Tag - Investment Planning

December 2015

How to avoid investing in MisManaged Companies – Understand Balance Sheet

How to avoid investing in mismanaged companies, Misallocation of capital, Successful Investing Tips

Most investors keep looking for the magic investing mantra which can keep compounding returns. Many burn their fingers by getting into wrong companies. The first step of successful investing and to avoid investing in MisManaged Companies is to Understand Balance Sheet of a company.

A balance sheet, also known as a “statement of financial position,” reveals a company’s assets, liabilities and owners’ equity (net worth). The balance sheet, together with the income statement and cash flow statement, make up the cornerstone of any company’s financial statements. If you are a shareholder of a company, it is important that you understand how the balance sheet is structured, how to analyze it and how to read it.

Here is a great starting point from Investopedia to understand reading a balance sheet. Another article talks about the due diligence that should be followed before choosing a stock to invest is another checklist which the investors should always keep handy when doing a first cut analysis before giving a ‘pass’ and research further.

Bala writes about a wonderful article on Misallocation of capital  which gives examples of why to avoid investing in companies which misallocate capital.

When you start looking at a balance sheet, a quick first cut analysis can help you eliminate researching further if you come across these common account red flags…

The Indian stock market, in aggregate, carries a relatively high risk that a minority shareholder will not realize the value in a listed firm because the controlling shareholder (or promoter as they are known in India) will appropriate value for himself, leaving little on the table. The risk is higher relative to certain other stock markets mainly because of limited regulation. In addition, lax enforcement indirectly encourages such behavior. Kimi writes on how one can avoid such landmines in his elaborate article peppered with examples.

Successful investing is all about avoiding the companies/ sectors/ industries which are mismanaged and going aggressively after the good ones…As Charlie Munger famously said “Tell me where I’m going to die, that is, so I don’t go there.”…..

Happy Investing….

November 2015

Resolve to Achieve Financial Freedom in your life!!!!!

Financial Freedom, New Year Personal Finance Resolution, Investments advise for beginners, Basics of INvestment Philosophy

Martin Seligman author of ‘Authentic Happiness’ and research psychologist has said that there are three parts to happiness : Pleasures, Engagement and Meaning.

Pleasure is the feel good part, the short term happiness of material possessions in life.
Engagement refers to good life involving work, friends, family and hobbies.
Meaning is using our time and strengths towards a larger purpose.
He reckons, that Although all the three are important , it is the last two which make a significant difference.

Now a lot of time we spend goes into increasing or earning money. Hence it is worth figuring out where money and hence financial freedom comes into play in our overall happiness.

Does Higher Income really lead to Happiness though? Is the million dollar question.

When researched , the results are surprising. ?  A study from Princeton University found that a larger paycheck does lead to a happier life—but only to a certain point. ($75,000 per annum to be precise)

What really affects our happiness more than how much we make is our attitude toward money and the way that we handle it. When we hold fast to the belief that money directly determines happiness, life becomes a constant pursuit of accumulating ”more”.

Would winning a lottery make us the happiest people on earth? Harvard Psychologist Dan Gilbert says NO.

He goes on to prove that we human beings are very good at adapting but extremely poor in predicting when it comes to our emotions and feelings.We tend to overestimate the duration and intensity of our future emotions.

For eg: A dream home with all modern amenities couple of extra bedrooms, with a beautiful view gives pleasure for a few months. Before the purchase, we tend to think that the possession will provide everlasting happiness and also experience that the happiness will be the ultimate satisfaction. But the same disappears later. At times it can also possibly have a negative effect on happiness at times.

Even when you change jobs or progress in career he has found out across subjects that in approximately 3 months they are back in the same place in terms of happiness. You can extend the examples to Car , let’s say you buy a porche or a BMW , the impact is the same.

This is one of the most important research subject in behavorial finance. Known as Hedonic treadmill. We work hard, earn more, and are indeed able to afford better and nicer things and yet it dosen’t make us any happier. The deeds and things you worked so hard for no longer make you happy; you need to get something even better to boost your level of happiness.” 

