for their situation. A good Karma is to help them get on to their feet.
Examples of Good and Bad Karma in Personal Finance
Let’s check some of the good Karma and bad Karma related to personal finance. I am not an expert, the following is just my way of interpreting Karma.
Good Karma – We should help poor, we should give to charity. We should distribute our wealth. A sincere blessing enhances good Karma.
How often we see lucky people around us? We wonder why they have gotten all the luck. As per Karma, they are believed to have good Karma from their past lives. Inspired yet?
Bad Karma – Taking on debt is a bad Karma, Hinduism strongly discourage living on other’s money.
Now, I feel debt is good for in organic growth. You probably can’t afford to buy a home unless you take mortgage. A business can’t produce goods unless it doesn’t issue debt papers and bonds.
Otherwise, when you take on debt to fulfil your mere desire, it’s a bad Karma. Taking on credit card debt to fulfill your urge for an expensive dress you don’t need, can be a bad Karma
Good Karma – Providing good care for family is a good Karma. Ignoring your family isn’t one.
As a provider, your primary objective of life is to provide for your dependent. Taking refuge to excuses, alcoholism, drugs prevent you from taking good care of your family.
Earning extra to provide family better is a good Karma. This is what we live for, this is what the orders are.
Bad Karma – Being selfish with money is bad Karma. Telling lies about money and hiding it are Bad Karma.
Hiding money from your family, spouse, children are bad Karma. Hiding income to pay less taxes is bad Karma.
Good karma – providing a better living condition for others is a good Karma.
Stopping waste, reducing pollution and making environment greener are good Karma. Next time you plan a tree, consider doing a Karma. Let’s leave a better planet for the generations to come. Who get’s benefited apart from the next generation? It’s You!
Bad Karma – Laziness and procrastination is bad Karma.
We live for some purpose, when we deliberately postpone doing things, we defeat that purpose. Leaving an unfulfilled life should scare you off. Do the things you plan to do tomorrow, today. And the things you plan to do today, now!
Living an active life can bring in good Karma as you are fulfilling life’s purpose.
Good Karma – Paying down money you owe is a good Karma
Running away with money is no solution. Getting head over toes in debt and declaring bankruptcy can help you in short-term but, essentially you are not setting good precedence. You have bad Karma if you have done that.
Bad credit history is forgotten and written off in 7 years, a bad Karma doesn’t go away! When you have money to pay off pay off promptly, do not hold on to some one else’s money.
Bad Karma – Sabotaging some one’s success is a bad Karma.
False accusation, creating barriers for others to prevent them from becoming wealthy are examples of that. Compete legally with others. If your neighbor is richer, make it a motivation to out-pass them by earning more, not by taking wealth away from them.
Declining others asking for your help, just out of jealousy, is definitely bad. If you can help some one with your knowledge and experience you should not hold back.
Good Karma – Creating wealth and making others wealthy is a good Karma.
Look out for opportunities to start entrepreneurial ventures that can generate employment. Stop abusing the rich (1%), be one of them. Only when you become one of them and leave your mark.
Wealth benefits human kind, a value creates wealth and wealth goes on to create values. Wealth enhances our living condition and for the people surrounding us.
We have seen it so many times in the past, a few wealthy employer changes the landscape of a city. Consider a Detroit, a Seoul and the Silicon Valley.
Bad Karma – Acquiring wealth illegally is a bad Karma.
Stealing money, hiding income, tax fraud by claiming false deductions are the examples come to my mind. There is a good way and a bad way of doing things. Always choose the good one.
Increase your income to be rich, don’t reduce taxes by claiming more breaks than you are supposed to.
Claiming false insurance benefits is one heavily used bad Karma. Be truthful, else it would hunt you sooner.
The Karma is like a fruit, which has seeds that grows into trees. Which in turn yields more fruit. This process continues. Karma spills the seeds of Karma on and on…
Your Karma can make you wealthy, this life or the next. Get inspired, develop good practices, grow yourself, help others grow and move on!
While I’m not religious, the concept of Karma has always spoken to me. I’ve never seen how it applies to a financial topic (other than in business to treat others like you’d want to be treated….).
Now that you read, how do you feel about it?
Newlyweds on a Budget says
I definitely believe in Karma and the power it has. everybody gets what’s coming to them.
I like how you equate karma to Newton’s third law – never thought of it in that light!
interesting, isn’t it?
I believe all religions are based on some sound fundamentals which enable us to be on correct path. Thanks for sharing
Julie @ Freedom 48 says
It’s very similar to that recent book & movie called “The Secret”. The idea that what you put out into the world is what you get back. Focus on gaining GOOD things and not avoiding the bad.
Thanks for mention, I’ll at least try to see the movie.
Yes, the movie “The Secret” and the law of attraction it talks about does come to mind and you most definately should watch it.
Karma indeed has come back to me. When my son was younger, I’d give away his outgrown outfits to those who had younger boys and when I had my daughter several years later, the outpouring of clothes and hand-me-downs was great! I rarely bought a thing for her, all because I gave so much when I could. It came back to me when I needed it most.
great example. But I am sure there will be a lot of people who only give and never receive anything in return.
