Wise Wealth Advisors

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

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Archive for the ‘Wealth’ Category

Focus on progress not on crisis

Posted by Muthu on August 15, 2018

Happy Independence Day.

There has been no year without any domestic or global crisis. We focus only on crisis and not on progress. This is because, as Morgan Housel says, progress happens too slowly to notice and setbacks happen too quickly to ignore.

In the last 7 decades, how many problems we’ve faced as a nation? Innumerable. At the same time, see how we’ve also progressed on various fronts.

Investors who focus on progress create abundant wealth. Those who focus only on crisis, gets jittery and lose the precious wealth creation opportunity.

You need to always keep only bigger picture in mind. If day to day headlines, amplified by media, scare you, you won’t go very far in investing.

Consumption, entertainment, travel, leisure, buying home, borrowing, saving, investing, insuring, healthcare, industrial activities, agriculture, working in office, improvements in technology, infrastructure development…. the list can fill pages; all continue to happen irrespective of any crisis.

If there is a problem in Turkey, you don’t stop brushing with Colgate, stop taking bath with Hamam or not paint your house with Asian Paints. Commerce is the back bone of civilisation and never stops.

By investing in stocks or equity funds, you’re participating in commerce and its progress.

India over next two decades is capable of becoming a middle income country.

By investing in equity, you also become part of this growth and create wealth.

If you focus only on crisis, you’ll miss the underlying progress.

One crisis or another would always be there but so is progress.

Keep the focus right and just stay the course.

Posted in General, Stock Market, Wealth | 4 Comments »

Simple that’s why

Posted by Muthu on August 5, 2018

Last month I wrote how failure is the norm, be it investing or business. The success rate is very less.

In an article, New York Times mentions that out of 3481 listed companies in US, 200 companies accounted for all profits. The rest 3281 companies lost money. The success rate is just 6%.

We’ve also seen many times in past, how investors earn less than fund returns, as they chase performance. The average holding period of mutual fund investors is around 18 to 24 months. Once Prashant Jain mentioned, hardly 2% of investors stay invested for more than 10 years in a fund. Only small percentage of investors create wealth through equity, be it mutual funds or direct stocks.

Many of you are now among this tiny group of successful investors. How majority of our clients ended up in this successful tiny minority?

We’ve no special expertise but strongly believe in certain process and discipline. We accept investments only for a minimum tenure of 10 years. We don’t frequently churn portfolio. We rarely make changes that too only when we are convinced it is required. We use all opportunities to educate how ups and downs are very nature of markets and why staying invested for long run matters. By not tinkering, we interfere less in your wealth creation journey. More importantly, we don’t let you become your own enemy, through your behaviour.

When I started as an advisor 12 years ago, I decided to implement these principles in my own investment journey and that of our clients. It was easier to implement for clients from day one. It took few years for me to implement for my own investments.

To make money, one needs to be in right place at the right time. India is in such a sweet spot. Unless we mess things up by our own behaviour, discipline and patience would continue to create good wealth. All I ensure is you do few right things, avoid many wrong things and don’t mess it up by negative behaviour.

Teaching is easy. Following the teaching is very difficult. We did the easy part and you the difficult one. Glad that we are able to attract clients matching our philosophy.

We did not do anything extra ordinary. We’ve very limited expertise. You’re successful because you did ordinary things extra ordinary well. Nothing new in the wisdom we shared. It’s all learning from legends, freely available in the internet.

Charlie Munger once said “More investors don’t copy our model because our model is too simple. Most people believe you can’t be an expert if it’s too simple.”

You did simple things very well ending up in tiny successful minority.

The thing is anyone can copy this and be successful, but most won’t do.

That’s why it is being repeatedly said that investing is simple but not easy.

Posted in Stock Market, Wealth | 2 Comments »

Nothing is the best thing

Posted by Muthu on June 16, 2018

In personal finance and investing, we’ve to do few right things and avoid many wrong things. Once we do few right things, doing nothing is rest of the course. We never get tired of repeating this. The key value we bring into the relationship is ensuring that you do nothing after the course is set.

There are many approaches to investing and personal finance. We follow what we’ve internalised through our learning, experience and inspiration. We can only advice what we follow. That’s why we always focus on buy and hold.

