16 years of mutual fund investing: My Journey and lessons learned

Published: June 23, 2024 at 6:00 am

Last Updated on June 24, 2024 at 9:52 pm

This is an update on my mutual fund investing journey, which began on 19th June 2008. In the last three decades, I have gone from being a spend-thrift to being in debt to financial independence.

New community members can refer to these articles for an account. The Financial Arrow of Time and My Journey: Driven by the fear of making the same mistakes again. My story was featured in Livemint. Also, livemint’s guru portfolio guru profile: You only need a fund where returns remain consistent: Freefincal’s Pattabiraman.

I wish to clarify that this is only a personal milestone, not some earth-shattering event. I know many investors who have invested for decades in the capital market. Many of them are too reticent to discuss their journey. Also see: How does it feel after reaching financial independence?

There is so much to learn. Be it the stock market or life, the moment you sound like you have some experience, you will get kicked to the ground. The simple truth is that life selected one for me out of a million ways to go from point A to point B in ten years. This does not mean this is the only way to success (or failure).

Join over 32,000 readers and get free money management solutions delivered to your inbox! Subscribe to get posts via email!
🔥Enjoy massive discounts on our robo-advisory tool & courses! 🔥

Details of how I started investing and some insights on the portfolio growth can be found in a previous account: Fourteen Years of Mutual Fund Investing: My Journey and Lessons Learned.

Here, I would like to provide a quick portfolio update and re-visit the lessons (most of these, unsurprisingly, are the same as before).

Retirement Portfolio Update

This is the growth of my retirement portfolio compared with identical purchases and redemptions in the NIfty 50 TRI index as of 13th June 2024, created using the freefincal Mutual Funds and Stock Portfolio Tracker on Google Sheets.

Growth of my retirement portfolio compared with identical purchases and redemptions in the Nifty 50 TRI index as of 13th June 2024
Growth of my retirement portfolio compared with identical purchases and redemptions in the Nifty 50 TRI index as of 13th June 2024

Asset Allocation (approximately)

  • Parag Parikh FlexiCap (55.98%) 22.49%
  • HDFC Hybrid Balanced (17.78%) 15.85%
  • QLTE (12.35%) 14.94%
  • UTI Low Volatility (13.88%) 31.98%

The debt portfolio

  • NPS(Mandatory (60.59%) 9.27%
  • ICICI Gilt Fund (16.2%)  6.5%
  • PPF (12.4%)
  • Parag Parikh Conservative Hybrid Fund (4.41%) 16.38%
  • Parag Parikh Dynamic Asset Allocation Fund (2.75%) 20.38% (not to be taken seriously, it is a new investment)
  • Cash (ICICI Arbitrage + Quantum Liquid) (3.66%)

Also, see 13 years of investing in the NPS.

Lessons learnt

These are reproduced from last year’s account. If I can call myself successful, it is only because of three aspects

  • Luck
  • Discipline
  • prioritized emotions. I was more emotional about the lack of financial independence after retirement than seeing my portfolio in “red”. Therefore, I did not monitor my portfolio daily. I did not seek information every day and worry about it. I let my money grow peacefully with occasional gardening.

My portfolio growth has nothing to do with my ability to choose “good funds” or my education or training. By nature, I am disciplined and hate information.

If I had to list my lessons (even if no one is asking me to!), they would be:

1: Get a life! Identify your goals, invest in them and leave them alone until it is time for your annual review.

2: Get rid of Financial contacts or groups on WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook.  An investor is defined by her ability to process information – and the best way to do that is to avoid information. The best way to manage time is to avoid work (or learn to say ‘no’).

3: Invest like your rear end is on fire, or life will light it up later.

4: If your needs are far away and you see a sideways market, pump in money if possible. That is the best time to invest.

5: Never forget that these gains are notional. A single event can decrease your holdings by half. Mountaineers believe they can climb a peak “if the mountain lets them”. Markets are not different. Remember, notional losses are real losses. Only notional gains are notional. A goal-based systematic risk management strategy is essential.