Wouldn’t it be better if we knew exactly how happy a new car, career, house or relationship would make us? It is quite possible if we do the following :

Avoid negative things that you cannot get accustomed to such as commuting , noise, chronic stress
Expect only short term happiness from material things such as cars, houses, lottery tickets, prizes, bonuses.
Accept your present
Aim for as much free time and autonomy as possible since long lasting happiness comes from what you actively do
Follow your passions even if you have to forfeit a portion of your income for them
Invest in friendships

Finally, Understand your relationship with Money. Don’t let money control your life . Rather Get a control over Money.

Have clear financial goals, focus on purchasing assets (rather than accumulating liabilities) and make your assets work along with you in order to achieve those goals. Remember, assets is something which puts money in your pockets, where as liabilities is something which takes money out of your pockets.

Make your money work so hard for you so that you never have to work for money….

Resolve to achieve financially freedom in your life!!!!!

December 2012

Start saving for retirement as early as possible

Start saving for retirement as early as possible, magic of compounding , Invest early, Retirement planning tips, Investment planning tips.

Chains of HABIT are too light to be felt …. until …… they are too heavy to be broken ~Warren Buffet

Saving and investing for a prosperous retirement is a basic financial hygiene habit, which if postponed to a later date, can have disastrous and painful financial implications… Take a look.. Numbers don’t lie…

X, Y and Z are salaried individuals working for a reputable Company  and they all plan to retire at the age of 60.

X is 30 years old and is married with one child. He has set himself a retirement fund target of Rs. 1 crore.

Y is 40 years old and is married with two children. He has also set himself a retirement fund target of Rs. 1 crore.

Z is 50 years old and has also set himself a retirement target of Rs. 1 crore.

X has 30 years to achieve his target, Y has 20 years and Z 10. Assuming the return given by their investments is 12%, the following table shows the monthly investments that all three men will have to make if they are to achieve their retirement targets.

Age Years left Retirement fund target Annual return expected

Monthly investment required

X 30 30 Rs. 1,00,00,000 12%

Rs. 3,277

Y 40 20 Rs. 1,00,00,000 12%

Rs. 10,975

Z 50 10 Rs. 1,00,00,000 12%

Rs. 45,060

As we can see from the above table the more time the individual has to invest, the lower the monthly investment amount required to reach the target will be. So it is always a good idea to start saving for retirement as early as possible.

So, start investing early, it makes a hell lot of difference. And if you are in your golden years and had not planned in your hey days ~ the least you can do is advise your young loved ones to do so.. Stay wise..

 

October 2012

Returns from various asset classes for the period 1979-2012

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Returns from various asset classes for the period 1979-2012
Investment
Returns in %(average annual)
Rs 10,000 invested in 1979 becomes in 2012
 
Bank deposit
8
1,36,902
Gold
8.7
1,75,000
PPF
9
 1,87,285
Stocks (BSE sensex stocks)
16.5
18,50,000+ Tax free Dividends (@ Sensex Level 18500)
Over Long terms, Equities have outperformed, the other asset classes by a handsome margin. However, having said that it requires tremendous patience, discipline, good advise, serendipity  and avoiding some costly mistakes in between to achieve those returns. 
 
The ERLI Principle sums it up very well ~ Invest :
 
– Early
– Regularly
– Long term perspective
– Intelligently
 
More on Investing Process and Costly Mistakes to avoid.

Measures of Risk ~ Equity & Debt

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Measures of Risk, Performance, Mutual Funds , Stocks, Standard Deviation, Variance, Beta, Modified duration, Credit Risk, Interest Rate Risk, Weighted Average Maturity  ,Yield Spread,

Investors generally focus on the returns of any asset. They largely ignore the risk factors and most importantly are ignorant of the measures of risk. 

And so, the real Risk comes from not knowing what they are doing ~ Warren Buffett

This post talks about the measures of risks in equities & debt. The awareness of the measures of risk is extremely helpful in designing a comprehensive financial plan, investing, asset allocation etc.

