Sir, I’ve told him that he has a 80% Debt and 20% Equity portfolio where safety has been given more importance as this is his retirement corpus, but he insists that he won’t accept anything less than 15% annualized returns since the markets are now booming!” -I could make out my hapless young financial planner was at her wits end.
“Sanjeev, what is this yaar? My overall portfolio returns are 25% CAGR (Compounded Annualized Growth Rate) but this one stupid fund is stuck at 17% and my planner is just doing nothing about it!”, ranted one of our aggressive customer.
One of our bigger investor has moved almost 50% of his life’s savings to a well-known Portfolio Management Service (PMS) because his initial ‘test-drive’with their 100% equity portfolio produced great results in these rising markets.
We routinely get calls from prospective clients who ‘haggle’ with us on ‘returns’ – if they invest with us, will we surely get them 15-20-25% returns? If not, then why not? During such conversations, sometimes we feel as if we’re in the business of manufacturing returns rather than managing portfolios, helping meet customers’ future financial goals and keeping them away from harm’s way!
So, what am I trying to bring out here by these examples? ‘Safety’ and ‘Returns’ are two ends of the investment scale. The twain shall never meet!! Your own personal investment slider has to be placed on that scale in such a manner that it meets your risk comfort level, takes you solidly towards meeting your future requirements (‘financial goals’) comfortably and of course, takes care of the market conditions – now and in anticipated future. If you want more safety, you have to move away from returns expectations while desire for more returns will always compromise safety. This is a universal rule and never gets flouted.
The way we do not buy a car just because it gives high mileage disregarding all other factors, we do not need to only look at best returns all the time disregarding its suitability to us, risks taken by it and whether it enables us to get the money when we actually need it.
Most of us know this but we still keep hoping to hit upon that magic formula, that magic investment avenue, which will get us the ‘highest returns with highest safety’. Many unscrupulous elements, sensing this innate human desire, have made their fast bucks on it – the Hofflands, Sterling Tree Magnums, Ponzis and sms-stock-tipping schemes know this weakness and routinely surface to earn their millions and billions. We all hear and read about them, sympathize with the conned ones, bless ourselves that we’ve not fallen for such schemes and then go about looking for such quick returns schemes ourselves! Somewhere we assume that ‘high risk, high returns’ actually implies that if you take high returns, you get assured high returns!!
Herein comes a very basic question – What is the actual aim of investing? Is it to get highest possible returns at any cost and risk, Or is it to make our money grow so that we can meet our future requirements of life, give our children the best education, give our families a great standard of living, and have the money available in the right quantity when we need it? We can already sense you nodding to the latter. If that actually were so, why not make that as the start and end point of our investment process? Why not plan out how much we need for our future big-ticket expenses, what are the best investment avenues to accomplish each one of those ‘financial goals’, how to go about it so that we reach that end point without much risks and how to remain tax-efficient during the whole journey? Believe us, the investment journey will be more pleasurable, more sure-footed, and lead to far less sleepless nights if you change your focus from ‘Kitna Mileage Deti Hai’ to ‘Meeting my financial goals in life’.
And that’s where the concept of financial planning comes in – but then that’s a separate topic by itself, of which a large amount of knowledge is available on our Blog humfauji.in.
And for heaven’s sake, do not fall for those predictions of Sensex or stock levels – such predictions keep coming all the time and they sometimes even turn out to be true. But then, even a dead clock shows correct time twice a day!
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