Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The Sky Gets Dark Slowly

 Zhou Daxin’s latest novel, “The Sky Gets Dark Slowly”. It is a sensitive exploration of old age and the complex, hidden emotional worlds of the elderly in a rapidly ageing population.

In it he writes, “…Many elderly speak as though they know everything, but of old age they are in fact as ignorant as children. Many elderly are in fact, completely unprepared for what they are to face when it comes to getting old and the road that lay ahead of them.

“In the time between a person turning 60 years old, as they begin to age, right until all the lights go out and the sky gets dark, there are some situations to keep in mind, so that you will be prepared for what is to come, and you will not panic.

ONE. The people by your side will only continue to grow smaller in number. People in your parents’ and grandmothers’ generation have largely all left, whilst many of your peers will increasingly find it harder to look after themselves, and the younger generations will all be busy with their own lives. Even your wife or husband may depart earlier than you, or that you would expect, and what might then come are days of emptiness. You will have to learn how to live alone, and to enjoy and embrace solitude.

TWO. Society will care less and less for you. No matter how glorious your previous career was or how famous you were, ageing will always transform you into a regular old man and old lady. The spotlight no longer shines on you, and you have to learn to contend with standing quietly in one corner, to appreciate the hubbub and views that come after you, and you must overcome the urge to be envious or grumble.

THREE. The road ahead will be rocky and full of precarity. Fractures, cardio-vascular blockages, brain atrophy, cancer…these are all possible guests that could pay you a visit any time, and you would not be able to turn them away. You will have to live with illness and ailments, to view them as friends, even; do not fantasize about stable, quiet days without any trouble in your body. Maintaining a positive mentality and getting appropriate, adequate exercise is your duty, and you have to encourage yourself to keep at it consistently. 

FOUR. Prepare for bed-bound life, a return to the infant state. Our mothers brought us into this world on a bed, and after a journey of twists and turns and a life of struggle, we return to our starting point – the bed –and to the state of having to be looked after by others. The only difference being, where we once had our mothers to care for us, when we prepare to leave, we may not have our kin to look after us. Even if we have kin, their care may  never be close to that of your mother’s; you will more likely than not, be cared for by nursing staff who bear zero relation to you, wearing smiles on their face all whilst carrying weariness and boredom in their hearts. Lay still and don’t be difficult; remember to be grateful.

FIVE. There will be many swindlers and scammers along the way. Many of them know that the elderly have lots of savings, and will endlessly be thinking of ways to cheat them of their money through scam phone calls, text messages, mail, food and product samples, get-rich-quick schemes, products for longevity or enlightenment… basically, all they want is to get all the money. Beware, and be careful, hold your money close to you. A fool and his money are soon parted, so spend your pennies wisely.

Before the sky gets dark, the last stretches of life’s journey will gradually get dimmer and dimmer, naturally it will be harder to see the path ahead that you are treading towards, and it will be harder to keep going forward. As such, upon turning 60, it would do us all well to see life for what it is, to cherish what we have, to enjoy  life whilst we can, and to not take on society’s troubles or your children’s and grandchildren’s affairs for yourself. Stay humble, don’t act superior on account of your own age and talk down to others – this will hurt yourself as much as it will hurt others. As we get older, all the better should we be able to understand what respect is and what it counts for. In these later days of your lives, you have to understand what it means, to let go of your attachments, to mentally prepare yourself. The way of nature is the way of life; go with its flow, and live with equanimity.

For all of us, a nice read, very beautiful, very true!

Hardly the day started and … it is already six o’clock in the evening.

Barely arrived on Monday and it’s already Friday.

… and the month is almost over.

… and the year is almost up.

… and already 50 or 60 or 70 years of our lives have passed.

… and we realize that it is too late to go back…

So…Let’s try to take full advantage of the time we have left …

Let’s not stop looking for activities that we like…

Let’s put color in our grayness…

Let’s smile at the little things in life that put balm in our hearts.

And yet, we must continue to enjoy serenely the time that remains.

Let’s try to eliminate the ‘after’…

I do it after…

I will say after…

I will think about it after…

We leave everything for ‘later’ as if ‘after’ was ours.

Because what we do not understand is that:

after, the coffee cools…

after, priorities change…

after, the charm is broken…

after, health passes…

after, the children grow up…

after, the parents get older…

after, the promises are forgotten…

after, the day becomes the night…

after, life ends…

And all that ‘after’, we find it’s often too late…

So… leave nothing for ‘later’…

Because in always waiting for later, we can lose the best moments,

the best experiences,

the best friends,

the best family…

The day is today…The moment is now…

We are no longer at the age where we can afford to postpone until tomorrow what needs to be done right away.

So let’s see if you’ll have time to read this message and then share it.

Or maybe you’ll leave it for…’later’…

And you will not share it “ever’ ’’

Even share with those who are not yet ‘seniors’.

May you be well and happy…

 

Is the end of the charge of the bull brigade round the corner? 

"never time the market" - is it then time to ease up on fresh investments? 

wait and watch is the policy ahead.

patience pays.

