Beginners’ guide to investing…Pratik Mate
“Bro, suggest me some good stocks please.”
“Hey, I heard stock X is going to go up, should I buy it?”
“I want to start an SIP, how to do it?”
“So, like can you double my money?”
As a 20 somethings guy working in the financial advisory industry, I have had my fair share of interactions mentioned above. Somehow you become the de-facto person in your circle whom people confer for financial advice. In this series of articles, I’ll be sharing some of the very basics of Investing for any beginner who has very little information about how the system works. Be advised that this is a very generalised heavily simplified version and the actual actions may differ on a case-by-case basis. Let’s take a dive into the world of bulls and bears, shall we?
- The Difference Between Saving and Investing: A common misconception amongst first-time investors is that both are the same. However, there’s a critical difference between the two. Savings, in essence, are any money that you don’t spend from your earnings. For eg. On a salary of Rs. 50,000/- per month, a person is left with around Rs. 20,000/- every month, those are their savings. Investing is when you allocate these savings with the expectation of generating income and wealth. An example, of the Rs. 20,000/- saved the person buys Mutual Funds of Rs 10,000/- and Rs. 10,000 in a bank FD, only then can it be considered investments.
- Set Goals: It might feel like a boring and tedious task, but a lot of investment decisions are based on the person’s financial goals, their risk appetite. The first step before investing is asking questions, why am I doing this? when/how will I be using this money? To appropriately assess investment options.
- Safety Cover: A critical aspect before starting the investment journey is deciding on an adequate safety cover. It is generally advised to have at least 6 months of your expenses stored away in a rainy-day fund; any unexpected setbacks should not deter an investor from their investing goals. Unexpected illnesses/ accidents or death are the biggest threats to an investor’s long-term investing goals as they can cause wealth erosion pretty quickly. Investors should adequately Insure themselves before investing.
- Discipline: Investing has very little to do with markets and everything to do with behavioural impulses. It’s easy to start investing, it’s difficult to keep investing and it’s hardest to stay invested. Many first-time investors lack the discipline to consistently keep investing, but persistence is the only thing that generates wealth in the long term. Another trap most first-time investors fall for is consistently checking their portfolio for gains and losses, which is as unpredictable as the wind blowing and are tempted to cash in on their investments for short-term gains or stop investing altogether because of losses. Discipline wins in the end.
- Uncertainty: Like all things in life, Investing too is unpredictable and difficult to understand at times. Not every investment will give an investor their desired returns, nor does an average investor have the time and skills to analyse their investments periodically to take corrective actions. In order to mitigate the risks, it is recommended that investors confer with SEBI registered Investment Advisors to guide them through their investing journey.
This is the 1st Part of the Introduction to Investing Series, which will discuss critical aspects of investing aimed at first time investors. Stay tuned for more.
Disclaimer: “The views expressed are for information purposes only. The information provided herein should not be considered as investment advice or research recommendation. The users should rely on their own research and analysis and should consult their own investment advisors to determine the merit, risks, and suitability of the information provided.”