Category Archives: Personal Finance

Please Subscribe to the improved blog

I feel like a sheep today. The reason is that I am requesting you to take the trouble of migrating to the new improved blog.

The blog is linked to a Personal Finance website

It also has a discussion forum where you can clear all your doubts.

And an Advisor’s Directory too. And we are planning a module for personal finance calculators too!!

That’s why I’m asking you to migrate to the new blog. And if you need the RSS feed, click here

Waa!! (that means thanks in sheep language; and I’m not a black sheep but a wheatish one!!)

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:

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.

What is Finance?

I was in Rishikesh a few years back in the winters and one old resident told me, “The water is warm when the Sun has not risen. Try it”, with a straight face. Next morning, it was pretty dark when I waded into the “warm waters” of Ganga. Boy, Oh Boy! I did not expect the old man to be so cruel!! 🙂

But I had the bath of my life. It was invigorating and real fun! I came back and thanked the old man who had tricked me into that chilled out experience.

What’s that experience to do with Finance, you’ll say. Well, I’m an old man by some standards. (This should also mean that I’m young by other standards:). And I want you to have fun with Finance.

Let’s take a look at what Finance means and I’m sure you will find it Fun, Interesting, Nasty, gives an Advantage, Not Precise, Creative and Exciting.

Finance itself has a very wide meaning and it encompasses Business Finance, Personal Finance and Government Finance in general. Here we will focus on Personal Finance only.

Your questions in personal finance would revolve around the following:

How much money will be needed by you at various points in the future?
Where will this money come from (e.g. savings or borrowing)?
How can you protect yourself against unforeseen events in your lives, and risk in financial markets?
How can family assets be best transferred across generations (bequests and inheritance)?
How do taxes (tax subsidies or penalties) affect personal financial decisions?
Your Personal financial decisions will involve paying for education, financing durable goods such as real estate and cars, buying insurance, e.g. health and property insurance, investing and saving for retirement. Personal financial decisions may also involve paying for a loan.

Phew! Are you prepared to wade into the”warm’ waters of Personal Finance? Welcome

Power and Magic of Compounding

Simple maths tell us more about the power of starting early and investing regularly rather than any rants. Check out this simple calculator by Hugh where he gives an option to compare two savings/investing options.

I have taken the following case:
Case 1: You start now with a yearly investment of Rs 1000 and stay invested for 40 years.

Case 2: You start after 20 years from now but invest Rs 2000 instead for 20 years.

In both the case, the amount invested is Rs 40,000. Assuming a common growth rate of 10% in both the cases, in case 1 , the accrued balance works out to Rs 442,593 . The accrued balance in case 2 is Rs 114,550.

Why don’t you work it yourself and take away your learnings.

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.

You need to be Lucky and brave!

As an asset class, Equity stocks offer the best returns. But so many of us have burnt our fingers in the process?

How is it that very few investors can make real profits, grow their networth and consistently beat the market? That’s because it often takes one or more of the following rare traits…

The vision to identify breakthrough products, leaders, and brands
The knowledge to spot an undervalued gem in a sea of glass
The courage to buy and hold when others are running scared

Occasionally, you’ll come across an investor with one of these valuable characteristics. And it’s likely that person does quite well. But I can’t imagine a person who can offer all three.

That would take two very different and even contradictory approaches…

Sounds scary? But fortune favors the brave only!!

Derivative for Dummies: By a Dummy

Yes, it’s for Dummies and by a dummy on Derivatives. So here’s what lil’ bit of Derivatives I understand(or pretend to..). Read on….

Derivative is a product whose value is derived from the value of one or more basic variables, called underlying. The underlying asset can be equity, index, foreign exchange (forex), commodity or any other asset. Derivative products initially emerged as hedging devices against fluctuations in commodity prices.

In India, BSE created history on June 9, 2000 by launching the first Exchange traded Index Derivative Contract i.e. futures on the capital market benchmark index – the BSE Sensex. The exchange commenced trading in Index Options on Sensex on June 1, 2001. Stock options were introduced on 31 stocks on July 9, 2001 and single stock futures were launched on November 9, 2002. September 13, 2004 marked another milestone in the history of Indian Capital Markets, the day on which the Bombay Stock Exchange launched Weekly Options.

Types of Derivatives:
Forwards: A forward contract is a customized contract between two entities, where settlement takes place on a specific date in the future at today’s pre-agreed price.

Futures: A futures contract is an agreement between two parties to buy or sell an asset at a certain time in the future at a certain price. Futures contracts are special types of forward contracts in the sense that the former are standardized exchange-traded contracts, such as futures of the Nifty index.

Options: An Option is a contract which gives the right, but not an obligation, to buy or sell the underlying at a stated date and at a stated price.

Facts: The daily trade of commodities futures market is expected to rise by another Rs 5000 crores from the Rs 15000 crores being traded currently.

With increasing interest from investors, the basket of 120 commodities currently being traded is likely to touch 250 by 2007-08.

Options offer three significant benefits: Versatility; High Leverage and Risk Management. (I bet I didn’t understand this, but I’ll pretend I did)

Last Word: Warren Buffet sees derivatives as “time bombs” and a weapon of mass destruction!!