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  • Category: General

    Will you sell the family silver or kill the golden goose

    Most of you might be familiar with the idiom 'killing the goose that lays the golden egg". 'Sell the family silver' is also an idiom to mean somewhat similarly, but not exactly. I came across the idiom today used in a blog post. The idiom means selling precious family assets for temporary financial needs. It is not a good idea to fritter away some permanent wealth just to tide over temporary difficulties as rebuilding the assets may not be possible again.

    In the book 'An Alternative Philosophy of Development: From Economism to Human Well-being' by Birendra Prasad Mathur (Google Books) it is noted "Selling the shares of profitable PSUs is tantamount to selling the family silver to pay for grocer's bill and killing the goose that lays the golden egg".

    Does it not sound ironic that Vijay Mallya used this idiom in October 2012? When asked if he was going to sell some of his other business to fund Kingfisher Airlines, he reportedly said: "But that has not meant that I have had to sell my family silver to fund the airline." Makes us think had he sold his family silver then, probably Kingfisher would be flying now also.
  • #699981
    Historically, these two precious metals were considered by people as wealth creator as well as auspicious and it was only in dire circumstances that people sold them and came out of the temporary financial set back. Once back to normal they again bought these items as per their financial status. The charm of buying these metals never decreased in our lives. In 1973 when I got my first job and came to know that people buy these things from their savings I found the rate of gold as Rs 300 per 10 grams. For me having a meagre take home salary of Rs 285 per month it was a dream to buy that but I knew that one day I might be able to possess that glittering thing. Anyway, the point is that today the gold rate is about Rs 47000 per 10 gram. This translates to as 11% average growth per year over these 47 years. So, definitely it is a rewarding return as today we are struggling to get 6% on our FDs in bank which is taxable also. It makes sense to retain the silver and gold in the family.
    Knowledge is power.

  • #699982
    When the pandemic was so sudden, when the situation was so challenging, and no one there to help any needy person or family, there is no other go for the middle class to sell off what ever they had as the asset because they want to live and the expenses for entire family per day works out to 500 to thousand and if the lock down go on extended without income what the middle class has the option but to sell their jewels and even utensils. India can withstand any challenge but such curbs must be put after putting something in order. One cannot put the rule overnight which makes the life more challenging for those whose earning is based on daily sales and work. Anyway those who undergone the problems only know the importance of jewels and items which are there to meet our emergency needs.
    K Mohan @ Moga
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #699986
    Gold is one of the precious ornament which every lady wants to accumulate. We put lot of silver ornaments for the newly born child but at this present juncture people cannot afford to buy them. They are struggling to manage at least two meals a day.
    There were many who just managed with temple prasadas and marriage functions during this season to manage their family. Now everything has come to a stake then the only option is to sell the ornaments to live. Beg, borrow or steal will also not work now as there are no givers, no possessers to steal.
    Akshaya thritiya was a day to purchase gold last year but this year we have so many offers for selling it back to shop keepers.

    Lead the leader

  • #699987
    You wrote:

    In the book 'An Alternative Philosophy of Development: From Economism to Human Well-being' by Birendra Prasad Mathur (Google Books) it is noted "Selling the shares of profitable PSUs is tantamount to selling the family silver to pay for grocer's bill and killing the goose that lays golden egg".
    .........
    I fully agree with you that the assets whether belongs to individuals, families or big family of all the people should never be sold under any circumstances. Most important aspect is that these assets were established by our forefathers and inherited to us by default. Selling family assets means we are depriving our next generation of these treasures and it can't be and will not be remembered as the wise decision by the generations to come.

  • #699996
    Whe it is a temporary financial situation, then selling the family treasure cannot be a wise decision. But the decision made can be considered wise or not only when we understand for what purpose does it happened. In my family, my uncle decided to sell his family property for his son's education. Now his son is a Doctor.

    They may or may not buy the same property again, they may feel sad for losing it, but all they will feel for sure is, the pain of missing a family property for son's future is worth it.


    In one anther known family, they sold their property for their daughter's wedding. I would say it is not wise decision. Instead of selling and making it a big day, they would have given that property to their daughter itself. Here I see it as a temporary financial trouble only, or the burden they lifted for satisfying their social ego. So, they sold their family silver.

    Sri Vetri
    Spread Positivism

  • #700000
    Unmoveable assets and costly ornaments are wealth to possess permanently. They will be very helpful during emergencies when the financial situation warrants. During such emergencies, it is not wise to sell the property or the jewels, but mortgage them without losing them forever. This will make us strive hard to repay the amount and take the property or jewel back. We can part with Golden goose or Family silver only temporarily, not permanently. That would be mismanagement of assets. Try to add wealth, not lose wealth. Over accumulation of wealth is also too dangerous.

    Be wealthy, not extra wealthy.

    No life without Sun

  • #700002
    Selling fixed assets for meeting day to day expenses of the family should be the lost resort. But during this lockdown period, I have seen some middle-class people selling their gold and silver for their expenses. Otherwise, their maintenance has become a problem for them.
    People like Vijay Mallya will never bring their personal assets to invest in the business. They will take loans from banks and from that, a portion will be added to their silver quantity. The company is in losses. But he is not in losses. He has become rich. He went to England and spent a happy life there. What is the loss for him?
    Once I remember during my childhood my father sold silver at a very low rate for some immediate expenditure in our house. Those days I was in my intermediate. The rate was about Rs.50/- per 10 grams those days. Around 2 Kg silver was sold.

    drrao
    always confident

  • #700005
    We have so much attachment with the family possessions for both Gold and Silver that to dispose off the same even in the bad days become nearly impossible. Though the rate of Gold has escalated from an unbelievable price of Rs 170 /- per 10 GM in 1970 to 47000/- per 10 GM as of now indicating the surge of nearly 280 times in fifty years.
    Such a gain cannot be achieved whatever business we are doing and hence psychologically we are not prepared to shell out our possessions for meeting other urgent expenses. It would be altogether a different situation if someone in the family needs a medical treatment and for which we don't have enough resources to cover the entire expenses. We Indians are sensitive to part with our cherished possessions.

  • #700031
    We buy property, gold, silver when we have some balance in our saving or when their is some special occasion. It can be a new home, naming ceremony, marriage, promotion, anniversaries, etc. A lot of effot is made to save an appropriate amount to make that possible. Now when we talk about ancesterial property or traditional or ancesterial assets like gold jewellary, etc, we get so attached to it that we want it to be passed on to our next generation as a token of love, tradition or as a continuation of the family.

    Selling the assets is not an easy task and we normally have a good thought, discussion and even look out for a way out without touching the property or asset. There arises conditions where we are left with no other options than to sell or keep it in bank as a guarantee for loan to cover the current needs. It can be a medical emergency, loss in business, education of children, marriage of family member, etc.

    One may try to keep the golden goose but at times killing may fetch more than jailing it and thus killing remains the only option. We may not be able to compare upper or rich class with the middle and lower class as for the rich, it may be an investment but for the middle and lower, it is their only refuge and may need to be broken to save the family from sinking or tearing apart and a better tomorrow.

    “The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in." — Morrie Schwartz

  • #700050
    My intention was to familiarise the idiom and its usage. But the discussion proceeded about the real asset. That is okay.
    Many well started business fail because of wrong use of funds or diversion. Funds diversion happens when the funds earmarked for some specific purpose are used for some other purposes. This results in asset-liability mismatch and may business may collapse.


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