My investment journey: from product-driven to process-driven

Published: March 20, 2022 at 6:00 am

In this edition of the reader story, we meet 30-year old Phanindra. He explains how his style of money management changed from buying interesting or apparently useful products to building a robust goal-based investment strategy. This is the 31st such article published here.

About this series: I am grateful to readers for sharing intimate details about their financial lives for the benefit of readers. Some of the previous editions are linked at the bottom of this article. You can also access the full reader story archive.

Opinions published in reader stories need not represent the views of freefincal or its editors. We must appreciate multiple solutions to the money management puzzle and empathise with diverse views. Articles are typically not checked for grammar unless necessary to convey the right meaning to preserve the tone and emotions of the writers.

If you would like to contribute to the DIY community in this manner, send your audits to freefincal AT Gmail dot com. They can be published anonymously if you so desire.

Please note: We welcome such articles from young earners who have just started their investing journey. See, for example, this piece by a 29-year old: How I track financial goals without worrying about returns.


Build a complete financial plan with our Robo Advisory Tool. More than 1000 investors and financial advisors use it!
Get free money management solutions delivered to your mailbox! Subscribe to get posts via email! (Subscribers get exclusive discounts!)


New Tool! => Track your mutual funds and stocks investments with this Google Sheet!

We have also started a new “mutual fund success stories” series. This is the first edition: How mutual funds helped me reach financial independence. Now over to the author.

Hello readers, first of all, I would like to thank Pattu sir for providing a platform to share my investment journey with fellow DIY investors. My journey is identical to scores of Indians: complete a BE and join a tech company.

My parents never wanted anything from me after I started earning. All they said was, “Unlike us, you are in a position where you have some extra money each month. Be wise and frugal with it. Learn how to save it. Do not try to fit in with others using money”

Thankfully, I was frugal by nature but for almost six years after I started earning, I did not learn about saving or investing in a structured manner. I made the standard and usual money mistakes based on office chit-chat: Buy products only for tax savings – endowment policies, Ulips, ELSS funds, and NPS too!

It is by chance I stumbled upon freefincal three years ago and realised the mistakes I was making. I read Re-assemble Step by step money management basics (free e-bok) and rigorously follow the steps. I then joined the goal-based portfolio management course and developed an investment strategy.

The biggest mistake I made was chasing after products: for tax savings or tax-free gains; for better returns without understanding terms and conditions etc. I recognised the benefits of a process-driven approach.

I listed my goals and tagged my investments to them. Each time I invest, I invest for that goal not for X or Y return and not for saving tax. Once we focus on the corpus necessary for our goal, we can happily ignore fluctuating returns or market developments. This process-driven approach has given me peace of mind.

I got married two years ago. My wife is a reporter. We have not yet decided about children but realise we have to do so quickly. For now, we only have one goal – financial freedom.

Since I followed goal-based investing only two years ago, about 70% of my money is in EPF and some small amounts in NPS and PPF. I only keep the NPS and PPF accounts alive each year. I got rid of my endowment policies and ULIPs after reading re-assemble and got a term insurance cover.

I prefer to focus on investing as much as possible in equity funds.  “Invest as much as possible each month without getting bogged down with SIPs” is another useful piece of advice from Pattu sir.

Last year I switched to the new tax regime and bade goodbye to section 80C.

I like hybrid funds and use Mirae Asset Equity Hybrid Fund and ICICI Multi-asset fund (roughly same weights).

Our goal is to holiday abroad at least once in three years. So we save a small amount for this each year in an RD.

Reader stories published earlier

As regular readers may know, we publish a personal financial audit each December – this is the 2020 edition: How my retirement portfolio performed in 2020. We asked regular readers to share how they review their investments and track financial goals.

These published audits have had a compounding effect on readers. If you would like to contribute to the DIY community in this manner, send your audits to freefincal AT Gmail. They could be published anonymously if you so desire.

Do share if you found this useful
Enjoy special discounts on our 10th anniversary until May 31st!  
Explore the site! Search among our 2000+ articles for information and insight!

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 nine years of experience publishing news analysis, research and financial product development. Connect with him via Twitter or 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 for promoting unbiased, commission-free investment advice.
Use our Robo-advisory Excel Template for a start-to-finish financial plan! Now with a new demo video!  More than 1000 investors and advisors use this!
Our flagship course! Learn to manage your portfolio like a pro to achieve your goals regardless of market conditions! More than 2800 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 what 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 675 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 you and pays you! (watch 1st lecture for free). One-time payment! No recurring fees! Life-long access to videos!   
My new book for kids: “Chinchu gets a superpower!” is now available!
Both boy and girl version covers of Chinchu gets a superpower
Both boy and girl version covers of Chinchu gets a superpower.
Most investor problems can be traced to a lack of informed decision making. We have all 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, if we had to groom one ability in our children that is key not only to money management and investing but for any aspect of life, what would it be? 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 parent’s plan for it and teach 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 for those interested in getting side income via content writing. It is available at a 50% discount for Rs. 500 only!
Did you know? We have more than 1000+ videos on YouTube to explore! Join our YouTube Community!

Want to check if the market is overvalued or undervalued? Use our market valuation tool (will work with any index!), or you buy the new Tactical Buy/Sell timing tool!
We publish mutual fund screeners and momentum, low volatility stock screeners .every month.
About freefincal & its content policy Freefincal is a News Media Organization dedicated to providing original analysis, reports, reviews and insights on developments in mutual funds, stocks, investing, retirement and personal finance. 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 from credible and knowledgeable sources before publication. Freefincal does not publish any paid articles, promotions, PR, satire or opinions without data. All opinions presented will only 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, seek the correct answers, and since it comes with nine online calculators, you can also create custom solutions for your lifestyle! Get it now. It is also available in Kindle format.
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 analysis into vacation planning, finding cheap flights, budget accommodation, what to do when travelling, 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 199 (instant download)
Free android apps