Portfolio Audit 2023: The annual review of my goal-based investments

Published: December 20, 2023 at 6:00 am

Last Updated on December 20, 2023 at 8:47 am

I evaluate the performance of my retirement portfolio and my son’s future portfolio each year in a personal finance audit. This is the 11th edition. Published from 2013 onwards, these audits provide a sense of accountability and ensure I do not fall prey to fear of missing out, preventing bad investment decisions. They also point out the fruits of systematic goal-based investing.

I am proud and delighted that several readers have also published their audits at freefincal, inspiring the next generation of DIY investors. We now have close to 50 such articles from readers. See, for example, going from a net worth of Rs. 6000 to auto-pilot goal-based investing. The full list of articles is available at the end of this audit.

Archive:  This is the archive of personal finance audits published before: 2013 audit2014 audit, 2015 audit2016 audit2017 audit, 2018 audit, 2019 audit, 2020 audit, 2021 audit and 2022 audit.

To perform a similar audit, refer to this guide – How to perform a portfolio audit? – and use the freefincal robo advisor tool. Then, you can Review and track your goal-based investment portfolio with this auditing tool.

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! 🔥

Disclaimer: This is a personalised financial audit. No part of this audit should be considered investment advice. My current portfolio is the residue of past mistakes, and my asset allocation reflects my changing goal-based risk appetite.

Overview: 2023 was a quiet year on the portfolio front. I have not rebalanced my portfolio so far. The focus has been on systematic investing and systematic increases in investments. See:  Why increasing investments each year is crucial for financial freedom.

These yearly audits took quite a bit of time to publish, but since I shifted from Excel to the freefincal Google Sheets stock and mutual fund portfolio tracker the entire process is automated. One can compare the portfolio anytime with identical investments in benchmark or passive funds (see graphs below).

My wife sold her ancestral property, which was added (after tax) to our retirement corpus. I thought long and hard about whether to shift most of it to fixed income and maintain 60% equity in the portfolio, but considering the time left for retirement (about 16 years), I decided to invest it all in equity.

This was a decision based on greed, and I am not terribly proud of it.  Those investments so far have made about 9% absolute return over three months. So, it’s not bad, but the party could come crashing down anytime. The longer that takes, the less regret I would feel. Please note that such asset allocation calls are contextual and unsuitable for everyone.


  • Asset Allocation: Equity: 64.3%; Fixed income: 35.7% (I don’t know the exact value of my PPF account – long story – the numbers are approximate).
  • Equity comprises 88.2% of mutual Funds, and the rest is direct equity.
  • Analysis of the stock portfolio is available each month.
  • Fixed income with weights (wrt to total fixed income)
    • NPS 61.77%,  Xirr: 9%
    • PPF Wife 8.71%
    • PPF Pattu 4.6%
    • Cash 4.11% (ICICI Arbitrage + Quantum Liquid)
    • ICICI Gilt 17.48% Xirr: 6.07%
    • Parag Parikh CHF 3.32%  Xirr: 13.85% (This is a recent addition. So don’t get excited)
  • Note: The NPS has 15% equity + long-term gilts (majority). The reader, particularly those with the default govt NPS allocation,  is cautioned that long-term gilts are extremely volatile. My NPS corpus returns dropped almost half after the July 2013 bond crash. See 13 years of investing in the NPS.

Equity mutual funds

  • Overall XIRR since June 2008: 16.99% (last year, it was 14.64% and before that, 19.57%).
  • This should not be taken seriously: On March 23rd 2020, after the biggest intraday fall, my retirement equity MF portfolio return was 2.75%. If, after 12 years, the returns could crash to that level, we must learn to evaluate our portfolio by different metrics. This is why goal-based investing is crucial. You cannot buy groceries or a college education with impressive XIRR data!
  • Parag Parikh FlexiCap XIRR: 21.21%, Weight: 56.28%
    HDFC Hybrid Balanced XIRR: 15.23%, Weight: 19.16%
    Quantum Long Term Equity XIRR: 13.26%, Weight: 12.31%
    UTI Low Volatility: XIRR: 27.60%, Weight: 12.25% (This is a recent investment, so don’t get too excited!)
  •  Financial independence status: If I retire now, I could live off my corpus for the rest of my insipid life and draw an income that increases with inflation at a rate equal to the portfolio return rate (zero real return).
  • My current initial withdrawal rate is about 2%. For an explanation, see: I plan to retire in 25 years; what should be my safe withdrawal rate?
  • Those interested in planning for early retirement can consult this free e-book: Early Retirement in India -How to Retire Early Safely.

