Anecdote: The day the microphone voiced its protest!

Published: October 13, 2013 at 7:30 am

Last Updated on

Assume that I am speaking about ‘how to plan for retirement’ in a seminar (what were the organizers thinking!  Asking a nut job like me to talk!)

Let us say that more than half my audience consists of people (duh!) in their early 30s to mid 50s.

I go on and on about the factors one needs to worry about while planning for retirement and then suddenly say,

All that I have said is relevant only if your children will not take care of you’.

 ‘If your children are loving and do take of all your expenses in retirement, then none of what I said about retirement planning is relevant to you’.

If you were in the audience, how would you react?

The anecdote concerns a seminar on retirement by Mr. Debashis Basu, founder, editor and publisher of Moneylife magazine.

It is a good and informative seminar. One that everyone should see. No doubt about that.

Unfortunately, his microphone did not like what he said or rather what he was going to say, 20 minutes into the talk!

Watch: Retirement savings seminar: Be prepared for the unknowns

The video is about 54 minutes long. So if you like, you could go straight to the part when the microphone voiced its protest

I agree with the microphone.  Do you?

Moneylife and Freefincal

Regular readers would readily agree that I am not a big fan of the way Moneylife magazine reports news.  I have regularly referenced their articles in poor light.

1. Well, not all of my Moneylife-mentions are in poor light.  In the hope that you will not called me biased, let me start with a positive mention.

We must salute the courage of Ms. Sucheta Dalal who exposed the Harshad Mehta Scam to the world.  Her work has had an extraordinary impact on Indian stock markets. You see this for yourself here:

Understanding the Nature of Stock Market Returns

Here is an article that refers to Mr. Debashis Basu’s book, Face ValueCreation and Destruction of Shareholder Value in India

 Myth Buster

The rest of the mentions, I am afraid are not as endearing.


2. Moneylife first caught my attention when I read their article on surrendering insurance policies. So I wrote this (hopefully more balanced) article to accompany the

Insurance Policy Surrender Value & Paid-up Value Calculator


3. While working on mutual fund investment mode (SIP, VIP, lumpsum etc.) comparison calculator, I noticed they had written a related article and claimed that theirs was the ‘first comprehensive and unbiased research on SIPs’. They claimed that SIPs are not as successful as they are made out to be, but failed to take into account investment durations greater than 10 years.

I hope the conclusions accompanying this Comprehensive Mutual Fund Investment Mode Comparator are a bit more balanced (that word again!).


4. When bonds crashed in July, Moneylife had a field day claiming how debt funds are not suitable for the average investors, completely (or conveniently) forgetting that every portfolio (esp. those for long-term goals) would benefit (in more ways than one) with debt funds in them.

So in response I asked: Is This Financial Literacy?

This post divided readers. Many agreed with me, and a few strongly disagreed! I was told to do research to counter Moneylife’s conclusions.

Well, what stinks, stinks. I see no need to research it.


5. Their article titled, Five Reasons not to Buy Debt Funds was amusingly based on  

the ‘average returns of debt schemes that have a corpus above Rs100 crore’

Amusing because, it is like making conclusions after averaging apples and potatoes.

More details can be found here: Debt Mutual Funds vs. Fixed Deposits: Volatility Simulator

Hopefully investors and planners could use this simulator make more sensible conclusions with regard to the safety of debt mutual funds.


 In case if you are wondering what the fuss is all about, please consider this:

I am pushing 40. My son is pushing 4! I love my son and he loves me.   Therefore, I will assume that he would love me and take care of me when I retire.  So I will forget about my retirement plan, transfer all my assets to him, assume that I have parented a good son, and place my trust on the traditional values so unique to India.

How wise would that be?

 If you are a Moneylife fan, feel free to criticise me.  I promise to publish your comment unedited!

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About the Author Pattabiraman editor freefincalM. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the founder, managing editor and primary author of freefincal. He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. since Aug 2006. Connect with him via Twitter or Linkedin Pattabiraman has co-authored two print-books, You can be rich too with goal-based investing (CNBC TV18) and Gamechanger and seven other free e-books on various topics of money management. He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India” an organisation to promote unbiased, commission-free investment advice. He conducts free money management sessions for corporates and associations on the basis of money management. Previous engagements include World Bank, RBI, BHEL, Asian Paints, Cognizant, Madras Atomic Power Station, Honeywell, Tamil Nadu Investors Association. For speaking engagements write to pattu [at] freefincal [dot] com
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