Moana and the freedom of Life

So we just watched Moana and had a conversation with a friend on why we love the movie. To my friend, he had “no particular reason why he love the movie, except that he feels it’s even better than Toy Story.”

To me I think I can see why, the whole movie is full of positive messages about following your heart and the freedom to do whatever we wish. From the starting short film about abandoning the dullness of work to the fun of the beach; as well as the soaring musical score when Moana runs towards the sunny bright beach, we can’t help but feel liberated together with Moana as she, together with us, seek to leave behind society’s expectations of us and soar to our fullest potential.

A recurrent theme of the movie is how Moana’s father caution her against “crossing the reef”, a hung up later explained by her mother as her father’s own experience of disaster and losing his brother as a result. However as we know from the movie, it was because the boat used wasn’t good enough, as Moana later manages to sail past the reef using ancient boats made by her Ancestors.*

As I watched the movie I can’t help but feel sad for Moana and her father as their limited knowledge and experience of sailing past the reef prevented them from experiencing the freedom and joy of the open ocean life. Sometimes parents mean well and try to help their children using their own means, but sometimes that means teaching the wrong conclusions to the children. 

This message was brought home to me financial advisor style as I talk to a young chap asking me what property to invest in. Apparently his parents had bad experience in stock and so now teaches the son to invest in property only. In actual fact, a lot of people inherited hung ups from their parents of putting all their money into one investment basket. Invest only in property, or only in stocks, or only in fixed deposits. Due to their parents’ bad experiences in whichever asset class that burnt them, they only invest in the one asset class. 

And relying on one asset class to navigate a turbulent ocean of financial market is like Moana going to the ocean in a flimsy reef boat. Worst of all, they are not even equipped with the knowledge of cash flow, balance sheet and the economic cycle. It’s like Moana not even know how to tie knots, read the stars and feel the currents when navigating the ocean. There is a big gap of knowledge and expertise from the parents when teaching their children about money management. And there is definitely no way they can even start teaching their children the joy and excitement of financial freedom, when they themselves worry about it all the time.

So this week, I invite you to watch Moana, and think about the hung ups that our parents passed to us, the hung ups we might pass to our children, and how we might overcome them to enjoy life’s freedom as Moana did.

*A research somewhere support the idea that ancient Polynesians has ocean sailing capabilities due to their boats being made of large Kauri trees and they gradually lost the art as they spread from bigger islands to smaller islands as the smaller islands do not have the big trees to make ocean-going boats.

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