Fluctuation in returns is used as a measure of risk.

Therefore, to measure risk, generally the periodic returns (daily / weekly / fortnightly / monthly) are first worked out, and then their fluctuation is measured.

The fluctuation in returns can be assessed in relation to itself, or in relation to some other index. Accordingly, the following risk measures are commonly used.

Variance

Suppose there were two stocks, with monthly returns as follows: Stock 1: 5%, 4%, 5%, 6%. Average=5%  & Stock 2: 5%, -10%, +20%, 5% Average=5%

Although both stocks have the same average returns, the periodic (monthly) returns fluctuate a lot more for Stock 2. Variance measures the fluctuation in periodic returns of a asset, as compared to its own average return. This can be easily calculated in MS Excel using the following function:

=var(range of cells where the periodic returns are calculated)

Variance as a measure of risk is relevant for both debt and equity.

Standard Deviation

Like Variance, Standard Deviation too measures the fluctuation in periodic returns of a scheme in relation to its own average return. Mathematically, standard deviation is equal to the square root of variance.

This can be easily calculated in MS Excel using the following function: =stdev(range of cells where the periodic returns are calculated)

Standard deviation as a measure of risk is relevant for both debt and equity schemes.

Beta

Beta is based on the Capital Assets Pricing Model, which states that there are two kinds of risk in investing in equities – systematic risk and non-systematic risk.

Systematic risk is integral to investing in the market; it cannot be avoided. For example, risks arising out of inflation, interest rates, political risks etc.

Non-systematic risk is unique to a company; the non-systematic risk in an equity portfolio can be minimized by diversification across companies. For example, risk arising out of change in management, product obsolescence etc.

Since non-systematic risk can be diversified away, investors need to be compensated only for systematic risk. This is measured by its Beta.

Beta measures the fluctuation in periodic returns in a scheme, as compared to fluctuation in periodic returns of a diversified stock index over the same period.

The diversified stock index, by definition, has a Beta of 1. Companies or schemes, whose beta is more than 1, are seen as more risky than the market. Beta less than 1 is indicative of a company or scheme that is less risky than the market.

Beta as a measure of risk is relevant only for equity schemes.

Modified Duration

This measures the sensitivity of value of a debt security to changes in interest rates. Higher the modified duration, higher the interest sensitive risk in a debt portfolio.

The returns in a debt portfolio are largely driven by interest rates and yield spreads.

Interest Rates

Suppose an investor has invested in a debt security that yields a return of 8%. Subsequently, yields in the market for similar securities rise to 9%. It stands to reason that the security, which was bought at 8% yield, is no longer such an attractive investment.

It will therefore lose value. Conversely, if the yields in the market go down, the debt security will gain value. Thus, there is an inverse relationship between yields and value of such debt securities which offer a fixed rate of interest.

A security of longer maturity would fluctuate a lot more, as compared to short tenor securities. Debt analysts work with a related concept called modified duration to assess how much a debt security is likely to fluctuate in response to changes in interest rates.

In a floater, when yields in the market go up, the issuer pays higher interest; lower interest is paid, when yields in the market go down. Since the interest rate itself keeps adjusting in line with the market, these floating rate debt securities tend to hold their value, despite changes in yield in the debt market.

If the portfolio manager expects interest rates to rise, then the portfolio is switched towards a higher proportion of floating rate instruments; or fixed rate instruments of shorter tenor. On the other hand, if the expectation is that interest rates would fall, then the manager increases the exposure to longer term fixed rate debt securities.

The calls that a fund manager takes on likely interest rate scenario are therefore a key determinant of the returns in a debt fund – unlike equity, where the calls on sectors and stocks are important.

Yield Spreads

Suppose an investor has invested in the debt security of a company. Subsequently, its credit rating improves. The market will now be prepared to accept a lower yield spread. Correspondingly, the value of the debt security will increase in the market.

A debt portfolio manager explores opportunities to earn gains by anticipating changes in credit quality, and changes in yield spreads between different market benchmarks in the market place.

