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ASK SHARAD about Investments & Personal Finance

As a part of our ASK RODINHOODERS series, it’s a delight to have here Sharad Singh. He is one of the nicest guys you will find around! He is a quiet contributor, extremely modest, very often emails me suggestions and is keen to contribute to trhs. He is a giver in the true sense. 

About Sharad:

“I have been working in the fin-tech domain for over a decade with rich exposure to banking and capital markets. Most of this experience has been as an entrepreneur.

Currently, I am with my second venture, Valuefy, which provides portfolio management solutions to fund managers, including the top mutual funds on India. We launched thefundoo.com, which helps individual investors in making correct investment decisions, by bringing institutional level analytics to the realm of the common investor.

I had earlier founded BrainMatics, a provider of Risk Management solutions to banks. I started my career with Infosys during Y2k debugging tens of thousands lines of code… 😉 Post my MBA, I worked with Fractal Analytics which was a start-up of my MBA seniors. The stint there was very helpful in understanding the start-up world from close.

I graduated in engineering and did my MBA from IIMA.

I love travelling, movies, fin-tech, cricket, start-ups… and much more…

Ask me anything about investments/personal finance.”

There are a few key points in investing. Follow them and you would largely be fine:

1. INSURANCE is not investment.

a. Have a Term (Life) Cover for the earning member of your family and a Health Insurance for your family. (These should be the only two insurance policies you must have. Note ‘only’ & ‘must’)

2. Invest; DON’T GAMBLE. If you aren’t an expert with stocks, Mutual Fund (MF) is the only option for you.

3. Invest as per your GOALs:

a. If you need money in 1 month, Bank FD or Liquid Plans might be just fine

b. Avoid Equity MF if you need money in less than 2-3 years (Look for Fixed Income MFs)

c. For long term investment, mix equity appropriately with Fixed Income MFs

With the above sensitivity, you should be well off asking the right questions when anyone advises you on investment.

I’ve also written a post on Common Questions on Investing in answer to one of the queries 🙂

****

 

Sharad is following this page – so feel free to seek his advice in the comments below!

You can also connect with Sharad over twitter @3sharad or write to him at 3sharad@gmail.com. Pls try to post as many queries here itself so it becomes a resource page for everyone!

*****

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15 Comments

  1. Profile photo of Sharad Singh

    Thanks Asha, for the generous introduction… 🙂

    Friends: Please feel free to use this section, email, tweet, call… or anything that is comforting. More than happy to help. 

    Regards,

    Sharad

  2. Profile photo of yuvraj wadhwani

    Sharad, you had me at ‘Insurance is not an investment’. I am a personal finance enthusiast, and I have a bunch of questions. Here goes.

    1. Whats your take on mutual funds vs Index funds.
    2. What do you think about the real estate market. I personally think its overvalued, but its not slowing down at all. I would like to hear the opinion of an expert.
    3. What do you consider the most important skill of an investor.
    4. Most personal finance advice is given out for capital gains, but inflation destroys most of the gains. I don’t think inflation is going to drop drastically anytime soon, which makes investing for capital gains less attractive. How would you suggest one starts investing for cash flow instead.
    5. If you are asked to give advice to a 15 year old about investing. The goal is to retire with passive income by 30 years of age. What would your advice be?
    6. How can one start to learn the basics of investing.What resources do you recommend?
    7. Who is your favorite investor.
    8. Do you prefer technical or value investing?
    9. What are your views on the efficient market hypothesis.
    10. What are your views on the western world recovery? Do you buy it?

    Ill add more later 🙂

    Looking forward to hear from you.

  3. Profile photo of Sharad Singh

    Dear Yuvraj,

    These are very relevant and interesting questions.

    Let me collate the answers and post a blog around this. Please give me sometime for the same. Shall keep you posted.

    Hope that’s fine with you.

    Regards,

    Sharad

  4. Profile photo of Sharad Singh

  5. Profile photo of yuvraj wadhwani

    Adding the comments from the other post here as well.

    I have some more now. 🙂

    I see all professional investment advisors preach and recommend mutual funds all the time. If in an hypothetical scenario, there were no mutual funds, how would you advice one to invest.

    If you could not invest in paper assets, where would you put your money?

    What are some strategies to safeguard a portfolio from a sudden decline in equities?

    Are there ways to make money in the market is going down or sideways?

    I want to clarify about investing for cash flow. I meant buying securities or assests that produce cash flow. The simplest example I can think of is rental properties. Why does no professional talk about investing for cash flow? Is passive income bad?

    I don’t remember specifics, but I read a general rule about investing that says your age should determine the percentage of equity and debt in your portfolio. I think thats poor advice, what do you think?

    Diversification vs focusing? Thoughts?

    You did duck the western world question well. Personally, I don’t buy it. Time will tell if I am right.

    Personally, I think its a realistic goal to retire at 30. By retire I mean generate passive income to cover living expenses adjusting for inflation. I made a plan to retire by 30 and I may achieve it before 35 (fingers crossed). The plan is not selling my business btw. Im 29 now. I am fairly certain that I will if the macro economic scenario does nof change drastically.

  6. Profile photo of Pardeep Goyal

    Hi Sharad,

    Thanks for sharing valuable information on this page and your answers to Yuvraj’s questions. 

    I want to ask why most people don’t take ‘personal finance management’ seriously? They get easily fooled by agents & other fools. It is difficult to become expert in finance. People are scared of finance but they have to manage their money on daily basis.

    What stops them to learn or pay for financial advice?

    What is the right age for learning about finance management? (don’t say any age when you get money)

    What are the core things one should learn about personal finance? 

