The Arthur Rubinstein Lesson

Amar Pandit , CFA , CFP

A few months back, I was walking with an elderly gentleman, and we started talking about the intersection of life and money (and his experiences). He shared an interesting Gujarati (a regional language in India) quote – “Je tamme maanii sako, eh tamaru…baaki badhu gaam nu.” This means, whatever you can spend or enjoy is only yours…the rest is not yours…it’s others.”

What a thought?

This reminded me of a fascinating story I had read in Paulo Coelho’s book ‘Maktub’.

“The pianist Arthur Rubinstein was late for lunch at a classy New York restaurant. His friends began to get worried, but finally Rubinstein appeared.

Although known for his stinginess, that afternoon he ordered the most expensive dishes and the rarest and most sophisticated wines. At the end, he paid the bill with a smile on his lips.

“I know you must be puzzled,” said Rubinstein, “but today I went to see my lawyer to draw up my will. I left a nice fat sum to my daughter and to my relatives, I made a generous donation to various charities, and then suddenly, I realized that I wasn’t included in my will. All the money was going to other people!

I decided that, from now on, I would be more generous with myself.

Isn’t this a powerful reminder that life is meant to be lived and enjoyed?

While it’s essential to plan for the future and to care for our loved ones and the causes we support, it’s equally important to include ourselves in our plans. After all, the only money that truly belongs to us is the money we use to enrich our lives. By striking a balance between saving and spending on ourselves, we can lead a more fulfilling and joyful life. So, take a moment to reflect on how you can be more generous with yourself, because you deserve to enjoy the fruits of your labor just as much as anyone else.