Tie the Money Knot says
All very sensible and understandable points. I agree with the premise, and think it applies within the realm of finance of more importantly in the way we treat others.
Yes actually Karma applies to all our actions, and finance is one of the most important among them.
I definitely believe in karma! I love your blog! You always post interesting things!
Thank you Jonathan! I appreciate your feedback
subhorup dasgupta says
Wow. Simple and effective. 200 Karma coins in your account, SB! 🙂
If one looks at the quantum of wealth that people in the 1% own, it is scary, it is often more than the defence budget of a large nation. It is not as if everyone in the 1% are given to 99% altruism.
What did you mean to say after “Only when you become one of them and leave your mark…?”
The meaning is without wealth, what can an ordinary man do? For giving, for charity, to influence others you need money in your bank, isn’t it?
Not talking about exceptions like politicians etc. If you talk about the masses, then they are not really influential people.
Generally like your posts. But do not agree on this point. The people who make a difference and impact in the life of others, are those with intent and purpose, not necessarily those with money. Yes sometimes money follows such people, but it is not really a great barometer of influential people. Off hand, influential people of mankind like Gandhi, Buddha or Jesus, did not need money to make an impact.
DR I can very well understand your point. I certainly didn’t think about the names you mentioned here while writing the post. I meant to say that in recent history, in modern era of capitalism very rarely a few (also add Nelson Mandela) get influential without money.
Even to run for for an election you need monetary resources to prove to your party that you are qualified candidate for the run.
That doens’t mean no one can become successful without money, but it’s happens rarely.
Money Infant says
If you follow along with the 7 incarnations then it is very good for your next life if you can build up good karma now. Some people are still working off the bad karma from another life so it is unlikely they will be successful in this life, but they can be more successful in the next life. Or so I understand it how Buddhism teaches about karma. It’s kind of depressing to think this way though isn’t it?
Don;t know about Buddhism but Hinduism believes in this system.Its not depressing its actually a path of good to follow
Money Infant says
I know it is meant as a path of good to follow, but in practice what I often see is a sense of fatalism. “Oh that thing happened because of past karma” with no sense of personal responsibility. Sort of like if it is fated to happen then why bother trying to change it. Mind you this isn’t the way it is taught but rather the way it is actually put into practice.
Yes you are definitely right. Often the true value gets lost in perceived value.
I always sort of get caught up in all kinds of mental circles when I think about stuff like karma, but I do believe that doing things for the right reasons will get you a lot further than coming from a place of meanness or negativity.
Well said Jackie
Stock Tips Investment says
Karma is a concept used in multiple cultures with different names. In my private life I take this issue as you have the right … and you will do well. Make the bad … and you will do evil. To me, it’s a natural law case. Surely we have seen many examples of this. Inspired by this concept, I have included in my blog, a quote from Andrew Carnegie that I found amazing, “No man can Become rich without enriching Himself others”
Excellent quote! To get good things, you need to give good things first.
Elizabeth @ Broke Professionals says
I had a “money karma” thing happen to me years ago. I’d just made a big donation to my church’s building fund – a donation my husband wasn’t really sure we could afford to make – and the very next week, a $500 deposit was made anonymously into my bank account. It was bizarre… but oh so appreciated.
Gosh! If another 1000 people give $500 donation each to their local churches, I can guarantee no one would get a anonymous deposit.
Marissa @ Thirty Six Months says
I am big believer in Karma, but I had never applied it to personal finance before.
Good to know that Karma is a widely known term.
Jai Catalano says
I am not religious and although I enjoyed the post I don’t think you needed to disclaim your beliefs several times on this post more than once. I feel this is your blog with your helpful feelings and thoughts and you should express them the way you want without disclaiming. This post was well written and enjoyable.
Thanks Jai, point noted. 🙂
I never thought about karma in terms of my finances before, or anyone else’s for that matter. This article has given me a lot to think about. It has changed my perspective.
Don’t tell me you did a lot of bad Karma already…
The Money Mail says
I think this article is pretty accurate in saying that how you handle your finances does impact your true fortune. I like the way it’s explained, too, with respect to different cultures and religions. Good job!
We have shared the article with our readers at http://themoneymail.com/from-the-archives/see-how-karma-can-help-or-hurt-your-finances/
-Good piece of information.
You are welcome Banti
Sometimes I think that Karma is nothing but Newton’s third law in a closed system that is the Universe. Anyhow I have a more interesting dilemma. I own individual stocks of companies that I think do well. I also own a lot of companies that arent the most ethical like energy companies, fast food companies, tobacco companies even a arms maker. Energy and Arms I can still reconcile with but Tobacco and fast food are something that I do feel quite guilty and it is the fast food companies that are the real winners for me. I wonder as a hindu what is your take on it.
Oh and to complicate this. I have paid of some of my student loans with the capital gains and for the rest of the gains I plan on investing them towards my MBA. No fancy cars or outsized houses.
Lots of bad people seen successful how to believe they did good karma in their past life. If they did good karma then how they became bad boys from good boy? Mahatma Gandhi life was full of stress does they did bad karma in their past? If yes then how they became good person this life.according to karma theory they should carry their past bad nature in this life too.