6: Your attitude towards money itself and profit and loss depends on how much money you have. I have seen my portfolio gain or lose 10s of Rs, 100s –> 1000s —> ….. Along the way, I realised that to be successful, we need to learn to lose/gain lakhs every day and yearn for it.

7: Money is a drug. The more you have, the more you want to have. So, at some stage, you will have to draw the line. Increasing the amount you give away to help others at the same rate at which your portfolio grows will keep us grounded.

8: To be rich, we must first think like a rich person. Have a 10Y, 25Y or  35Y year view of your life. Want To Get Rich? Write Yourself A One Crore Cheque!

9: We cannot buy stuff with returns. Having enough money is more important than getting high returns; they are not the same. The 2016 Personal Finance Audit: Returns do not matter!

10: Concentrate on the portfolio return the most. Individual funds will have their ups and downs. It is fine if the portfolio moves along at a healthy pace. This is the main reason for developing the freefincal mutual fund and financial goal tracker. This is the only sheet I use to track my goals and investments.

11: To make money, two things are necessary: money and time. Returns are not in our control. Those who want to become financially free must invest as if their lives depend on it. For all others, try to invest for retirement at least as much as you spend or as close to it as possible. So ask yourself: What is your investing growth rate (CAGR)?

12: Get a proper hobby so that you forget about money. Freefincal is, unfortunately, my hobby. Just because I write about investing does not mean I look at my portfolio daily and tinker with it. Every statue was once a rock. It will become a rock again if we do not know when to stop sculpting.

Do share this article with your friends using the buttons below.

🔥Enjoy massive discounts on our courses, robo-advisory tool and exclusive investor circle! 🔥& join our community of 5000+ users!
Use our Robo-advisory Tool for a start-to-finish financial plan! More than 1,000 investors and advisors use this!
New Tool! => Track your mutual funds and stock investments with this Google Sheet!
We also publish monthly equity mutual funds, debt and hybrid mutual funds, index funds and ETF screeners and momentum, low-volatility stock screeners.
Follow Freefincal on Google News
Follow Freefincal on Google News
Subscribe to the freefincal Youtube Channel. Subscribe button courtesy: Vecteezy.
Subscribe to the freefincal Youtube Channel.
Follow freefincal on WhatsApp Channel
Follow freefincal on WhatsApp
Podcast: Let's Get RICH With PATTU! Every single Indian CAN grow their wealth! 
Listen to the Lets Get Rich with Pattu Podcast
Listen to the Let's Get Rich with Pattu Podcast
You can watch podcast episodes on the OfSpin Media Friends YouTube Channel.
Lets Get RICH With PATTU podcast on YouTube
Let's Get RICH With PATTU podcast on YouTube.
🔥Now Watch Let's Get Rich With Pattu தமிழில் (in Tamil)! 🔥
  • Do you have a comment about the above article? Reach out to us on Twitter: @freefincal or @pattufreefincal
  • Have a question? Subscribe to our newsletter using the form below.
  • Hit 'reply' to any email from us! We do not offer personalized investment advice. We can write a detailed article without mentioning your name if you have a generic question.

Join over 32,000 readers and get free money management solutions delivered to your inbox! Subscribe to get posts via email!