  7. Profile photo of Sharad Singh

    Hi Yuvraj.

    The new Q&A appended to the original post.

    Regards,

    Sharad

  8. Profile photo of Sharad Singh

    Hi Pradeep,

    Thanks for asking. Here are my thoughts.

    Financial Advice

    Various reasons can be playing a part in investor’s apathy to financial advice. Here are my thoughts:

    1. The thought of DIY: I can do it myself. We are B.Tech, MBAs, CAs… We are so educated that we handle complex stuff for biggest organizations. Finance must be piece of cake for us. This isn’t a very wise thought. There are better things to do DIY, like cleaning our house and other chores etc. for which we hire maids. DIY these tasks and the health will be in proper shape. Hire for Financial advice and finances would be in better shape.
    2. Quality of advice: Though the quality of financial advisors and advice has been improving by the day, people have been taken for a ride by middle men. The mistrust created is also an impediment.
    3. Quality of advisors: How many of us dream of being a financial advisor? It’s a chicken-egg problem. People don’t pay advisors as there aren’t good people in the business; good people don’t come into business because there isn’t enough money. We have also type-casted and advisor as the age old ‘LIC agent’. The world is changing and we need to understand the role of a finance specialist in our life. Things are evolving and hopefully for the better. In developed world, financial advisor is one of the most respected jobs.
    4. We haven’t seen our parents needing an advice. We think, even we can do without it. What we miss is that they were always very sensitive to their finances and that’s what worked for them. It seems that the sensitiveness on the importance of managing finances may be a bit weak with us.

    I think the DIY task is to find a good advisor and then leave it to him. Yes one should be sufficiently informed to ask the right questions to his/her advisor.

    PS: For house cleaning, we pay roughly 20k per annum to maids. How much we spend on improving our finances?

    Also check this: http://thefundoo.com/welcome/articlepage/27/Why+one+Needs+a+Financial+Advisor

     

    Age for Learning

    We must have a course on finances in the curriculum from class 5th onwards. That’s the age to drive sensitivity. It has to be a mix of curriculum driven and parents’ driven where parents start giving limited financial freedom and decision making room to kids.

    The objective is not to make them DIY, but to sensitize them.

     

    What are the core things one should learn about personal finance?

    Pick up any newspaper. One should know just good enough to understand the articles there (newspapers are meant for the common mass). If there are terms which one doesn’t know, he/she must google and understand it.

    That’s it. I have largely found this to be true for any subject where you don’t want to be an expert.

    Anything beyond that is for experts.

     

    Hope this helps.

     

    Regards,

    Sharad

  9. Profile photo of Pardeep Goyal

    Sharad,

    Thanks for taking time to answer. I liked all the answers. 

    Loved your line – “For house cleaning, we pay roughly 20k per annum to maids. How much we spend on improving our finances?”

  10. Profile photo of Sharad Singh

    🙂

  11. Profile photo of Sharad Singh

    BTW, extremely sorry for mis-spelling your name above…. (unfortunately can’t edit it now…)

    Regards,

    Sharad

  12. Profile photo of govil

    Hi Sharad,

    Thanks for sharing all these valuable information. 

    Recently I came across websites like smartowner.com and propertyshare.in and they are related to discounted booking of property,fractional ownership of property. How’s the future of fractional ownership in India? and Do u advice an individual to invest in this? I would love to know in detail about this option and authenticity of these kind of websites.

    thank u and regards,

  13. Profile photo of Sharad Singh

    Hi Govil,

    Apologies for missing this post.

    Let me come back to you after inspecting the options you have mentioned.

    Regards,

    Sharad

  14. Profile photo of Sharad Singh

    Hi Govil,

    The concepts are interesting and I find there is a value. While smartowner passes on the benefit of bulk buying, property share enables you to benefit from property prices via fractional ownership of a specific property.

    SmartOwner

    1. You would definitely get better pricing via smartowner. Builders need chunk of money and they give hefty discounts to people buying in packs. So their offering is valid and makes sense. I know of a friend who bought a house with an offline group of people (not via any platform) and got significant discounts.
    2. If you are not making full payment, the property is not in your name. You might not get the home loan tax benefits (you can check details on this with them)

    The entire proposition looks good to me and I might look at it if I were to buy a property. There are limited properties as of now but they may cover more in future.

    Property Share

    If you are buying a fraction of a property, you are essentially aim to gain from the rise in property prices. I would consider the following:

    1. Mutual funds (equity funds) can give higher return than property over long term.
    2. Liquidy may be an issue with real estate. The return that might be shown on dashboard might change when I liquidate my fraction.
    3. For some one buying a fraction for lack of funds, tax and loan benefits might not accrue to him/her

    It can be an option for someone who wants to have some exposure to real estate as a part of his/her overall portfolio.

    Gradually as Indian economy grows, we may have a bigger segement of investors who would want exposure to property but might not be able to afford the full pie. Fractional ownership, might be beneficial for them.

    The comfort of their worthiness and safety of money is an individual’s take. Prima facie I don’t see any issues with the offerings.

    I hope the pointers above were helpful.

    Regards,
    Sharad

  15. Profile photo of govil

    Hi Sharad,

    Thank you for your valuable inputs. I’m thinking of investing through smartowner in Bangalore. And as the rates are lesser than market price,I was bit skeptical about the way they buy the property. Also if you know any one who has experience of buying the property in this way( through online portal),it will be of great help. Also as the company is new,i’m bit concerned about the authenticity.

    Thank u so much Sharad.

    Regards,

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