One of the dear readers shared a candid feedback that the last post was quite sedate, so let me try to make this more interesting! The question that comes to everyone’s mind is – how to go about investing. Let’s try to simplify the how part of art of investment here. For those of you who love hitting the gym, you’ll be surprised at the similarity that investment strategies have with fitness. Even if you are the perennial procrastinator, you’ll still find this interesting.
KNOW WHERE YOU WANT TO GO!
Start with a very clear objective. If you are into exercise regimen, you would start with a basic objective – to build a six pack or to shed the family pack or to build endurance. Similarly, it is important to have a clear objective for your investment strategy. You may have a combination of objectives – retirement planning, save up for the Spain trip, buy that new Macbook pro or gift a car to your dad. Analyze your expense needs and identify the regular savings level. By now I am sure you have identified your expenses according to the 50:30:20 Principle of Needs: Wants: Investments. If you are still unclear, check it out here.
Let’s say, you want to surprise your parents with a foreign trip for their 25thwedding anniversary coming up 3 yrs from now, and that’s expected to cost about Rs 300,000/-, here is what it will look like:
Now, this means if you are investing Rs 7,400/- for 36 months which is giving 8% return per year, you will achieve your goal of 300,000/-. Since you know 36 months is the goal, it is important to know the correct rate of return and the amount per month that need to be invested. At this stage lets go with an assumed rate of return of 8% and here’s how you can calculate your monthly investment using Excel. There are effective financial calculators available on IOS and Playstore as well.
CAN I CONTROL THE RATE OF RETURN
We face this problem every day, what to eat? Healthy vs indulgent! When it comes to good health, the classic solution that has been taught to us since 2ndgrade is balanced diet. Investment philosophy follows the exact principle. The various investment options are like different types of food and you need a balanced investment for your financial well being. This is called a portfolio. The different classes of investments combined together makes a balanced portfolio, similar to a balanced diet. However, it is also important to note that as per your life stage and the goal, the composition would change as well, very much like the dietary needs. You choose your components as per the risk, return and liquidity factors. Basically be sure of your appetite for uncertainty, how much you want and how quickly you need the proceeds.
Continuing with the example, assuming that you are able to invest 7400/- per month it is critical to get that 8% return. But can we really control that? Let’s say you have three options to invest in – Your bank’s recurring deposit, a Mutual Fund and Gold, giving 6%, 10% and 8% respectively.
Both the paths will provide you the required 8% however Path 2 has a higher RISK than Path 1. Given that mutual funds are subject to market risks, there is a chance that by the time your parent’s wedding anniversary is nearing, the market is bad. I know, it is confusing, but that is the call you need to take for yourself under professional advisement. While historical data do not reflect the future returns in case of gold, mutual funds, etc you may still get a broad idea with it. Essentially you can have multiple combinations of the three investment options. See, you can control your rate of return to a certain extent.
So, depending on the time and criticality of the goal, you choose the proportion and mix. If you need to get that ripped look, you need to take risks with the supplements and extra workouts.
There are a set of people who exercise regularly and there are weekend warriors who hit the gym on Sundays. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to guess who will get shed the love handles. When it comes to investment it is important to have the same discipline and diligence in getting your wealth in shape. It is important to bring the discipline in investing during the period that you want to build the wealth. The picture below shows the loss of being indiscipline. It compares the return if you skipped six months in 36 months vs investing all 36 months. It costs dear to be undisciplined.
So, the three important elements to achieve strong financial goals are Clear Objective, Balance and Discipline.
WHAT NOT TO DO
To ensure a peaceful experience during this process of wealth creation, there are few things you should not do
Peter is Earning More
We have all grown up looking at classmate’s marks and our neighbor’s car! Don’t worry, we all have it in our genes. But when it comes to investment what works for Peter doesn’t work for you. Each has an appetite, discipline and requirement, so be clear on yours.
I’m too busy, can I do it Tomorrow
There is no better day than today. When it comes to investments, start early, and keep at it. There is no elevator to success!
Need to track closely
Trust me, nothing can be achieved by looking at the scale every time you eat something. It requires grit and effort. So don’t keep fretting over the TV headlines about stock market. Your boss can get away by being a control freak, you will only make things worse. Just look at it once every few months to see if you are in line to achieve your goals.
I’ll go on Keto diet
While I am not a dietary expert, I know that, for a sustained health you need all essential nutrients. So spread your eggs in different baskets. Diversify!
I know investment decisions give you sleepless nights, don’t worry, sit back, relax and invest regularly. See your wealth grow. Stay tuned for another interesting perspective on personal finance!
Talking about sleepless nights, stay tuned for an interesting post on greatlysimplifying a simple life hack – Sleep!
Do share your views and questions in the comments section for deeper insights!
This is not an investment advisory. The intent is to simplify investment related concepts. Please seek professional advise before investing! Views expressed here are personal.