Are you ready to let go and let your money grow?

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Re-assemble is a series on the basics of money management aimed at beginners and young earners. So far we have covered 8 steps and completed the basic financial fortification process. Now we are all set to move on to investing – with a clear purpose. In step 9 of re-assemble, I have a few questions to ask you. A few questions that you need to ask yourself. Before that here is a brief summary of all Re-assemble posts.

Re-Assemble: a recap of the steps

Many of you may be on vacation this week. Now would be a perfect time to work on these steps.

₹e-assemble by is a series on the basics of money management for yougn earnersStep 1: Listing your goals dreams and nightmares

Step 2: Lay the Foundations to Get Rich creating an emergency fund

Step 3: How to buy Term Life Insurance

Step 4: How to choose a suitable health insurance policy

* Apollo Munich Optima Restore Benefit vs Max Bupa Re-fill Benefit 

* Star Health Comprehensive Insurance vs Religare Care Comprehensive Insurance

Building a health insurance comparison chart + Cigna TTK vs Royal Sundaram Health Policies

*  How to buy a Super Top-up Health Insurance policy

How I selected a health insurance policy

Why we all need a corpus for medical expenses and how to build it

Step 5: How to select a credit card for maximum benefit

Step 6: How to track monthly expenses and manage them efficiently

Step 7:  How to close your loans and live debt-free

Step 8:  How to buy a personal accident insurance policy

Step 9: This post. A few questions before we start.

Coming soon:  Starting investing and portfolio management with examples from readers.

Question 1: Are you ready to let go to let your money grow?

I wanted to first ask, are you ready to watch your money grow, but many investors are already practising this quite literally. Why do you think Value Research take a while in loading between 8:30 pm to ~ 10:30 pm every business day?! People are busying finding the impact of the 0.01% market move or “correction” on their portfolio.

So I decided to switch to: are you ready to let your money grow? Yes, we need to let it grow. We are the biggest enemy of our wealth. In order to let our money grow, we need to let go – again quite literally after the basics are in place. Allow me to explain.

Investing is a lot of like parenting. You need to know when to ‘be there’, when to intervene and when to stay away. No one becomes a parent after they have become an expert in parenting. We have a child and learn how to parent on the fly. With each passing day, we learn something about little humans and how to work with them.

Investing is pretty much identical. The learning never stops and there is no need to stop, learn all there is to know and then invest. That is a waste of precious time. The idea should be to quickly understand the basics and get going. If you cannot do this, you need professional help.

The question you need to ask yourself is, are you ready do what is necessary and leave your portfolio alone and not look at it every day? Like this:

Let your investments on autopilot and get a life! Source: BBC.

Once you start seeing double-digit returns (and above), “watching” money grow can be intoxicating. Look at all those sleep deprived bitcoin investors. Sudden wealth is like an overworked sailor mistaking a fish for a mermaid and jumping into shark-infested waters. It can make you take unnecessary risks and tamper with your portfolio. So it is important to get a nice unrelated hobby.

Question 2: Are you ready to say NO to information?

The basics of investing are centuries old and will not change, at least not in our lifetime. So there is no need to subscribe to blogs and newspapers. There is nothing new that you can learn IF you have identified the basics (see below), understood them and implemented them. You need to let go of information first, to let go of your portfolio.

But, don’t I need to stay in touch with latest developments? No, you don’t.

Every day someone writes me a nice thank you note for freefincal content. I cannot put into words how grateful I feel when I read those.  I would be even more elated to receive messages that say, “thank you, my portfolio construction is complete, I have learnt how to review it, freefincal is no longer insightful and is only information to me now. Therefore, I am moving on” – hey before you do, introduce the site to our friends and colleagues, I would like to move on too, but until I do, I need fuel to keep the site going 🙂

I hope you get what I am trying to say. I know people who have unsubscribed from FB group Asan Ideas For Wealth (AIFW) notifications, because “they are done”. Only those with confidence and conviction will do so.

Read more: The Information Diet: How Less Information Can Make us More Informed

The sooner you complete the basics of money management, get into maintenance mode and move, the more time you get to do what you love. Never forget time is the real wealth.

Question 3: Do you recognise that “Do it Yourself” (DIY) means actually doing it yourself?

I cannot begin to tell you how frustrated I am with the so-called DIY community. All that most of them are DIYing is free lunch. The true DIY investors are shy to talk about their experience and insights so where does that leave us?

