We all are familiar with Mahabharat characters like Karna, Arjun, etc. Each character has certain strengths, weaknesses and responses towards different stimuli.
We all have our funds pooled in various avenues of investments available to us. Is our behaviour towards investments similar to others? No. Depending on the individual attitude, goals and preferences, each one of us have our own tailor-made investment strategy.
Now, would you like to juxtapose investor behaviour vs Mahabharat characters? Then, let us understand “Mahabharat of Investing”.
Let us take 5 positive Mahabharat characters – Bhishma, Vidura, Dhritarashtra, Karna, Bhima or Arjun
You are the one who has taken a Bhishma Pratidnya- “ I will only invest in Real Estate” “I will not invest in Equity” “I will invest in FDs”. While each asset class has its pros and cons, a Bhishma who invests in FD would have to be watching like a lame duck during the Bull run in Equities or Gold. Just like Bhishma, who, due to his Pratidnya could never ascend the Throne of Hastinapur even upon the death of his step-brothers – Chitrangada or Vichitravirya or despite his grandsons Pandu and Dhritarashtra being disabled.
Investment Strategy for Bhishma
Bhishma had a boon- he could die when he wanted to-ichha mrityu. Hence, he created a situation where Lord Krishna rose to kill him, but he chose to die to an arrow shot by Arjun. In investment, the equivalent of iccha mrityu is “no exit load”. Even if you are in a FD, you should have easy exit and minimum exit penalty. If you are invested in Equities, those must be in stocks which are easy to liquidate and don’t suffer much loss even in a bear market.
You are the most intelligent and capable of advising most people. But when it comes to your own self, you develop cold feet. Either an inferiority complex or the supposed unavailability of requisite funds is preventing you from pursuing your own investment plans. Just like Vidura- who was the most wise and capable person, but could not take over the reins because he was born to a Servant-mother. Also, he could only helplessly watch when Draupadi was being disrobed!
Investment Strategy for Vidura
Vidura may not have much to invest but so what, start small – SIP of 1000/2000 but invest over long periods of time- 10/20 years, and keep on revising the SIP amounts as and when possible. Keep your unnecessary expenses in control so that you get more money to invest.
You are blindly attracted to the pomp and show of Relationship Managers from various high profile Banks –just as Dhritarashtra was blind towards his son, Duryodhana. Whether the RM of the Bank sells you an expensive but poor performing Insurance Product or a PMS which has average performance but gives him a huge commission, you would still blindly trust him, because he is employed by your Bank and hence could do no wrong.
Investment Strategy for Dhritarashtra
Dhritarashtra was not just blind but also obstinate. He hardly ever listened to Bhishma or Vidura in matters of Governance and kept on favoring Duryodhana even when he knew that Pandavas were superior. You should start asking questions to your favourite Bank RM or CA. Demand performance charts/regular reports from them to ensure that you are on the right track as regards your investments.
You are the most skilled and accomplished, but unlucky! You understand various assets like equities, gold, real estate and techniques like rupee cost averaging (SIP), value averaging (Flex STP), asset allocation etc. But always end up investing at the wrong time! You invested in Equities in 2008 at 21000 levels, thinking they would rise to 25000 and lost. You invested in Dynamic Bond Funds last year, hoping to cash in on the rally that would accompany lowering of interest rates by the RBI governor. However, instead of falling, the rates went up! Just like Karna, who had his Kavach Kundala stealthily being taken away by Lord Indra or Parshuram cursing him that he would be incapable of using his weapons when he needed them most!
Investment Strategy for Karna
As much as possible, keep patience- Karna may have invested at wrong times, but so what? Time cures most illnesses. Even if he is stuck in Equities where you invested in Jan 2008, look at them now, after 6 years-mostly you would have recovered your losses and even made some profit. However, if you are stuck in Sectoral Funds like Infrastructure or Power, you need to wait a little more!
You are extremely ambitious and demanding. When Equities give an average of 17-18% returns, you want 25%. While most FDs are giving 9%, you would want 11%. At times you may even have your way, but what could happen is that people would be scared to advise you and hence would suggest conservative products to you rather than optimal ones, fearing that a slippage on returns / risk could invite your wrath!
Investment Strategy for Bhima
Calm down Bhima. Introspect. What is the risk you are taking to get higher returns? Are you investing in a 12% Sahara FD when a HDFC FD of 9% would be better? Are you investing in a FMCG / Banking Fund when you should be investing in a Diversified Equity Fund?
You are the best because you always wanted to be the best. You understand most assets and also market timing. Most of the time you even make it big by hitting the bulls eye. Usually by investing in Equities when markets are at 8000 levels and then rise to 22000 or in Bond Funds when yields are at 9% and fall to 7%. Where you could get stuck is in the following chakravyuhas:
-You need to pay your next installment for your weekend / second home and need to withdraw money from your FD yielding 10% or from your MFs when the Sensex is at 8000 like in Oct 2008.
– You need to withdraw from the corpus meant for your child’s education to pay for your parent’s Hospital Bills
– You have just lost our job and have not planned for it and now the Bank authorities are at your doorstep to recover the car that you bought on Loan!
If you are stuck in a Chakravyuha, you end up being an Abhimanyu rather than Arjun!
Investment Strategy for Arjun
Even Arjun required a teacher like Dronacharya and a Sarathi like Lord Krishna to guide him to victory. Like Arjun, hire an advisor who would be your Sarathi in bad times as well as good. Let that Dronacharya advise you on where and how much to invest even when you are aware of most things. After all, it was Dronacharya who taught Arjun to be the best archer and pierce every Chakravyuha!
You may not purely be an Arjun or a Karna, but could be a combination of more than characters. The above article only depicts that for all attitudes and behaviours, there are specific investment strategies, thereby maximising returns and minimising risk.
Happy Mahabharat of Investing!!