Weighted Average Maturity

While modified duration captures interest sensitivity of a security better, it can be reasoned that longer the maturity of a debt security, higher would be its interest rate sensitivity. Extending the logic, weighted average maturity of debt securities in a scheme’s portfolio is indicative of the interest rate sensitivity of a scheme.

Being simpler to comprehend, weighted average maturity is widely used, especially in discussions with lay investors. However, a professional debt fund manager would rely on modified duration as a better measure of interest rate sensitivity. 

More on Mutual Funds

August 2012

Investing process and costly mistakes to avoid

Investment Mistakes, Investment Planning, Life Goals, Successful Investing, Value INvestingJust yesterday, I was having a discussion with a friend who was keen on knowing about the markets and where they are heading. He is interested in investing for long term.

Instead of providing an answer ( Well!!! I myself do not know, nor does anyone else know where are the markets headed…. Anyone who claims he does should would just be sitting in Hawaii, enjoying the beaches and punching away his trades to glory isn’t it!!!! 🙂 )

OK so I probed hime further with a few questions about his financial goals, current assets and liability situation, savings etc and made him aware about the kind of questions he should be asking in order to achieve financial (investing) success over a long run.

Of course, he will have to devote some time towards understanding the products available to invest further… But diagnosing the current situation and having a clarity of financial / life goals is the important first step.

Here is a nice article in 4 parts which I had written quite some time back and wanted to bump up.

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

In the process of investing, one often makes mistakes. There is nothing wrong in it. However, repeating the same mistakes should be avoided. This is so much easier said then done. Never-the-less, we can always try. So, Here are some of the most common investing mistakes which investors generally make and some of which even I had made in the earlier part of my investment years.

I have been investing since 1997. Earlier part of the investment was when I was in US and then later after moving to India in 2005. I have been investing in both shares and real estate.

Of course, learning from the mistakes, continually, the investing experience has truly been rewarding experience. You can also cultivate good habits of investing by avoiding the following most common mistakes.

So here goes……..

#1. Investing without a Goal

If one does not know to which port he is sailing, no wind is favorable.

Beginning investors often begin by Casual Investing without any goals. This quite often leads to pain and heartburn because, without any goals, investments are treated as speculation instruments solely aimed at making more money in a shorter span of time, by chasing market performance and acting on market swings, something similar to get-rich-quick scheme. (Speculation is a different ball game and of course, many people do succeed at it. However as in Investments, there are different set of rules, full time efforts, and a different mind set and discipline which needs to be followed.).

Different goals require different strategies. Broadly goals can be divided into three types according to time frames.

Long term Goals – typically 7+ years (e.g.: retirement corpus, child education, child marriage etc.) should invest in Long term high risk/high return growth investment assets.

Medium term goal – typically 2 – 7 yrs (e.g.: deposit on house, planning a sabbatical from work etc.)  Require balanced risk investment strategy,

Short term goals – typically less than 2 yrs (e.g.: overseas holiday, purchase of car, any major house improvement expense etc) require conservative investment strategy.

So, Some of the following questions have to worked upon and answered to full satisfaction before setting out for investment: What am I investing for (Goal)? How much do I need for the goal to be met? What is the time frame of the investment going to be? Where do I need to invest? Should I do lump sum investment or Periodic investment? And so on…

Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail

#2. Not Starting to invest Early enough

This is one of the most common mistakes made by investors. Most of us keep waiting for the right time, or the right price, or the right time to begin investing. Remember, Time in the market and not timing the market is the simple way to success in investing. Please read my earlier post on Invest early, Invest Wise, Utilize the power of compounding.……….. You can read posts here. (Part IPart II , Part III & Part IV)

Mutual Fun Investments: SEBI relaxes KYC norms

KYC, Mutual Funds, Investments, Stock Market, India, Entry Load, PAN requirement, 50000 investments

In January 01, 2011 Know Your Customer (KYC) had become mandatory for all investments irrespective of the size of the investments.

