Low interest rates and rising inflation are a dilemma for savers. There is a constant conflict between risk and return. As far as the retail investor is concerned, he looks forward to being ‘protected’ by the regulators. Financial literacy does not come easy and ninety percent of us would not know the difference between a fixed deposit and a debenture. And we would be forgiven in thinking that the term ‘secured’ debenture or bond means that every rupee we invest is safe! But where should we draw the line in the search for high interest rates?
Today, everyone seems to be part of Whatsapp groups, Telegram channels etc which specialize in giving stock tips. As an individual, it is an extremely demanding ask to keep searching for new stocks, new ideas etc. There is a constant bombardment of ideas and stock tips from the media- television channels, internet business websites, free data providers, charts, tipsheets and more.
Deposits, bonds and debt funds are great ways to diversify one’s portfolio. But the taxation on these instruments can decide whether an option is attractive or unattractive on a post-tax basis. Taxation, though varies across instruments and can be quite complex. The fact that not all debt instruments are taxed in the same way compounds the decision making dilemma on which option to choose. This write-up will break down the taxation aspect of popular debt instruments for resident individuals.
With an investment portfolio of $5 billion, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala (RKJ) has left a rich legacy behind him. While he started the journey with a modest capital that compounded over 3 decades, it is a record that may find it hard to be broken. In the words of his close aide Ramesh Damani, a proponent of compounding, it is over 50% CAGR in 35 years.
Apart from the fund manager’s skill, a hidden factor that explains such return differences is the investment styles in which each fund is managed. Right now, many of the funds that have managed to top the charts with a 16% return are value-style funds, while the laggards are growth-oriented ones.
There is no denying the fixation us Indians have with gold. But the good news is that this is probably one fixation that doesn’t need fixing! Gold returns can instead be used to benefit our investment portfolio, as it provides balance to an equity-and-debt portfolio. However, before adding gold to a portfolio, it is important to understand how gold returns have been in the past and the characteristics of gold returns. Not just that, given that there are many ways to invest in gold, using the right mode is essential to get the most out of gold returns.
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala portfolio (listed) is easily accessible, since companies need to disclose large shareholders each quarter. But it is not that easy to build your investments based on it. The reasons why it is hard to replicate the portfolio and its success are many.
Stocks to Riches explains the fundamental concepts one needs to understand, to achieve success in the stock markets. Concepts like investing, differences between trading and speculation, loss aversion, sunk cost fallacy (and how to avoid falling into it), decision paralysis, mental accounting, and herd mentality. Every investor has dealt with and will have to deal with these situations in their investment journey. So having all these concepts neatly compiled and explained in one book certainly helps.
A good way to gauge the state of personal finance books that are India-centric would be to visit the ‘Book’ section of Amazon’s India website.
If you go to the American Amazon.com, you will find the ‘Business and Money’ section, under which you will find ‘Personal Finance’. Boom, done – you have access to a treasure trove on all topics PF.
If you go to the Indian Amazon.in, you will find a ‘Business and Economics’ section, and under that, you will find ‘Analysis and Strategy’, ‘Economics’, and ‘Industries’. If you, by power of logical reasoning and elimination, go into the first category, you will find, along-side books about American personal finance and self-help (Dale Carnegie!), a smattering of books by Indian authors to help Indian investors.
A handful, at best.
No doubt, this is an emerging section, but the current state of limited selection is properly captured by just browsing through these aisles.
Monika Halan’s ‘Let’s talk money’ is, especially in this context, a much-needed publication that addresses a sore need in the Indian market.