Wise Wealth Advisors

D.Muthukrishnan (Muthu), Certified Financial Planner- Personal Financial Advisor

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Invest when you have money, redeem when you need money

Posted by Muthu on June 24, 2017

There is so much of confusion and discussion about whether markets would go higher or lower or stay flat from here.  I don’t know the answer. But so many experts have different answers; each according to how he sees it.

No one can get the answer correct. On each occasion, someone may get it right. But it would be different person on different occasions. No one consistently gets it right. Some people who have claimed to have seen 2008 crisis, was saying the same thing for very many years and one year they got it correct. Even the dead clock shows time correctly twice a day. If you keep saying regularly markets would correct by 20%, one day you would be proved correct. Likewise, if you keep saying regularly market would rise by 20%, one day you would be proved correct.

Market is an extremely complex mechanism. So many things affect it in the short term and it is very difficult to guess which way it will go. In the long run, only earnings and its growth impact a stock price.

The solution is owning an index or diversified equity funds or a portfolio of high quality companies for long run. Owning an index or diversified equity funds is a more passive activity and one has to be relatively more active in holding a portfolio of stocks.

Index has not been a great indicator of broader market movements in India. Index has given sub-optimal returns over last one decade whereas actively managed funds have delivered a better performance. So indexing is still some time away. As long as one avoids thematic and sectoral funds and invests in well diversified equity funds, there is no need to worry about timing.

Most of you are saving and investing for retirement. Retirement is usually spread over couple of decades. It is not a one time activity. Goals, which happens at a particular point of time, like daughter’s marriage need planning in advance in terms of withdrawal. Daughter’s higher education, which is usually spread over few years, also needs planning in advance for phased withdrawals.

Goals like retirement or building wealth which is spread over decades and even multiple generations needs no timing. It is better to be in equity over the accumulation phase. In distribution or retirement phase, one can have a mix of debt and equity. People who have built great wealth have done it through holding equities for decades without worrying about volatility. ‘Buy & Hold’ works well in a basket of stocks like index or diversified equity funds.

We always tend to extrapolate the present into future. In the beginning of 2016, when there was a bear market, experts were predicting further fall. But markets went up a lot post budget. Likewise when markets corrected during demonetisation, greater bear market and recession was predicted. But we’ve been in a bull market post demonetisation. Now everyone is predicting further heights. It may still rise or correct; we would only know in hindsight.

The markets are always volatile and would continue to be so. Every year, you can look forward to, may be two 10% corrections. One bear market (fall of above 20%) every few years is most likely to happen. This is how it has always been.

In a country like India, whose economy and corporates is expected to grow well over next one or two decades, stock market would also keep growing; but not without going through periodic cycles. If it takes 2 or 3 steps forward, you can definitely expect one step backward. It’s movement is going to be only like this. But every cycle would see new highs. But don’t look to time it. I cannot do it for you. Be skeptical about people who claim they can do it.

Once you invest in equity, simply stay the course.

But for few exceptions, the general rule is invest when you have money and redeem when you need money, ensuring at least there is a 10 year time period in between.

Posted in Stock Market, Wealth | Leave a Comment »

$1000 to $2 Million

Posted by Muthu on June 11, 2017

I always keep telling you not to time the market. Hopping in and out of the market leads only to wealth destruction or sub-optimal returns. Country like India is in a structural bull market. In the long run, markets only keep going up, with occasional corrections and bear markets. If you can stay the course, ignoring the pains of corrections and bear markets, you would definitely get rich. Accepting volatility is the price you pay for obtaining excellent returns.

We always emphasise that equities need to be held for multi-decades and even multi-generations. Considering that one has a career span of 3 decades and post retirement life of another 2 or 3 decades; we need to learn to hold equities for many decades. Since a part of our wealth goes to next generation, we also need to learn to hold it for multi-generations. Great wealth is made only this way.

If you can change your mindset towards equity and be a ‘buy & hold’ investor, financial independence and significant wealth is definitely yours.

I keep sharing data and real life examples to reinforce the need to hold equities for long run without timing the market.

I was reading this article.

Russ Gremel of Chicago is 98 years old. Due to his love for nature, he is donating $2 million to establish a 400 acre wild life refuge, which is also being named after him.

Seventy years ago, when he was in his twenties, he saw Chicago based Walgreens, apharmacy chain, growing well. He invested $1000 in the stock of Walgreens. He held it through bull and bear markets, recessions and booms, good and bad news and various business cycles. He was just monitoring the company, without selling a single share. Though it is not mentioned, he might have received excellent dividends over all these years. No one in his neighbourhood was aware that he is a rich man.

Now that $1000 has become $2 million. Power of buying right and sitting tight.

Whether it is stocks or equity funds, staying the course for long run is the way to create huge wealth even with relatively modest investments. Churning should be very minimal. Chasing performance and timing the market invariably brings only wealth destruction.