Capital market regulator SEBI has decided to exempt the requirement of permanent account number (PAN) for investments up to Rs 50,000 in each AMC. The rule is applicable with immediate effect (Aug 09 2012)

Investors can now investment up to Rs 50,000 annually in a single AMC without a permanent account number (PAN).

This is a welcome change for the the MF industry which is facing tremendous pressure due to a slack stock market over the past few years and also the disinterest in the distributors towards MF.

May 2012

Warren Buffett Tips for Investors.. Worth a read..

Warren Buffet, Buffett, Tips, Investment, Stock Market, Success,Trading, Bull Market, Value Investing

Here are 5 valuable tips for investing from Warren Buffett –
The Master of Value Investing.
 
1. “Look at stocks as parts of business. Ask yourself, ‘How would I feel if the Stock Exchange was closing tomorrow for the next three years?’ If I am happy owning the stock under that circumstance, I am happy with the business. That frame of mind is important to investing.”
 
2. “The market is there to serve you and not to instruct you. It is not telling you whether you are right or wrong. The business results will determine that.”
 
3. “You can’t precisely know what a stock is worth, so leave yourself a margin of safety. Only go into things where you could be wrong to some extent and come out OK.”
 
4. “Borrowed money is the most common way that smart guys go broke.”
 
5. “The stock doesn’t know you own it. You have feelings about it, but it has no feelings about you. The stock doesn’t know what you paid. People shouldn’t get emotionally involved with their stocks.”
 
Happy Investing…
 

September 2010

Reliance – 2nd among world’s largest value creators

There is a report in Business Standard which mentions many Indian Companies amongst the world’s largest value creators in this decade. The report is here :

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries has been ranked second in the list of world’s 10 biggest ‘sustainable value creators’, companies that have been successful in creating the most shareholder value over the last decade, prepared by Boston Consulting Group.

Reliance Industries again comes second in the ‘Large Cap firms’ for 2005-2009 of 112 global companies with a market valuation of more than 35 billion dollars.

In the chemicals industry, Reliance Industries has been named the second biggest value creator of 53 global firms during the period behind South Korea’s OCI.

However, the stock has virtually not given any returns over the past 2 years….. Many investors are losing patience now and
letting go of the stock in favor of Banks, Pharma and FMCG Companies…. which have outperformed…
If you compare the returns of Reliance with the BSE Index, the result is quite glaring….Sensex is up almost 40 % in last one
year……Whereas Reliance has not given any return at all ……
So , What is next …….. Well a relief rally should be on cards till 1200 at least if the stock holds above 960 levels. …. And this will definitely bring smiles to the investors… and the markets as well.

August 2010

What and How of Nifty Index!!!

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One of my friend recently just wanted to get an idea about Nifty and How it is calculated. I am presenting some basic facts about Nifty here….

Background of Nifty

S&P CNX Nifty is a well diversified 50 stock index accounting for 21 sectors of the economy. It is used for a variety of purposes such as benchmarking fund portfolios, index based derivatives and index funds.

S&P CNX Nifty is owned and managed by India Index Services and Products Ltd. (IISL), which is a joint venture between NSE and CRISIL. IISL is India’s first specialised company focused upon the index as a core product. IISL has a Marketing and licensing agreement with Standard & Poor’s (S&P), who are world leaders in index services.

  • The traded value for the last six months of all Nifty stocks is approximately 44.89% of the traded value of all stocks on the NSE
  • Nifty stocks represent about 58.64% of the total market capitalization as on March 31, 2008.
  • Impact cost of the S&P CNX Nifty for a portfolio size of Rs.2 crore is 0.15%
  • S&P CNX Nifty is professionally maintained and is ideal for derivatives trading

What and How of Nifty Index, How is stock selected in Index, Sensex, India Index Services and Products Ltd. (IISL)NSE, CRISIL, Liquidity,  Impact Cost, Floating Stock, index calculation

How Stocks are selected :

The constituents and the criteria for the selection judge the effectiveness of the index. Selection of the index set is based on the following criteria:

Liquidity (Impact Cost)

For inclusion in the index, the security should have traded at an average impact cost of 0.50% or less during the last six months for 90% of the observations for a basket size of Rs. 2 Crores.

