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

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Wisely Speaking – 6

Posted by Muthu on June 8, 2012

I wrote in an earlier piece about an imaginary portal www.grandfatherdialogues.com. I thought that piece was funny. More funny is that there of lot of clicks from our portal for this non existent website. 

Last week two cover stories with my inputs got published in both ‘Nanayam Vikatan’ and ‘Gokulam Kadhir’. One was ‘How to cope up with rising prices’ and the other one was ‘How to live the life without borrowing’. I hear from the magazines that both have evoked a good response from readers. 

Some of my friends spoke to me about Aamir Khan’s program on medical profession last week. I’ve not watched any of his episodes yet. I watch TV very less these days. I’m sick of breaking news 🙂 

In my experience and opinion, the bad ones in the medical profession far outweigh the good ones. Corporate hospitals charge to the point of loot. I developed tooth pain last year. I went a corporate chain and after checking me, I was told that there are four wisdom tooth plus 2 decayed tooth which needs to be removed surgically. The estimate was Rs.70,000/- and I was told it needs to be done urgently and I cannot afford even a day’s delay. I was somehow not comfortable both with the diagnosis and the estimate.

The next day morning I got a call from the hospital as to what time I’m coming on that day and the Doctor is kind enough to allocate time for me immediately. I told her that I need some time to think. She said that Doctor has said that I’m delaying at my own peril. I slightly panicked and was also amused as to why the hospital is doing follow-up calls. I could not decide anything on that day. The next day also the call came from the same lady and she tried her best to create panic in me so that I would rush there immediately. 

I immediately went and meet my GP. He was equally amused by the update I gave him. He suggested another Dentist who is having clinic near by and has been practicing for last 30 years. I went to him and told the whole story again. He asked me to take a digital X-ray and come and see him. After seeing the same, he told me that there is only one wisdom tooth that needs to be removed, other wisdom teeth are not creating any problem now and only if it creates some in future, then we need to consider extraction. Since the tooth which has to be removed is in a twisted shape and deep inside, he suggested surgical extraction. I went for it. The consultation, surgical extraction and the follow up review; all put together cost me Rs.2300/- only.  I not only saved good amount of money but other teeth as well.

This clinic cannot be compared with infrastructure that of the corporate chain. There was a 5 star lobby, plasma TVs everywhere, extremely comfortable sofas which would lull you to sleep, beautiful front office ladies with a combination of looks of peacock and voice of Cuckoo, a security to open and close not only the main door but even your car door and above all the Doctor suggested that well placed (?!) people like me should not use ordinary tooth brush and suggested a electrical tooth brush costing Rs.8000/-. There was a small screen on his table, which showed a video of how to use the electrical tooth brush and it is benefits. He did not forget to add that it would be better to buy the same in their pharmacy as there are duplicates else where! I’m comfortable with Oral-B toothbrush for decades and have no intention of going electric:-)

My father developed a small wound like lump in his leg. My father being a diabetic, I took him to a Podiatrician again in a popular diabetic chain. He suggested a surgery on the same day. We did it. Then he asked us to come every 15 days and used to scrap the part and send his assistant to our home every alternate day for dressing. As the wound is about to heal, he would again scrap and send his assistant home. This cycle was kept on repeating regularly which cost both lot of pain, strain and money. This Doctor sent another guy to our home and insisted that we make special slippers. He warned that otherwise my dad’s leg needs to be amputated. So two special slippers was made at the cost of Rs.8000/-.

I felt that the above Doctor was looting us and we should take opinion from another Podiatrician who is not part of this money minting corporate chain. He was surprised as to why the healing wound was again and again scraped leading to an unending cycle of treatment. He suggested to let the wound to heal completely and prescribed medicine and ointment which has to be applied daily. He suggested wearing socks always as dirt would not touch the infected area and covering the wound area while having bath. In 3 months it healed very well and he asked us to just follow the above process regularly and my father being old and diabetic to come for a review once in 2 months. He charged Rs.600/- for the consultation and is worth every rupee.

I know many Doctors as friends, clients and well wishers. I know how some of them, despite working in corporate hospitals, refuse to play the game and is in the bad books of administration. But for the tremendous goodwill they have with patients and excellent skills and competency, they would have been thrown out of the system long ago. Knowing them has ensured I do not fall for looters ruining both my health and wealth. In any profession more so in medical profession; it is important to know good people. When I went for a migraine check up with the most popular hospital in city, the migraine specialist there suggested a very expensive and controversial treatment. I checked with my Doctor friends. They in turn checked with their professional friends and got back to me stating not to go for the same as it can have disastrous consequences. Thank you Doctors.