#joyofinvesting

 #thejoyofInvestmemts

#blueskypremiere
#thejoyofinvesting
21 Pearls of financial wisdom

1) Bonds are for storing wealth and equities are for creation of wealth.

 2) In my opinion, the biggest asset one can have is zero debt. 

3) The greatest discipline in personal finance is living below your means.

 4) As Ben Carlson says, emotions cannot be back tested. That’s why past bear market always looks like opportunities and future ones scary. 

5) Early financial independence and early retirement are completely different. To me, the former is a blessing and the latter is a curse.

6) Don’t think how it would have been if you’ve started 10 years ago. Start today and visualise how you would feel 10 years from now. 

7) The neighbourhood we live determines our life style & spending. Need to be careful in choosing one which matches our goals and personality.

8) Paying minimum balance regularly on credit card is the maximum sign that you’re getting into debt trap.

9) Many are long term investors till next bear market. 

 10) Don’t take aggressive bets. Take measured risk. Remember one blunder can push you back by a decade or more in terms of wealth. 

 11) Big money can be made through high savings, wise investing and lots of patience. 

12) Trying to get rich fast is a foolproof way to lose what we have.

 13) Losing opportunities is far better than losing money. Don’t invest in fads. 

14) “Making as much money as quickly as possible” is not an investment strategy. Unfortunately for most of us that is the strategy.

 15) Aggressive strategy cannot be a substitute for high savings. Save high and take moderate risk than saving less and taking high risk. 

 16) The day we realise not losing is as important as winning; we would stop blindly chasing returns. 

 17) Good periods are more than bad periods. By not timing, though we go through bad periods, do not miss even a single good period. 

 18) We’ll stop looking for quick money the moment we consider stocks as businesses and realise that our wealth grows in line with business growth.

19) There are periods of high returns, low returns, no returns and negative returns. We need to go through all these to get long term returns.

20) Listening to market forecasts is not only useless but can be very harmful too; if you start acting on them.

21) The hard truth is only around 3% of our population are in a position to aspire for financial independence. Don’t waste this rare privilege.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Sharing!

 http://avayshukla.blogspot.com/2021/02/the-fine-art-of-losing-friends.html

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

 There are some interesting company names that would be nice to see know more about - as they have weathered the storms quite well apparently....just sharing..

Divi's Laboratories

VST Tillers Tractors

GAIL (India)

Syngene International

Hawkins Cookers

Godrej Consumer Products

Eicher Motors

Maruti Suzuki India

HDFC

Power Grid Corporation of India

PI Industries

Larsen & Toubro

ITC 

Please speak to your advisor before actually investing. 

And some of these companies have probably outlived its time! have they?....

Jamna Auto

Orient Refractories

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Pearls...natural or cultured !

 #thejoyofInvestmemts

#blueskypremiere
#thejoyofinvesting
21 Pearls of financial wisdom

1) Bonds are for storing wealth and equities are for creation of wealth.

 2) In my opinion, the biggest asset one can have is zero debt. 

3) The greatest discipline in personal finance is living below your means.

 4) As Ben Carlson says, emotions cannot be back tested. That’s why past bear market always looks like opportunities and future ones scary. 

5) Early financial independence and early retirement are completely different. To me, the former is a blessing and the latter is a curse.

6) Don’t think how it would have been if you’ve started 10 years ago. Start today and visualise how you would feel 10 years from now. 

7) The neighbourhood we live determines our life style & spending. Need to be careful in choosing one which matches our goals and personality.

8) Paying minimum balance regularly on credit card is the maximum sign that you’re getting into debt trap.

9) Many are long term investors till next bear market. 

 10) Don’t take aggressive bets. Take measured risk. Remember one blunder can push you back by a decade or more in terms of wealth. 

 11) Big money can be made through high savings, wise investing and lots of patience. 

12) Trying to get rich fast is a foolproof way to lose what we have.

 13) Losing opportunities is far better than losing money. Don’t invest in fads. 

14) “Making as much money as quickly as possible” is not an investment strategy. Unfortunately for most of us that is the strategy.

 15) Aggressive strategy cannot be a substitute for high savings. Save high and take moderate risk than saving less and taking high risk. 

 16) The day we realise not losing is as important as winning; we would stop blindly chasing returns. 

 17) Good periods are more than bad periods. By not timing, though we go through bad periods, do not miss even a single good period. 

 18) We’ll stop looking for quick money the moment we consider stocks as businesses and realise that our wealth grows in line with business growth.

19) There are periods of high returns, low returns, no returns and negative returns. We need to go through all these to get long term returns.

20) Listening to market forecasts is not only useless but can be very harmful too; if you start acting on them.

21) The hard truth is only around 3% of our population are in a position to aspire for financial independence. Don’t waste this rare privilege.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

ETF or Index Funds?

Courtesy : Advisorkhoj


Passive Investing: Should you invest in ETFs or Index Funds

Courtesy: Advisor Khoj

Dwaipayan Bose  |  |

Passive investing i.e. investing through ETFs or index funds is very popular in the developed economies. Passive mutual fundswere launched in the 1970s, but their popularity soared globally after the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. As on March 2020, global assets under management (AUM) in passive mutual funds crossed $5 trillion (source: S&P Dow Jones Indices). In the US, which accounts for 68% of global passive funds AUM (as on March 2020), passive AUM topped actively managed AUM in August 2019 (source: Bloomberg).