Impact cost is cost of executing a transaction in a security in proportion to the weightage of its market capitalisation as against the index market capitalisation at any point of time. This is the percentage mark up suffered while buying / selling the desired quantity of a security compared to its ideal price (best buy + best sell) / 2

Floating Stock

Companies eligible for inclusion in S&P CNX Nifty should have atleast 10% floating stock. For this purpose, floating stock shall mean stocks which are not held by the promoters and associated entities (where identifiable) of such companies.

Others

a) A company which comes out with a IPO will be eligible for inclusion in the index, if it fulfills the normal eligiblity criteria for the index like impact cost, market capitalisation and floating stock, for a 3 month period instead of a 6 month period.

b) Replacement of Stock from the Index:

A stock may be replaced from an index for the following reasons:

i. Compulsory changes like corporate actions, delisting etc. In such a scenario, the stock having largest market capitalization and satisfying other requirements related to liquidity, turnover and free float will be considered for inclusion.

ii. When a better candidate is available in the replacement pool, which can replace the index stock i.e. the stock with the highest market capitalization in the replacement pool has at least twice the market capitalization of the index stock with the lowest market capitalization.

With respect to (2) above, a maximum of 10% of the index size (number of stocks in the index) may be changed in a calendar year. Changes carried out for (2) above are irrespective of changes, if any, carried out for (1) above.

And Finally how is the index calculation done

S&P CNX Nifty is computed using market capitalization weighted method, wherein the level of the index reflects the total market value of all the stocks in the index relative to a particular base period. The method also takes into account constituent changes in the index and importantly corporate actions such as stock splits, rights, etc without affecting the index value.

Source : NSE

July 2010

RBI hikes short-term rates; CRR unchanged

rbiThe central bank raised interest on Tuesday in the face of inflation has been above 10 percent for the past five months. The Reserve Bank of India said it would continue to normalize policy in line with the growth and inflation rate in the economy.


The RBI lifted the repo rate, at which it lends to banks, by 25 basis points to 5.75 percent, which was in line with expectations, but raised the reverse repo rate, at which it absorbs excess cash from the system, by a steeper than expected 50 basis points to 4.50 percent.

The central bank left the cash reserve ratio (CRR) unchanged at 6 percent.

Inflation in India emerged last year in the wake of a poor monsoon that drove up food prices but has spread broadly throughout the economy, spawning protests against a government whose voter base is predominantly poor and rural.  New Delhi’s decision to increase fuel prices is expected to add nearly a percentage point to wholesale price index (WPI) inflation starting in July and led the opposition to call a one-day nationwide strike early this month.

The government is hoping on normal summer monsoon rains to results in better crop yields and ease pressure on food prices, and has said inflation should decline to 6 percent by December, which in my opinion is a task in itself…..

The Simple rules to Successful Investing – Part 1

The Simple rules to Successful Investing , Understanding Investing, Stocks, Mutual Funds, Tax, Insurance, Estate, Wills.

“No amount of talking or reading can teach you swimming. You will have to get in the water.”

There are these little general rules which are applicable and useful for decision making and taking actions. And these simple rules are applicable in so many aspects of life, they are just some small reminders, some common-sense stuff which are really useful.

And yes most of them are applicable in investment planning as well.

a. Perfect Plan – Forget it.There is no such thing as a perfect investment plan and no such thing as a perfect time. The right time is now. Tomorrow is and always will be uncertain. Perfectionism is the enemy of action. Do not let perfect investment plan or a perfect time to invest stop you from starting.

b. Analysis Paralysis – Too much thinking will often result in getting stuck.Some thinking is good — it’s good to have a clear picture of where you’re going or why you’re doing this — but don’t get stuck thinking. Just do.

c. Get the Broad Picture and Start. You need to get the broad picture in your mind. You need to understand your future requirements or what do you want to achieve (goals). You need to know the time you have to meet those requirements. And, then you should have the broad plan to meet the goals. Once you have the broad picture. Get going.
All the planning will take you nowhere unless you take that first step, no matter how small it is.

d. Keep things Simple and take Small Steps. Small steps always work. Little tiny blows can break down that mountain. And then each step counts. Keep the big picture in mind, but start by taking small steps.

