Some people store money in their mattresses for a rainy day. Others, in savings accounts. Still some, in 14th century wooden Chinese sculptures.
It turns out, when the Australian auction house Mossgreen sent a 14th century wooden Buddhist sculpture to be inspected, it found a little more than it bargained for—in fact, it found “one guan” or $2,000 to $4,000 more than it expected
Inside the sculpture of a Buddhist head, Ray Tregaskis, head of Asian art at Australia-based Mossgreen auction house, found a crumpled 700-year-old Ming Dynasty banknote. The banknote is among the earliest printed currency in China, and certainly a surprising way for its patron to have hidden his valuable IOU.
China’s Ming Dynasty lasted from 1368 to 1644 and was a prosperous one. The bill itself contains three official red seals and warns of counterfeiting.
“It’s typical to find materials such as mantra rolls, relics, grains, incense and semi-precious stones that have been placed inside gilt bronze sculptures by a monk or lama,” says Luke Guan, a Mossgreen Asian art specialist to CNN.
“But we’ve never heard of anyone finding money inside a wooden sculpture before.”
An associate at a prosperous law firm, perhaps you are also dusting off your coffers, and looking for a place to appreciate your money.
But, poor investment decisions are among the biggest mistakes made by law firm associates today.
Because legal associates spend so long investing in themselves, via training and legal education, their careers start late in life. As a result, associates tend to be overly aggressive with personal investments.
Financiers make similar mistakes. In fact, in 2008, hedge fund manager Ted Seides made a $1 million bet with Warren Buffett regarding the benefits of aggressive hedge fund investments. Seides bet a portfolio of hedge funds would beat the more conservative S&P index fund over the next ten years.
What happened? Buffett won. The S&P 500 is up 65.7%, well above the 21.9% gain of Seides’ hedge funds (via BigLawInvestor).
Warren Buffett, with a personal net worth of $80 billion (Forbes), has consistently advised steady and conservative monthly investments in a low-cost index fund. On page 20 of his 2013 letter to Berkshrire shareholders, Buffet advises:
“Put 10% of the cash in short-term government bonds and 90% in a very low-cost S&P 500 index fund. (I suggest Vanguard’s.) I believe the trust’s long-term results from this policy will be superior to those attained by most investors–whether pension funds, institutions or individuals–who employ high-fee managers.”
As a law firm manager, it is important to educate your associates about smart financial decisions. Financial safety leads to better mental health. In high-stress work environments like the law, it is important for staff and associates to worry less about at-home investments to engage more in in-office activities.
In addition, by educating your firm about finances, this increases their skills in other areas of management.
Managers are the key to happier, more productive employees. And this can start with a little forward-looking advice on personal finance.
For more ideas about becoming a better manager and boosting employee satisfaction, consult one of the Center for Competitive Management (C4CM)’s online seminars and resources here.
You may think it’s for higher pay, but in reality, the No. 1 reason employees leave is the way they’re supervised.
Simply put…“People join companies, but leave managers.”
The good news is, regardless if you’re a new manager or a seasoned one, you can keep your great people on board (and happy) by learning the secrets to becoming a confident, effective leader through training.
Take a page from Buddhist sculptors—some of the most valuable things are stored in your head, not your wallet.