Category Archives: ETF

Personal Finance Website Update

Nine months ago I did not know what a blog is? Stuck up at home due to a back injury, I was casually chatting up with a geeky friend asking him about how to create a website, purely in jest. “Why don’t you begin with a blog and then see if you can make it bigger”, he said and gave me a link of Blogger.

300 posts later, the dream of translating it into a website seems plausible. Just take a look at what I’ve created without knowing html code! (Well, I can figure out the a href link code, but just!!) Now you know why there’s no post here. I have exported these posts to my website blog

RSS readers are requested to take this feed please: http://feeds.feedburner.com/personalfinanceforeveryone

Personal Finance 2.01: It’s a one stop personal finance website and I urge you to take a test drive. Feedback will be of immense help.

Discussion Forum: It’s a forum where you can discuss all your doubts and questions about personal finance, planning and various products like insurance, stocks, mutual funds, etc.

PF 2.01 Blog: I have started a blog focussed on personal finance and I would invite you to share your thoughts. Let’s have a real conversation of PF going on here.

Weblinks: I am regularly out on the web. When I find a great site I list it here for you to enjoy. From the list choose one of my weblink topics, then select a URL to visit.

NewsFeeds: We have some great news feeds to take a look at. Suggestions are welcome.

Financial Advisors Directory: We invite professional and net savvy advisors to register and provide the information needs. This one is a first in India to the best of my knowledge.

The design stage will take another two months after which I’ll be ready to go live. The real action begins only after then. Wish me luck.

Financial Literacy Drive Treasure Post

This post links to a treasure trove of information on personal finance. Actually, April was National Financial Literacy Month in the US and JDR (GetRichSlowly) has the ultimate collection of posts covering everything on Personal Finance.

Other than the 20 posts linking to the literacy drive, he also links to his popular articles and the websites which provide such information. Maybe it’s all dry information, but you can do well to bookmark that post and keep coming back to it. It’s dry, but important for you. Why? Look at the following questions and then decide.

How much do you know about money? Have you learned about the power of compounding? Do you know how the stock market works? What is a bond? Can you tell the difference between an Income Statement, a Balance Sheet, and a Cash Flow Statement? Do you even know why you would want to?

Do you know how to keep a budget? Do you understand how your taxes are used and why we pay them? Do you know what it takes to purchase a house? How much insurance do you need?

Head on to this treasure trove. Even though some posts are US specific, the concepts are useful and important to learn.

Become a Crorepati in 30 months

Gaurav’s post on the 30 things he wanted to do before he’s 30 was a brave one. I wondered at his bravery and wished him all the best only to land up in trouble myself 🙂 He wants a way to build a Networth of 1 Crore before he’s 30 and now wants me to find it. 😦

Gaurav’s target of becoming a crorepati is brave but also bordering on being foolhardy, I think. To top it, he wants to start with a seed capital of only Rs 2 lacs and a monthly infusion of Rs 20000! This way he will need to grow his money at an outstanding rate of 200% annually!!

Impossible. Or could be there some way? Legal, ofcourse.

Very recently I read a book, The Big Idea, which ends with the following Goethe’s couplet: Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

Here in this blog I have been talking about Mutual Funds, Real estate, Bonds, ULIPs and ETFs. All of them do not pass muster when it comes to giving a return Gaurav wants. What about stocks? Yes, there are stocks that have given that kind of return in the past. But how to identify those stocks who would do the same in the next 30 months? Nobody knows those stocks. So is there still a way?

Now Gaurav says that he has avery high risk appetite. That should essentially mean that when he has invested in shares that he expects will zoom and those share prices drop 30% soon after he buys them, he will average his cost by buying more. Letus assume that he is willing to take the volatility for the desired growth and he is confident of his decisions.

Moving on that assumption, Stocks can give you that growth. But since we cannot identify the 5-6 stocks that will give a growth of 150-200% over a period of 30 months, we need to ride the waves on the stock market.

The first magic happened today morning when I looked at a blog/site that I had been avoiding (Because I understood little of that). It’s EagleEyeTrade by Rajeev Mundra.

Talking to Rajeev who runs a Technical Trading seminar too, I did some number crunching. Assuming a challenging but realistic goal of 10% growth every month, a starting amount of Rs 6,25,000 will become Rs 1.09 crore after 30 months. Vow!!!

Atleast, theoretically it’s possible. Ofcourse it will take a lot of guts (time & energy too). It depends on Gaurav’s risk appetite. And Rajeev’s expert guidance. If you ask me, the guys can do it. I wish them Good Luck.

For the first time I’m putting a disclaimer. Here it is: Ideas posted on the blog are educative in nature and must not in any way be construed as advice or recommendations. Investing/Trading in financial instruments is risky. This blog cannot be held liable in anyway for losses incurred.