Understand the advantage of Investing Early here.

The Little Rules to successful action To be contd … Part 2.

Sensex touches 18000 again , two kinds of investors, two different views ….

chart.

“The investor’s chief problem – and even his worst enemy – is likely to be himself.” ~ Benjamin Graham

Sensex is at 18000 once again.

(A) Many Investors who had invested since 2007  when the markets were around the same levels are not happy. Most of them are waiting to get out of the markets when they are able to get cost to cost. Reasoning — they could have got better returns in Bank FD’s in last 3 years.

(B) Many Investors who invested in Markets in 2009 are super excited as almost all their investments have doubled.  Most of these investors have become developed short term view. They believe that they know everything about markets and they can easily generate good returns time and again. Many want to get out at these levels and reenter at sensex 12000 levels only now. They are experts you see.

Greed and Fear works in both the directions of the markets.

Investors who fall in the above categories do not realize the following fundamental rule of nature which is applicable to markets as well : “THIS TOO SHALL PASS AWAY”.

My view is that investors in either of the above categories will probably never be successful over a investment lifecycle of 3 – 5 – 10 years.  Period. Because the above reasoning of exit from market is based purely on market returns and not based on fulfillment of life objectives. And this kind of reasoning falls in the category of speculation.

Do you fall in any of the categories mentioned above…..

June 2010

Beginner Investors : Investing with Index funds/ ETF’s is a good choice

Guide to Beginner Investors , Investing with Index funds, ETF's is a good choice, Financial Planning, Goal Oriented Planning, Understanding Risk.

What is Index Fund

An index fund is a a mutual fund which tries to replicate an index of a financial market. (For eg: Sensex or Nifty). An Index fund follows a passive investing strategy called indexing. It builds a portfolio with the same stocks in the same proportions as the index. The fund makes no effort to beat the index. The purpose of the Index Fund is to earn the same return as the index over a period of time.

What is ETF

ETF stands for Exchange Traded Funds — these are funds that trade on the stock exchange just like any stock. And they are stored in yuor Demat Account just like any Shares you purchase.

Why are Index Funds/ETF’s not as popular or not  advertised like other Mutual Funds ?

Expert Professionals / AMC’s don’t make enough fees from them, so they often go ignored. Just like Term insurance….. , Term Insurance is not promoted as much. Insurance companies do not benefit from them (You can see the correlation…., What is good for Investors and also available for cheap, is not often promoted enough. Because it does not pocket enough profits for the providers/agents…….)

What is the basic difference between Index Funds/ ETF’s  and Mutual Funds?

Mutual Funds try to beat the index over a period of time. This is active investing. Fund Managers are paid to beat the index over a period of time by generating alpha (The excess return of the fund relative to the return of the benchmark index is a fund’s alpha.).

Index Funds/ ETF’s on the other hand, try to mirror the index returns. This is known as passive investing.

What is the advantage of Index Funds/ ETF’s over Mutual Funds?

– Much Lower Expense Ratios (AMC’s are much lower)

– More Flexible

– Transparent

– Approximately 60%-80% of equity mutual funds underperform the average return of the stock market over a period of time. This is the price of “active management”.

On top of this the AMC charges 2-2.5% of the portfolio value annually.

So , you have to pick the funds carefully. This becomes just like picking Individual Stocks. Of course, if you pick up the right funds (or for that matter right stocks) , then you would be beating the Index handsomely. However this process requires good amount of time, effort and judgement on your part. It sounds simple but is not easy.

– On the other hand , investing in index funds in the beginning , you can start participating in the capital markets and once you have a substantial base, then you can start exploring “active”  investing options.

The writeup on Types of Investors will get you to understand more about different kinds of investors.