About The Author

Pattabiraman editor freefincalDr M. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the founder, managing editor and primary author of freefincal. He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He has over ten years of experience publishing news analysis, research and financial product development. Connect with him via Twitter(X), Linkedin, or YouTube. Pattabiraman has co-authored three print books: (1) You can be rich too with goal-based investing (CNBC TV18) for DIY investors. (2) Gamechanger for young earners. (3) Chinchu Gets a Superpower! for kids. He has also written seven other free e-books on various money management topics. He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India,” an organisation promoting unbiased, commission-free investment advice.
Our flagship course! Learn to manage your portfolio like a pro to achieve your goals regardless of market conditions! More than 3,000 investors and advisors are part of our exclusive community! Get clarity on how to plan for your goals and achieve the necessary corpus no matter the market condition is!! Watch the first lecture for free!  One-time payment! No recurring fees! Life-long access to videos! Reduce fear, uncertainty and doubt while investing! Learn how to plan for your goals before and after retirement with confidence.
Our new course!  Increase your income by getting people to pay for your skills! More than 700 salaried employees, entrepreneurs and financial advisors are part of our exclusive community! Learn how to get people to pay for your skills! Whether you are a professional or small business owner who wants more clients via online visibility or a salaried person wanting a side income or passive income, we will show you how to achieve this by showcasing your skills and building a community that trusts and pays you! (watch 1st lecture for free). One-time payment! No recurring fees! Life-long access to videos!   
Our new book for kids: “Chinchu Gets a Superpower!” is now available!
Both boy and girl version covers of Chinchu gets a superpower
Both the boy and girl-version covers of "Chinchu Gets a superpower".
Most investor problems can be traced to a lack of informed decision-making. We made bad decisions and money mistakes when we started earning and spent years undoing these mistakes. Why should our children go through the same pain? What is this book about? As parents, what would it be if we had to groom one ability in our children that is key not only to money management and investing but to any aspect of life? My answer: Sound Decision Making. So, in this book, we meet Chinchu, who is about to turn 10. What he wants for his birthday and how his parents plan for it, as well as teaching him several key ideas of decision-making and money management, is the narrative. What readers say!
Feedback from a young reader after reading Chinchu gets a Superpower (small version)
Feedback from a young reader after reading Chinchu gets a Superpower!
Must-read book even for adults! This is something that every parent should teach their kids right from their young age. The importance of money management and decision making based on their wants and needs. Very nicely written in simple terms. - Arun.
Buy the book: Chinchu gets a superpower for your child!
How to profit from content writing: Our new ebook is for those interested in getting side income via content writing. It is available at a 50% discount for Rs. 500 only!
Do you want to check if the market is overvalued or undervalued? Use our market valuation tool (it will work with any index!), or get the Tactical Buy/Sell timing tool!
We publish monthly mutual fund screeners and momentum, low-volatility stock screeners.
About freefincal & its content policy. Freefincal is a News Media Organization dedicated to providing original analysis, reports, reviews and insights on mutual funds, stocks, investing, retirement and personal finance developments. We do so without conflict of interest and bias. Follow us on Google News. Freefincal serves more than three million readers a year (5 million page views) with articles based only on factual information and detailed analysis by its authors. All statements made will be verified with credible and knowledgeable sources before publication. Freefincal does not publish paid articles, promotions, PR, satire or opinions without data. All opinions will be inferences backed by verifiable, reproducible evidence/data. Contact information: letters {at} freefincal {dot} com (sponsored posts or paid collaborations will not be entertained)
Connect with us on social media
Our publications

You Can Be Rich Too with Goal-Based Investing

You can be rich too with goal based investingPublished by CNBC TV18, this book is meant to help you ask the right questions and seek the correct answers, and since it comes with nine online calculators, you can also create custom solutions for your lifestyle! Get it now.
Gamechanger: Forget Startups, Join Corporate & Still Live the Rich Life You Want Gamechanger: Forget Start-ups, Join Corporate and Still Live the Rich Life you wantThis book is meant for young earners to get their basics right from day one! It will also help you travel to exotic places at a low cost! Get it or gift it to a young earner.

Your Ultimate Guide to Travel

Travel-Training-Kit-Cover-new This is an in-depth dive into vacation planning, finding cheap flights, budget accommodation, what to do when travelling, and how travelling slowly is better financially and psychologically, with links to the web pages and hand-holding at every step. Get the pdf for Rs 300 (instant download)