Comments n Critics

One word that can make you RICH

I am sure you are all dying to hear what is this word…..well the word is NO. Nahi chahiye. Nyet. Nein. Vendam. Nako. Nathi Jothu. Do not want…..
the single word is NO. When I was reading an article recently I saw an article with similar headlines…it was an article in Newsweek and it said ‘One word Can Save Your Life: No’.Make no mistake this article was written by a doctor. She was not trying to save on deductibles, she was not trying to save money….AND THEY WERE APPLYING it to THEIR LIVES.
I could not but nod my head in agreement.
Cut. Come to India. With so many financial planners, quasi financial planners, quacks, banks, life and general insurance companies, mutual funds, portfolio advisors, portfolio managers, etc. fairly obviously somebody would have got you!
It is also so difficult NOT TO SEE THE ADVANTAGES when confronted by a good salesman (hopefully trained by me!!). Who can deny the need for focus, asset allocation, pension plan, child plan, neighbour’s wife plan, own mother in hospital plan, funeral plan, broken dentures plan, cancer plan, kidney failure plan, tiger eating you on the highway plan, ….- given the right name, selling it to the retail ‘prospect’ seems like selling toothpaste.
If you have teeth, you have to buy toothpaste, right?
So if you have a child you need a child plan, if you have a body you should have a medical plan, if somebody you knew got cancer, you need a cancer plan. Like they say anybody with a forehead thinks he can plan, so be it! If you will retire you need a retirement plan. ….so on and so forth.
So you agree to a Wealth plan, a Child plan, a pension plan, a medical insurance plan, an endowment plan, a ULIP, and an income replacement plan. Then the next word ‘Asset allocation’…sir you need to be in equities, gold, land, bonds, bank fixed deposits, post office savings, ppf, blah blah blah. Of course you need a few credit cards too.
Then the other word ‘leveraging’. So you need a home loan, a car loan, a personal loan (taken to make the down payment of the house which you anyway cannot afford!), a travel or foreign tour plan, children’s education loan, OMG these guys are innovative are they not?
Then the dreaded word diversification again. Large cap fund, banking fund, pharma fund, gold fund, midcap fund, small cap fund, elss.
Now that you have said yes to all this — he says sir you need to be in different fund houses too — so a Hdfc, Prudential Icici, Reliance, ….and a few more fund houses as per the distribution targets of the ‘advisor’.
So now you have a fairly simple request converted to 4 pages of holdings, some as a SIP, some ULIPs, ….and the client is completely confused.
Frankly what does the customer need?
Well if he has the ability, need and willingness to invest in education he should look at a couple of well managed multi cap funds like Hdfc top 200, Hdfc equity fund, Pru I discovery, Franklin India Bluechip…one term plan, one credit card..or to make it even simpler an index fund.
And sir do not invest in a lumpsum — do a systematic investment plan, a systematic transfer plan, a trigger option, a variable investment plan, a weekly transfer, a monthly transfer plan……..another list of options!
Once he has the basics in place, he should learn the art of say NO. No to channels, magazines, websites, blogs, planners, …just keep it simple dude.
Read the article and you will be able to relate to the financial world what that article says about the Medical world.
PS: My doctor has kept me off medicines for the past 28 years. I love him. Not sure if I can say about all the doctors….I have a few friends, a few clients, a few readers of my blog, …..I just drew a parallel from a Newsweek article to our noble profession of advise!
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Comments n Critics

The Roadies contestant and the Balochistan connection

He must have known what to expect. The auditioning panel always dishes out unhealthy dose of humiliation. So he smiles, seemingly unflappable.
It’s been so long since I saw television that I’m stunned at the sight of a young man being insulted on national television. I’m squirming on behalf of this aspiring Roadies contestant, angry at the ‘judges’ who are calling him stupid to his face.
But the next minute, the young man loses my sympathy when he says that he agrees with the ‘Ayodhya verdict’, though he doesn’t know what the verdict is. He doesn’t know what the Ayodhya issue is. He thinks Ayodhya is where a ‘war’ happened and confuses it with the big one in Kurukshetra (which features in the Mahabharata). This strapping young man also doesn’t know who the president of India is, but assumes she is male.

By the time the video clip ends, the interview panel is falling about laughing. They are calling him ‘cute’. How else do we deal with the fact that young, school-educated, urban Indians don’t know a thing about themselves or the forces that are shaping their nation? They’re so ignorant, they’re like children.
And what does the unfortunate Roadies aspirant have to say for himself? “I don’t watch the news much.” Yeah, why find out about politics or history when you can watch Roadies on TV, or even better — be on TV!
I wouldn’t have cared about his refusal to read newspapers, or choosing to spend his life in the gym. But the thing is, he has a vote. Sooner or later, he will look around and notice that things aren’t okay. He will be angry and will want to fix things. But he will not know about Ayodhya. And because he doesn’t read the news, he will not know how, despite a high-profile investigation being underway, official documents that could have told us about the Gujarat government’s handling of the riots might have been destroyed. And so, he will not use his vote wisely.
There was another video doing the rounds on Facebook a few months ago. A BBC (Urdu) reporter goes about Lahore, in Pakistan, asking people what they knew about Balochistan. Most people didn’t know anything, not even the names of Baloch towns. But they say, ‘It’s part of our country’. Others excuse themselves saying, ‘I’m not interested in politics’.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? We know there’s trouble in Manipur and Kashmir. But not much about the people there. Try talking to people in Mumbai or Delhi about why things are so bad in Kashmir, and you inevitably hear: “It’s an integral part of India!”
But we don’t want to know why there are questions about this integrity of India. Why get into the details, eh? We are not interested in politics. And we don’t like to read newspapers. We watch Roadies; we go the gym. And if things get bad, heck, for the sake of our nation/religion, we will use our muscles.
Watching the Roadies audition reminded me of some young men, volunteers for the Bajrang Dal in Mumbai, who wanted a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. So I asked if they had read the Ramayana.
They hadn’t, and didn’t want to. They just wanted to take a train to Ayodhya and do whatever their leaders demanded. I also asked them if they had Muslim neighbours, friends, colleagues? The answer was: no.
A few months after this interview, Gujarat 2002 happened. I always wondered how young people become part of hate pogroms. Now I think I know. It comes from not knowing, not wanting to know.

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