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Only 27% of the Indian population is financially literate. Isn’t it alarming? In this day and age, financial literacy needs to be a core element of the average individual's daily life. In simple terms, it is the knowledge of how to make sound and intelligent decisions with regards to money and growing one’s wealth. Money is a major factor in almost every aspect of life and it is important to possess the knowledge of how to manage it efficiently.

Different individuals have different ways to approach this concept. While most people make their financial decisions on the basis of market trends, in-depth calculations, evaluating and observing the markets, it is interesting to note that some of them adopt the less conventional approaches to this process.

A surprising but very common occurrence is the dependance of individuals on concepts like astrology, numerology and feng shui in order to make financial decisions. Before we discuss the reliability of these ideas, we must examine the history and reasoning behind why individuals still rely on these methods.

At its core, astrology talks about how we are intertwined with the large cosmos and it holds all the answers one seeks, provided they know what questions to ask. Astrology is often considered a science, as it makes observations and generalizations based on classifying years worth of information and characteristics of the fixed stars, the Sun, the Moon and the planets. Interestingly, that is very similar to how investors make decisions regarding the stock market. They make predictions about stock prices by studying charts and graphs tabulated over the years. So, with that notion in mind, one could consider astrology to be valid too, should they want to believe so.

It is fascinating to realize just how much there is to financial astrology, the various methods and techniques which people religiously rely on to make their financial decisions. The great majority of traders and investors are unaware that there is a significant correlation between the ever-changing configurations of planets in orbit and price fluctuations in financial markets.

Chaudhri and Shah investigated the effect of the sun as a planet and the zodiac sign on the rise or fall in the price of the BSE Sensex. Chi-square is one of the strategies employed. The market has a horoscope, and the first rule is to pay attention to the Christmas chart of the subject you want to examine. Moon phase, moon declination, planet aspect, planet Ingress, and retrograde are some of the horoscope methods utilized in financial astrology. It is not only based on spiritual assumptions but also takes into reality before forming judgements.

A fun fact;astrologers are said to have predicted the financial crisis of 2008.

Along the same lines is the age-old concept of numerology, something which is so deeply entrenched in most Indian households. Numerology believes that every number carries certain energy vibrations which make an impact on people’s lives. Numbers hold an insurmountable influence on our daily lives, especially in Indian culture where things like people’s phone numbers, the number of their house, the number of rings they wear, the important dates, etc. For example, the number 8 represents wealth and financial success, whereas the number 4 represents stability and security. When it comes to financing, numerology is near to science because one may have seen the numbers on bank notes, such as nominal value and serial number. The numbers and their energy can be used to attract money if employed correctly. So, it should come as no surprise that it plays a significant role in the realm of making financial decisions for believers.

What’s interesting is that there are detailed books, research papers, and even academic courses for people to properly harness the ‘power’ of numerology for financial success. While some call this a rudimentary practice, others strongly abide by these principles and never waver from them when it comes to money matters.

Feng shui is a Chinese practice and is also considered a geomancy. It believes in harmonizing one’s actions with the energy forces around in our environment. It is an all encompassing concept and places heavy emphasis on the idea of “attracting” wealth. There are various tools involved in the practice of feng shui such as including crystals in your daily life, aura building and cleansing, creating de-cluttered spaces in your home, involving more greenery etc. It states that one can manifest wealth in their life and create a “hospitable” environment for wealth.

Expectedly, there are some well-renowned “feng shui consultants” who are paid insurmountable amounts of money in order to teach people about the practice and how to implement it for personal and financial growth.

Recently, there have been talks of taking feng shui into academic consideration in fields like ecology.

Feng shui is a way of life for individuals who want stability and good energy. It provides them with a motivation to adopt a more enlightened mindset which facilitates one to make rational, calm and well thought out decisions. Whether or not this translates into financial luck is something that has not been determined so far.

While it is true that concepts like astrology, numerology and feng shui offer some unique reflections of cosmic and philosophical realms, they cannot guarantee a dependable pathway to financial prosperity. There is no denying that these beliefs do carry a profound significance, it is imperative that one acknowledges their limitations in the sphere of financial decision-making.

One needs to have a balanced strategy. Exclusively relying on these principles is a skewed approach to financial planning. Whether or not one chooses to incorporate these spiritual beliefs into their financial journey is a personal choice, but it is important to note that no amount of following these ideas is going to replace the validity of the economic and financial realities. True financial literacy can only be achieved when someone has an understanding of real-world concepts, trends and investment techniques.

I believe that integrating the ideas of our ancestors with the contemporary knowledge of financial education can be considered a more holistic and well-rounded approach dealing with one’s finances. Lastly, it could even make this seemingly daunting idea of financial planning more approachable to individuals from various economic, cultural and social backgrounds.

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