Our biggest value addition as an advisor is making you stay the course. Example such as Russ Gremel is to provide you positive reinforcement.

Wishing you a great week ahead.

Posted in Stock Market, Wealth | 3 Comments »

Simply ignore

Posted by Muthu on May 29, 2017

You would have recently seen an advertisement of Reliance Growth Fund multiplying money by 100 times over last 22 years. Reliance Growth is only an example. There are many good funds which have multiplied money between 40 to 100 times over last two decades.

Who would have got this kind of returns? It’s only someone who stayed the course without break, not worrying about corrections and bear markets, not feeling uneasy during roaring bull markets and not hopping in and out of the markets trying to time the tops and bottoms.

We’ve written many times in the past that investor returns and investment returns do not match due to the behaviour gap; trying to time the entry and exit and chasing performance by constant churning. I observe that not only investors but financial advisors too prone to this kind of behaviour. It’s only human to be so but the end result is that their clients do not get the benefit of staying the course.

In our case, over the years, we’ve shaped our behaviour and constantly keep nudging our clients towards right behaviour. Great wealth is built over long term only by completely shutting oneself from daily noise, in the form of various opinions and suggestions peddled by business channels and newspapers. I do watch business channels and read business papers; because they also provide certain useful stuff and is also entertaining. But I don’t let them affect my investment strategy. Since for many, it may be difficult not to be influenced by constant stream of ‘expert’ opinions, it is better to avoid them.

Corrections are way of life in the markets. Usually a fall of 10% or more is considered as correction. Markets normally go through at least one correction every year. If the fall is more than 20%, then it is called a bear market. I’ve read that less than one out of five corrections turn into bear market. Bear market usually happen at least once in 3 to 5 years. There are more positive years than negative years in the markets. But even in positive years, there would be intra year correction. Corrections and bear markets may or may not have reasons. Even when there are reasons, usually it is different one each time.

Though the reason for bear market may vary each time, economy and businesses always find a way to move on. That’s why bear markets are always followed by bull markets. This holds 100% true for countries like India which are in structural long term growth. Also bull markets can happen even when fundamentals are not good. This is because markets always keep trying to discount the future and not necessarily reflect the present.

The crux is that markets would continue to keep making new highs with periodical corrections and gut wrenching bear markets in between. We are optimistic that our economy and businesses would do very well over next one decade. What you need to do is to simply ignore all kind of noise and just stay the course. Do not get scared by bear markets or become uneasy by bull markets. Always remember the pendulum keeps swinging between optimism and pessimism and is rarely in equilibrium. This is the way to wealth.

Posted in General, Muthu's Musings | 1 Comment »

Gold: Interesting facts

Posted by Muthu on April 29, 2017

Just thought of sharing some interesting facts about gold today.

There is roughly 7000 years (beginning of civilization) of history of gold.

We all seek permanency and gold comes near to that.

Gold does not get corroded or rusted. It is not soluble in any acid. It is very difficult to demolish.

Most of the gold digged from time immemorial is still in circulation.

So we may even be using the some of the gold (recycled) that was used in the times of Rama, Krishna, Buddha and Jesus.

It is very soft that you can beat the gold down so thin that sunrays can shine through it.

The quantity of steel poured in an hour in our planet is more than what has been poured for gold since the civilization. That is how limited the availability of the gold is.

It is estimated that total gold available (in circulation and storage) in the world is 1,65,000 tonnes.

1 tonne is 1000 Kgs. At Rs.3000/- a gram, the cost of 1kg of gold is Rs.30 lakhs. So 1 tonne of gold is worth Rs.300 crore.

Indians privately own anywhere between 15,000 to 20,000 tonnes of gold. Even pegging it at 15,000 tonnes, the value comes above Rs.45 lakhs crore.

Since I cannot not talk about equity, the entire fund management industry in the country only manages Rs.6 lakh crore worth of equity assets.

Indian government owns only around 550 tonnes of gold.

No one knows how much gold the Indian temples have.

Tirupathi is estimated to have gold worth Rs.90,000 crores. Around 4000 kgs of gold is offered annually by his devotees to Lord Balaji. Interestingly as per legend, Balaji borrowed from Kubera 1.14 crore coins of gold for his marriage. Marriages have always been expensive in this country. By any standard, Balaji’s wedding with Padmavathi is the most expensive marriage that has ever happened so far in our world.

Till few years ago, we never knew Lord Padmanabha is so rich. Is that why he is very relaxed (ananda sayanam)? The very conservative estimate suggests that the value of gold in his abode is around Rs.4 lakh crore.

Reading various estimates and guesstimates looks like we (including deities) may have even 30,000+ tonnes of gold in our country. So we own around 20% of the entire gold in the world.