Take Responsibility for Your Finances

Slideshare is a wonderful way of sharing your slides and powerpoint presentations. It is a place to share and discover slideshows. You can embed the slideshows in your blog, tag, comment and have fun.

I have embedded a presentation I have made on “Taking responsibility for your finances”

Click here for the slides

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Mutual Funds v/s Direct Stocks Investing

Investing in the equity market directly is exciting and sexy. You are in the thick of things and are able to take responsibility for yourself. Though the volatility and the information overload makes it a daunting task.

How about investing through Mutual finds? Doesn’t it have its own loading and administrative charges and the fund managers making merry on your hard earned money? And can’t we see the best performing mutual funds and follow their portfolio?

Here are some points to ponder:

We should allocate our time to investment decisions in proportion to our income generation goals.

Convenience and hassle free investing should be a major factor.

Fund managers are into it full time. If we able to identify fund managers who have consistently performed over last 3-5 years, nothing like it.

The fund manager also has the muscle power of crores of Rupees and is able to take entry and exit decisions impartially.

MFs continuosly churn their portfolio. When MFs buy and sell stocks, they don’t have to pay capital gains as you do when you churn.

We are likely to panic over market crashes. MFs can take advantage of a crash!
With Systematic Investment plans (SIP), you can start investing with as low as Rs 500 per month.

There is another financial product called ETF: Exchange Traded Funds. They are the least expensive and manage themselves on their own.

Take your call.

Investing is plain Common Sense

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing is an amazing book by John Bogle. Read this about the book you can buy on Amazon.

Investing is all about common sense. Owning a diversified portfolio of stocks and holding it for the long term is a winner’s game. Trying to beat the stock market is theoretically a zero-sum game (for every winner, there must be a loser), but after the substantial costs of investing are deducted, it becomes a loser’s game.

Common sense tells us—and history confirms—that the simplest and most efficient investment strategy is to buy and hold all of the nation’s publicly held businesses at very low cost. The classic index fund that owns this market portfolio is the only investment that guarantees you with your fair share of stock market returns.

To learn how to make index investing work for you, there’s no better mentor than legendary mutual fund industry veteran John C। Bogle. Over the course of his long career, Bogle—founder of the Vanguard Group and creator of the world’s first index mutual fund—has relied primarily on index investing to help Vanguard’s clients build substantial wealth. Now, with The Little Book of Common Sense Investing, he wants to help you do the same.

Some excerpts from the book:

Index funds eliminate the risks of individual stocks, market sectors, and manager selection.

Only stock market risk remains.

Don’t allow a winners game to become a loser’s game.

Fund investors are confident they can easily select superior fund managers. They are wrong.

The stock market is a giant distraction.

If the data do not prove that indexing wins, well, the data are wrong.

It’s amazing how difficult it is for a man to understand something if he’s paid a small fortune not to understand it.

The miracle of compounding returns is overwhelmed by the tyranny of compounding costs.

Interesting!! What do you think? Waiting to hear your comments.

What are Exchange Traded Funds

Basically, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are open-ended index fund that can also be traded on the stock market.

Compared to Mutual funds, there are many advantages of ETFs, one is real time pricing, secondly long term investors are protected from short term traders. Hence it proves to be an ideal instrument for both long term as well as short term investors and also it is easy to buy and sell from the exchange.

One major disadvantage of ETF is that the investor should have a demat account and a broking account.

There are two types of advantages over index funds – one is the expense ratio which is currently lower in ETFs as compared to normal index funds. The second advantage is the distribution costs- the other index funds have to pay trail commission to the broker, while ETF does not pay the same. So the ETF cost will be lower.

In addition to the above-mentioned expenses, there also exist some `hidden’ costs like transaction costs. Such costs do not form a part of the expense ratio like brokerage and STT. The transaction costs however, are incurred by index funds but not by ETFs. This is another area where ETFs score over regular index funds.

ETFs don’t incentivise their product, which other regular mutual funds can do, hence there is no one pushing it.

But internationally what has happened that over a period of time people have found out that ETFs are ideal instruments and it has become more popular.

In India the ETFs have outperformed the actively managed funds over the last year.

Even though the actively managed funds have done better on a 3/5 year scale, the net difference would be lower or non existent because of the higher cost. The active funds charge you 2-2.5% while the ETFs charge around 0.5% only. The extra Fund management charges will even out the difference, I guess.

I wonder why a good product like index funds does not sell like hot cakes. Comparatively an expensive product like ULIP is selling like hot cakes even though it is much more expensive than the MFs??!!

I guess it boils down to lack of knowledge/information and that the agents have no interest in selling them.

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