Passive investing in India

In India actively managed mutual funds still rule the roost, but there seems to be growing interest in passive investing in recent years. 10 years total passive AUM in India was less than $1 billon. 5 years back it was $2 billion and now it is $24 billion (as on December 2019) – growing at CAGR of nearly 65% over the past 5 years (source: etfgi.com). Though AUM of passive funds (ETFs, index funds) have clocked dramatic growth rates in recent years, in terms of share of overall assets, passive funds account for only 7.5% of the mutual fund industry AUM as on December 2019 (source: etfgi.com), which is substantially lower compared to developed markets.

In our view, there seems to be a lack of awareness and clarity about passive funds in India. In this article, we will discuss about passive funds and how to invest in these funds.

What are passive funds?

Passive mutual fundsto invest in a basket of stocks which replicate a market index e.g. Sensex, Nifty, etc. Weights of stocks in a passive fund mirror the weights of the constituents in a market index. Unlike actively managed mutual funds, the fund manager of a passive mutual fund does not aim to beat the market. The fund manager simply aims to give index returns to investors and reduce tracking error. Tracking error is deviation of fund returns from the index returns.

Benefits of passive funds

Low cost: Expense ratios (TER) of passive funds are much lower than actively managed funds. For the similar underlying fund portfolio performance, passive mutual fundswill provide higher returns to investors compared to active funds. Let us try to understand the impact of cost on returns with the help of an example. Let us assume that TER of an active fund is 2.25%, while that of a passive fund with the same benchmark index is 1.1%. This means the manager of the active fund has to beat the benchmark index by 1.15% (alpha) just to match the performance of the passive funds.

No unsystematic risk: In order to beat the index (create alpha), the fund manager will have to be overweight or underweight on certain stocks in the index. This will result in unsystematic i.e. stock or sector specific risks in addition to market risk. Sometimes the fund manager’s strategy may pay off and the fund will beat the benchmark, but sometimes, it may not pay off and the fund will underperform the benchmark.There is no unsystematic risk in passive mutual funds. Passive mutual fundsonly have market risks and you will get market returns subject to tracking error.

Underperformers have lower weights: Market benchmark index constituents are usually weighted based on their market cap. Higher the market cap of a stock, higher will be its weight in the index. This method of index construction automatically gives higher weights to outperformers and lower weights to underperformers. By extension, passive funds which track the index will also have weights for outperformers and lower weights for underperformers.

Simpler investment: In passive funds you do not have to check the performance track record of the fund manager across different market conditions, how long has he / she been managing the fund, understand his / her stock selection strategyetc. You simply have to decide which market index you want to invest in and then select a fund which has low cost and tracking error. Often higher cost is the source of higher tracking error. So if the cost of a passive fund is low, then the tracking error is likely to be low.

Types of passive funds

There are two types of passive funds – Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and Index Funds. In terms of investment objectives ETFs and index funds are exactly the same. Both aim to track / replicate a specific market index. Often investors and financial advisors use the terms ETFs and index funds interchangeably. However, there are important differences between the two which investors must understand.

Difference between ETFs and Index Funds

How to decide between ETFs and Index Funds?

We have discussed key differences between ETFs and Index Funds in the previous section. Many online blogs on this topic suggest that if you have a demat account or are willing to open a demat account then you should invest in ETFs. Otherwise, go for Index Funds. In our view, the differences run deeper than simply having dematted accounts. Here are some factors you should consider when deciding between the two.

Cost: Cost of ETFs including the transaction costs like brokerage, STT, GST, stamp duty etc. are lower than Index Funds. Purely from a cost viewpoint, ETFs have an advantage over Index Funds.

Liquidity: This is a very important consideration because unless you are redeeming in lot sizes, you can sell ETF units only in the stock exchange. In other words, you need to find a buyer, if you want to sell your ETFs. Some ETFs are quite liquid, while others may not be liquid. You have to look at average daily trading volumes of your ETF to get a sense of its liquidity. Liquidity also depends on market conditions. This may require some investment experience. Liquidity is not an issue with index funds because you can redeem with the AMC.

Experience: If you have investment experience in the stock market buying and selling stocks, then investing in ETFs will be easier for you because ETFs are very similar to stocks. You should know what price to buy, sell, look at trading volumes and know what to do with dividends. Index funds, on the other hand, are mutual funds. As such, they have all the advantages that are associated with mutual funds e.g. convenience, flexibility, investing through SIP / STP etc.

Conclusion

Passive investments are becoming popular all over the world, including India. In the coming years, you will hear more and more about passive investments. In this blog post, we discussed about passive funds, their benefits and different types of passive funds. We also discussed about key differences between ETFs and Index Funds, and how you can go about deciding between the two. While cost is always an important factor, you should also give some thought to liquidity and your own investment experience when deciding what to select between ETFs and Index Funds. As always, if required, you should consult with your financial advisor and make informed investment decisions.


Mutual Fund Investments are subject to market risk, read all scheme related documents carefully.