This means at today’s price, we have Rs.90 lakh crore worth of gold. India can be amazingly rich and poor at the same time.

Since gold is so malleable, just one gram of gold can be beaten into a sheet of one square metre.

The entire gold available in the world today can easily fit within a cube measuring 67 feet. Just one good shipping container would do. Golden Voyage!

75% of the gold available today has been extracted only after 1910.

The U.S.government (Fed Reserve + FortKnox) has close to 10,000 tonnes of gold.

During great depression, in 1933, U.S. government banned private holding of gold. People were ordered to handover the gold they have and were provided instead with dollars of equivalent value. Once the process was over, the government devalued the currency by over 40% eroding people’s wealth overnight. This coupled with high inflation was an extremely tough time for its citizens.

This ban was subsequently lifted only in 1975 and Americans were again allowed to own gold.

Since China has lot of dollar or dollar denominated assets; they understand the above risk better than anybody else. Chinese people were not allowed to own gold for more than 40 years and possessing gold was a severely punishable offence. Sometime during last decade this ban was removed and China has been encouraging its citizens to buy gold and silver.

Talking about silver, Buffett who rarely touches commodity, purchased 37% of the entire silver available in the world (yes, you read it right) in late nineties and sold it some time in the middle of the last decade. I think that considering the growing industrial demand and limited supply then, he saw value in purchasing the same and selling it at a very good profit. Silver was selling at abysmally low prices during the time of his purchase.

Every year, the new gold produced / recycled is consumed 50% as jewellery, 40% for investments (including ETFs) and 10% for industry. I was under the impression gold has no industrial use whatsoever till one of our client told me that electronics industry uses gold.

Though South Africa has been one of the world’s largest producers of gold, its citizens were not allowed to own gold till 2009.

For sports fan, do you know that Olympic gold medal is not made of gold! A ‘gold’ medal contains only 6 grams of gold. Only till 1912 Olympics, the gold medals were actually made of gold.

In 1991, our country’s situation was so bad that 65 tonnes of gold was taken out of the country  and mortgaged to tide over external payment crisis.

If you are worried that gold’s supply would get exhausted soon, fear not!

About 10 billion tonnes – 10,000 million tonnes (yes, you read it right) of gold is estimated to be held in the oceans of the world. An economically viable model of extraction is being explored.

Necessity is the mother of invention. If gold prices continue to rise and if the demand would only increase, who knows, a technological innovation can happen in extracting gold from ocean.

May be we can all then plan for building our own golden homes. Midas would be a happy man.

Posted in Gold | 8 Comments »

Don’t fear

Posted by Muthu on April 25, 2017

The title of this piece should have normally come during corrections or bear markets.

Why I’m saying this when the indices are rising?

This is for those of us who may fear when market makes new highs.

First understand that 29,000 or 30,000 is only a mere number to measure the journey of Sensex.  Thirty eight years ago, it started at 100 and has multiplied 300 times over 4 decades.

At 100 or 1000, investors then would have had difficulty in imagining a level of 30,000. Now we may find 100,000 unimaginable. Sensex would touch this and much more in the course of its journey.  None of us know when.

All we know is that it would continue to keep going up in line with earnings with occasional corrections and gut wrenching bear markets.

To quote Nick Murray, declines are temporary and uptrend is permanent.

From the time it started, Sensex has made innumerable ‘new highs’ and ‘all time highs’. So there is no need to fear these terms. These are very common words in markets, more so in bull markets.

Also no need to keep anchoring to Sensex levels. There are broader markets, small cap, mid cap, sectoral indices and so on.

Sensex might have delivered hardly around 4% to 5% during last 10 years. But so many good mutual funds have delivered double digit returns. Many of you who are our clients for last 9 or 10 years can vouch for this. The return we get is based on the results of the companies we own, either directly or through mutual funds. Sensex return has nothing to do with the same. Sensex is still at the same level it was around 2 years ago. But your portfolio has delivered decent returns during the same period.

So stop anchoring to Sensex. It is only a very broad indicator. Many a times it has got nothing to do with your portfolio performance. So as much as you ignore bear markets, learn to ignore bull markets as well.

I’ve no ability to time the market. I don’t believe anyone else has the ability though many claim so. To me, you may buy when you have money and you may sell when you need money; at least holding for a period of 10 years in between. A bull or bear market can last for many years. There is no timeline for the same. Even in a long term bull market, it would be a roller coaster ride. Bear markets can happen suddenly as it happened early last year, only to be followed by a bull market subsequently.

Visualise a continuous uptrend in line with earnings over a long period of time (10 years+), with many rise and fall in between. This is the nature of journey and this is how wealth is made.

You’ve often heard me asking you not to fear bear markets.

The same holds good for bull markets as well.

Don’t  fear.

Posted in Stock Market, Wealth | Leave a Comment »