The 7 Commandments of Investments
Being successful at your investments is not a numbers game. It is a mind game. Successful investing is a play of some basic things which can be practised and followed by anyone. Today, we bring these basic principles together in the form of 7 commandments of investments for our readers.
Asset Allocation is the key:
Studies have shown that asset allocation is the primary factor, the biggest determinant of how much returns your portfolio will generate. This is very simple to understand. For eg., if your equity portfolio is just, say 10% of your entire portfolio, inclusive of real estate, gold, bank deposits, insurance policies, etc., then it would not matter how well your equity portfolio performs. Having the right asset allocation is most important in the wealth creation journey over the long-term. And it begins by your understanding and having a proper look over your entire portfolio, not just that part which you can track daily.
Investing is simple but not easy:
Many investors often believe that to succeed and make money in the market, one has to be an expert, have inside information, try to best time the markets, predict what is going to happen tomorrow and so on. However, the most important fact to realise is that investing is very simple and based on some principles which do not need an expert to follow. Things like - being patient, starting early, saving regularly, following a right asset allocation, not making too many investment mistakes and staying invested for long or doing nothing are perhaps the most important factors for the success of your investment. Although these things are simple and easy to follow, in reality, they are not easy to follow at all.
Investing without goals is meaningless:
Often we invest without any goal or target. Most of our investment is also lying around without any purpose or target or any objective. On the other side, most of our traditional investments are kept aside for say retirement or marriage of daughter without ever planning or knowing the exact requirement for fulfilling those goals. Thus, most of us do not have goals and even if the goals are there in mind, they are rarely properly planned. Proper planning requires very little time or even expertise, however, it can prove to be very critical. Proper goal planning will ensure that your goals are never compromised and you fulfil them. Goal setting can be event specific and even general like wealth creation of say XX amount at YY date in future. Without goals, there is no direction and investments will be at the mercy of many different and less important things.
Investor behaviour is the reason for underperformance:
Many studies have shown the markets to deliver good returns but the investors are found to be under-performers by a great margin. The average market returns are always higher than the average investor returns. The gap between the two returns is attributed largely to investor behaviour. Investor behaviour, as per many studies, is found to be illogical and often based on emotion which is not good/wise for long-term investing decisions. An average investor typically buys when the markets are high, over-reacts to situations or short-term market events and sells when the markets are low. We are instantly reminded of the famous cycle of fear, greed and hope which follows every time.
A good financial advisor can contribution great value:
There is no doubt that a good advisor/ expert can deliver great value to your portfolio. An advisor's primary role is to manage investor's behaviour or emotions apart from everything else he does. An advisor will make sure that you do not sell or buy at the wrong time. This in itself has the potential to add great value to your portfolio. Further, an advisor is likely to suggest you the right, optimum asset allocation as per your needs, something most of us do not follow. Apart from these things, an advisor normally helps us to make our financial plan, save towards our goals, push us to save more, take proper insurance coverage, help ongoing management of the portfolio, operational support, and so on.
Equity is the best asset class in the long term:
From the past equity market experience, this is evident. Long term investment in equities will likely exceed returns from every other asset class. BSE Sensex returns since inception (1st April 2979) till today is nearly 15.8%. Just staying invested in the index would have multiplied your wealth by over 370 times in the past 40 years. However, there have been also many times that in one year the returns have been in negative 50-60%. The instances of negative returns steadily decrease as the duration increases and perhaps over say 10-15 years, the negative return instances (for investment at any point of time) is very rare to see.
Mutual funds are the ideal vehicle for investment:
One does expect you to perform like Warren Buffet who had the skills and the patience to identify and hold on to good businesses to become wealthy. Most of us do not have adequate time, resources, skills and information to go and find the winners. That is a full-time task of investment professionals. The next best thing for every one of us is to make use of the fund management team of mutual funds. Mutual funds, in essence, are vehicles for investment and the underlying can be any asset class or products. Mutual funds offer investors the widest choice of investment and many other advantages over traditional investments, including tax benefits and operational convenience and much greater transparency.