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.
Step 3: How to buy Term Life Insurance
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:
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.
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.
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.