This is the normalized evolution of my MF retirement portfolio since its inception (Jun 2008), along with an equivalent investment in Nifty 50 TRI. This was plotted with the freefincal portfolio tracker.

Growth of retirement portfolio compared with identical transactions in Nifty 50 TRI from June 2008 to Dec 2023
Growth of retirement portfolio compared with identical transactions in Nifty 50 TRI from June 2008 to Dec 2023

Please do not read too much into the outperformance compared to Nifty 50 TRI. Sometimes it has, and sometimes it has not. It depends on when you look.

The arrow denotes the artefact due to the lump sum investment mentioned above. It is not due to market movement.

Child’s Education

I have invested to fund my son’s future since December 2009 (a month before his birth). Then it was an 18-year-old goal, and now it has become a 4-year-old goal. I reduced the equity allocation from 67% to 55% in 2020.  It is currently about 55.6%.

I have not bothered reducing the equity allocation because there are enough fixed-income funds to fund his UG and even PG degree at current costs.

Asset allocation

  • Equity: Asset allocation 55.6%. Overall portfolio return: 16.46%
  • Fixed income Asset allocation 44.4%
    • ICICI Arbitrage Xirr: 5.71%, Weight: 25.13% (wrt to total fixed income)
    • ICICI Gilt Xirr: 5.95%, Weight: 19.24%
    • Parag Parikh CHF: Xirr: 15.10%, Weight: 16.41% (again a recent investment)
    • PPF Weight: 39.2%

This is the normalized portfolio evolution since its inception (Jan 2010), along with an equivalent investment in Nifty 50 TRI. This was plotted with the freefincal portfolio tracker.

Growth of my son's future portfolio vs. identical transactions in Nifty 50 TRI from Jan 2010 to Dec 2023
Growth of my son’s future portfolio vs. identical transactions in Nifty 50 TRI from Jan 2010 to Dec 2023

Again, the outperformance should not be taken too seriously.  “Chinchu” is one of our many nicknames for our son and the inspiration behind: Teach your kids financial decision-making with our book, Chinchu Gets a Superpower!”

Outlook & Summary

The key advantages I have had are time (starting early) and starting on a clean slate. Time allows you the luxury of handling market downturns, and it also changes your risk outlook.

Ten years ago, I would have said 60-65% equity at age 48 is a bit much. However, I am comfortable with it today and wonder what I should do to leave it at 50-60% even after retirement. Remember, it is all about what the remaining 50-40% in fixed income is worth and building a diversified retirement portfolio. See: How to build the ideal retirement portfolio. So, time changes the way we view market risk. Not starting early can be a severe handicap regarding how much risk we can take and how we handle it later.

If there is one takeaway from my journey, it is to invest like a machine regularly as much as you can without worrying about market movements. If you have the time and mental strength to wait*  for two bull runs, your life can change, provided you keep investing regularly as much as possible.  * Wait here means wait with the right asset allocation and regular goal-based risk management.

The rate I have increased my investments is higher than its XIRR. See: Why increasing investments each year is crucial for financial freedom.  A lavish lifestyle or servicing too much debt can hamper our ability to pay for future goals or maintain our lifestyle in future. Finding a balance is crucial. I am still trying to find mine.

I urge readers to take advantage of the holiday season and vacation (if applicable) to evaluate how much they need to invest for their goals, tag their existing investments to different goals and plan their 2023 investment schedules. The freefincal robo advisor tool can help you create a full financial plan. Then, you can Review and track your goal-based investment portfolio with this auditing tool.

Reader audits published

You can share your investment journey as an article with freefincal readers. Here are some examples.

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 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)