Think of your deepest, most improbable desire. In your heart of hearts, what is it that you want to have in life? Is it a beautiful bungalow in a posh locality? Is it that flashy car you saw in the latest movie? Or is it to retire at 40 and follow your passion?
In fancy lingo, these are called BHAGs – Big Hairy Audacious Goals. These goals are often your heart’s wishes, but get consigned by your brain to the ‘improbable’ bucket, forever to be ignored. And without one eye on these BHAGs, you end up with a mid-sized flat in a somewhat good locality, a half-decent car, your kids in an average school and perennially compromising your dreams in favour of a running cash flow.
But what, if I tell you that you don’t need to live like this? That the key to unlock your goals is sheer common-sense?
“I will tell you how to become rich. Close the doors. Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful.” – Warren Buffett
Investments: The Key to Your Financial Goals!
Investment is actually a concept with wonderful implication. Have you ever heard of the Power of Compounding? Knowing (and mastering) this simple concept can help you achieve your dreams and goals. Unfortunately, somewhere down the line, the word ‘investing’ started being correlated with ‘boring’ and ‘complicated’. But when you keep the ultimate objective of investing in mind, you will realise that it is actually exciting and very simple. Here’s a quick factsheet about investing.
- Where Can I Invest: There are multiple avenues, where you can park your money. You can keep your surplus money wherever you wish to. In the cupboard, a savings account, a term deposit, mutual funds, insurance schemes, stocks, bonds etc. The most important thing is to pick the right investment vehicle that suits you.
- Where Should I Invest: There are several factors, which define, where you should invest your money. The factors like your appetite for risk, your expected returns, the larger economic scenario, the age and stage of life you are at, your expectations as to when money will be required etc. are the deciding factors. For example, if you want high returns from your investment and you are not too concerned about the risks, even if the markets are undervalued, you can consider putting your money into the stock market.
- Churn Your Portfolio: Your portfolio is the summary of your total investments. As the external factors, mentioned above, change, it is important to churn your portfolio. For instance, if you realise that the investing climate is unsuitable, you may want to put a larger portion of your portfolio into safer avenues such as bonds, term deposits etc.
- Diversify your Portfolio: This often used, complicated-sounding word is actually a simple concept. Diversification means that you invest your money in multiple avenues mentioned in point 1. This ensures that if one of your vehicles breaks down, you still have another to fall back on. It also ensures that your innings is not just comprised of ones and twos, but is peppered with fours and sixes.
- Have Discipline: Investing systematically is important to make it a habit. This means that you should put aside a portion of your monthly earnings and invest those. Investments should be done regularly so that it becomes a habit and not a one-off event.
- Track your Investments: Most importantly, you must track the performance of your portfolio at regular intervals to ensure that nothing untoward happens to it. You should think of it as a living being that needs to be taken care of and nurtured, for it to grow.
How Do I Start?
This question about investing perhaps deserves a section by itself.
The literature available on investing on the internet can be quite overwhelming. At first, it is very important to find a trusted advisor who can help you arrive at the answers to all the investment related queries you are having. The advisor must be financially savvy enough to take you through all the options available, the risks involved and the returns that you can expect.
Once you have found a few investment avenues suitable to you; start small. Invest 10-20% of your monthly earnings in these avenues. All kinds of tracking tools are available, but you can use the humble Excel sheet to maintain your records. If you often notice that you run out of money in the last week of the month, use that weekend to update and take stock of your investments. If you are dis-satisfied, do a little research on how you can revise your investment strategy. If you are satisfied, then sit back and bask in the knowledge that you are fast approaching your improbable BHAGs!
Always remember, ‘don’t save what’s left after spending, spend what is left after saving’. Keep your life-goals on the fore-front and you will realise how engaging and exciting investing can be!
To check out a wonderful short-film about investing, watch this video:
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