I’ve to write about one ‘normal’ hospital here. From the time my wife conceived, we chose to go to Dr.Uma Ram for consultation, check up and planned delivery in her hospital, Seethapthy nursing home. We were extremely comfortable with her and she used to arrange for even pre-delivery knowledge sessions which were very helpful. She has given a 24/7 mobile number and said that since we are having bay long after our marriage; call the number for any issues. Even at 2 am in the night, when my wife I had some discomfort or fear, she used to call that number and some Doctor would be available to clarify and comfort. Since deliveries happen even in nights, the Doctor rarely gets good proper sleep and told me that she sleeps on an average for 5 hours a day, but not continuously.

Due to some complications, we opted for C-Section and have to be in hospital for 6 days. At the time of delivery, a very good neo-natologist was also present. Excellent care and attention was provided during the entire stay in the hospital. When the final bill came I was extremely surprised. For surgical delivery, 6 days stay in an air conditioned deluxe room; check up by other specialists like Anesthiseologit, Neo natalagist, round the clock periodical check up by Doctor.. all these put together was totally billed only around Rs.30,000/-+ I thought 30K is too less for the kind of treatment and attention they gave. So I went and asked Dr.Uma Ram why she is charging less. She laughed and told me that she is charging normally and not running the hospital for loss and as the others may be charging lot more, it looks cheaper. The hospital also co-ordinated and followed up with the local corporation office in helping us to get the birth certificate. Thank you Doctor and may your tribe grow. People like you only ensure that we do not loose faith in the system.

I’ m really happy the way markets are right now. As Prashanth Jain mentioned in his recent piece; these kinds of valuations you get only 3 or 4 times in a 20 year span. For most of us, the major investment time span in our life itself is only 20 years+. Many start worrying about their finances only in their thirties and some in their forties. I don’t want to talk about people who start wondering about all these in their fifties:-)  So the accumulation phase happens only for 2 decades. That being the case, accumulation of equity at cheap valuations should be mouth watering and not leave a bitter taste. If some of you believe in prayer; pray that markets should go down and be like this for next few years. If your prayers are answered, God wants you to be very rich:-)If you’re prayers are not answered, still you would end up making decently. That is the power of discipline and compounding.

The more markets trade in cheaper valuations during accumulation phase, the better it is for investors. However bull markets are longer than bear markets and in investment tenure of 20 years; one would have more of bull than bear markets. That being the case, bear markets should enthuse us. Only because of bear markets, our long term return from equity is good. You get more units in a bear markets and less units in bull markets. As Graham mentioned, as you get more at less price and less at more price, your average cost would be lesser than arithmetic average. If we understand this simple and effective truth, we would not be worried about market volatility and would do better things than constantly keeping track of NAV or share prices. Looking at portfolio every day or every week is a kind of addiction and if someone cannot live without seeing it; it is better to go for a de-addiction:-)

Whatever happening globally now is actually good forIndia. I would write about it in future.

It was nice to see the advertisement by oil marketing companies (OMC). Half truth conceals more than what they reveal. If you notice, the OMCs always use the word ‘under recovery’ and not loss. They get subsidized by oil and gas producing companies like ONGC, GAIL and also government. Interestingly the same government again receives thousands of crores as dividends every year from OMCs, ONGC and GAIL. We pay the highest tax on petrol. Neither the central or state governments (exceptGoa) want to work on that.

When the government started thinking of rising prices, the brent crude was around $130. Now it is around $98. That is 25% reduction in international prices. The rupee was weakened only around 5% during the period. I do not understand the logic of this price hike.

I also get no answer when I ask experts as to when Brent Crude was around $40 and rupee at Rs.38/- in 2008 why our petrol prices did not fall to say Rs.20/- or Rs.25/- per litre but was sold at nearly Rs.60/- What happened to all those excess profits generated by government companies?

The whole oil and gas pricing mechanism is so complex and confusing that it is very difficult to make sense of what we read in media or what is said by government. May be they want it to be that way.

4 Responses to “Wisely Speaking – 6”

  1. Milind S Nitsure said

    Excellent article .Very Apt Input.Also requesting you to put both articles appeared in Tamil Magzines for the benefit of us ,NON TAMILIANS .I am sure we will learn a lot .Many thx sir

    • Muthu said

      It is cumbersome to translate the articles. But I would be definitely be covering these issues in my blog.

      Thanks for reading.

      • Milind S Nitsure said

        Thank U Sir.Eagerly waiting.I am sure we will learn a lot from your Inputs.Thank You Once again

  2. amol said

    Truly Wise article!

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