Look at the questions at AIFW: “I am DIY investor and have shorted-listed these funds. Please help me select one”. The whole point of being a DIY investor is to work in isolation, make decisions on our own and face the music on our own.

“But you see, I have starting trouble. I just need some help in getting started.”

Okay, then get professional help! Do not ask in forums or book a personal chat session with Ashal. He does not mind, but should that mean we exploit his good nature?

Remember self-respect, dignity and all that sort of things? A DIY investor is the CEO of their financial life. The buck starts and ends within them.

Distribution of DIY investors
You can guess who I refer to as assisted DIY investors

DIY the answer to this question: Can you really take decisons on your own? If not, don’t waste your time trying. Don’t waste your time in AIFW. Seek help from a SEBI registered fee-only financial planner. This is short-list, but you still need to DIY whom to choose! Many cannot!

Like I said, Let’s Face It: Everyone Needs Do-it-Yourself Skills. If you do not like my style, try Butun Mohapatra’s: Reader Story: Are you sure you can be a DIY investor?

Question 4: Do you have the maturity to understand that no choice will be perfect?

A DIY investor must not only take decisions on their own but also do so quickly. No more than a weekend say, for your first mutual fund. No more than a lunch hour for your second and so on.

You will gain confidence only if you go beyond superficial online comparisons and dig deep into scheme information documents and policy wordings.

Question 5: Can you quickly connect the dots?

Investing begins with portfolio construction. This has certain key elements and you will have to go through them in a particular order. You must first identify those elements and then connect them. That is, understand what to do first, next and last. So many “DIY investors” are in such a hurry to select products. Remember the quote about cutting a tree:

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

the first step is to identify the right tool (axe). The next is to recognize that a sharper axe will cut faster. The next is the maturity to spend enough time sharpening it and only then start cutting.

Here is an example: Financial Goal Planning: How to buy an Audi Car

Question 6: Are ready to never stop learning?

A DIY investor needs to be factually opinionated. That is base opinions only on current facts and not history. That is also known as being open-minded. Without this, we will never learn to change, adapt and correct our mistakes (everyone will make some).

If you have answered NO to any of the above questions, you need professional help in getting your money matters in order. Consult a planner from Fee-only India: the launch of a movement to serve investors and advisors.

If you have answered YES to all of the above questions, welcome to the true DIY investor club. We could use some company. We are at different points of the never-ending learning curve, but we can always learn together, separately.


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About the Author M Pattabiraman author of freefincal.comM. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the author and owner of  He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras since Aug 2006. Pattu” as he is popularly known, 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. Pattu publishes unbiased, promotion-free research, analysis and holistic money management advice. Freefincal serves more than one million readers a year (2.5 million page views) with numbers based analysis on topical issues and has more than a 100 free calculators on different aspects of insurance and investment analysis. He conducts free money management sessions for corporates  and associations(see details below). Previous engagements include World Bank, RBI, BHEL, Asian Paints, TamilNadu Investors Association etc. Contact information: freefincal {at} Gmail {dot} com (sponsored posts or paid collaborations will not be entertained)
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Gamechanger: Forget Startups, Join Corporate & Still Live the Rich Life You WantGamechanger: Forget Start-ups, Join Corporate and Still Live the Rich Life you wantMy second book is meant for young earners to get their basics right from day one! It will also help you travel to exotic places at low cost! Get it or gift it to a young earner

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  1. Pattu Sir,
    Great post and good to pinch us a bit! This remembers me an example of Swami Vivekananda. In his last years, he gave complete freedom to his followers and encouraged them to take their own decisions on their own, instead of just keep on following him obediently.

    A true leader is that one who turns the followers into the leaders. I am getting the same message from you, by reading this article, to have self reliance!
    Thank you for your sincerity!

  2. Well, I am one of those who for the most part has automated his finances, reviews his portfolio once a year and after a few years of consuming freefincal religiously (but silently) has found it less and less useful on a day to day basis (except for sending links to friends who are just getting started).

    Thank you for your help in getting me to this stage, Pattu!

  3. “freefincal is no longer insightful and is only information to me now”
    I feel like that with almost all financial blogs now. I still read every post of yours. I love reading and can’t miss a good read. Your writing was good and it never stopped improving.

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