Our strategy has evolved based on our faith in the future of our country. Over next two decades, there is a strong possibility of India moving into middle income from low income. Many sectors and companies would benefit from this growth. For stock pickers, they need to find few quality companies where they can sit on their ass for one to two decades.

For you all, mutual fund investors, need to stick to chosen equity funds and keep investing regularly in a systematic way. Need to tolerate periodic under performance of funds. Even legends underperform close to one third of time. So there is no way the fund managers can avoid this. Though choosing good funds are important; it is still a hygiene factor. What really matters is your discipline in staying the course.

We neither believe in short term wealth nor have knowledge of creating it. You’ve self selected to be our clients since you see merit in the philosophy and the strategy we follow. In our view, it takes not less than 2 decades of high saving and prudent investing to gain financial independence and create sizeable wealth.

Doing nothing was easy last year as markets gave excellent returns. It is a year like current one which shakes the faith. Markets have always behaved like this and future would be no different from the past. Need to accept this bumpy ride with a conviction that we are moving towards a good destination.

Though you heard from me many times, it is difficult to do nothing. Our mind always sees action as a sign of progress. This is indeed true for various aspects of life but not to investing, especially for the strategy we’ve chosen to follow.

So continue to do nothing and stay the course.

Posted in Wealth | 2 Comments »

How a teacher couple turned $50,000 to $800 million?

Posted by Muthu on May 7, 2018

However rare the occurrence may be, we are able to connect well with real life examples. These examples motivate us to work towards financial independence and create sizeable wealth.

Donald and Mildred Othmer was born in the first decade of last century and lived well into their nineties before passing away in the last decade of the same century.

Donald and Mildred Othmer both belonged to Omaha, where Warren Buffett has been living from his childhood.

Donald worked as a professor in a polytechnic. He had scores of patent to his name. He was a good teacher, researcher and consultant. Mildred worked as a teacher.

They knew Buffett’s family well and trusted in his investment ability.

In 1960’s, when Buffett was running an investment partnership, they invested each $25,000 into the same.

When Buffett closed the partnership and gave the option of either taking the corpus back or converting into Berkshire Hathaway stock, they opted for latter. They got around 14,500 shares at $42 a share. This implies Buffett partnership has multiplied their wealth by over 12 times in a decade.

At the time of their passing away, the $50,000 investment has become whopping $800 million.

The couple did not have children and passed on their wealth to charitable causes.

Donald’s bequest of $190 million to the polytechnic where he worked for nearly 6 decades was about four times the institute’s entire endowment there by lifting the institute to a different league.

Donald and Mildred also provided well for Long Island College hospital in Brooklyn and University of Nebraska-Lincoln, from where both of them graduated.

They also contributed for other causes.

Their example again reinforces the need for buying right, sitting tight and staying the course. They held on to their investments for close to four decades without interrupting the compounding.

Had they not known Buffett and instead invested the same capital in index, it would have still become few million dollars.

As on date, had that $50,000 investment continued in Berkshire, it would be worth more than $4 billion.

Be it index or actively managed funds or portfolio of quality companies what is important is not to get swayed by short term movements, hold for long term and staying the course with patience and discipline.

In my view, we don’t need much brain to make money in a high growth economy with a long run way like India. What is required is capital, which needs to be created out of employment or business or profession, investing the same prudently and then simply staying the course.

Stay the course for next one to two decades and see the results

Posted in Stock Market, Warren Buffett, Wealth | 2 Comments »

How to think about investments?

Posted by Muthu on May 6, 2018

At times, for few weeks or months, I don’t get any ideas to write. It’s close to a month since I’ve written to you. Request you to bear with me during such dry spells.

Yesterday was the annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway. Adam Blum has transcribed notes from the meeting. I found the Buffett’s introductory speech to be very good. Investment perspective makes all the difference in wealth creation. Read and follow what Buffett says below. Then it would be very difficult not to succeed.

“Here’s some personal history, with The New York Times front pages from March 10-12, 1942. You can see I’m a little behind on my reading. This was three months after we got involved in World War II, and we were losing, and headlines were full of bad news about the Pacific. The price of the newspaper was 3 cents, incidentally.

On March 10, the stock market was reflecting this news. And I’d been watching City Service preferred stock for a while. It was $84 a share the previous year and $55 a share at the beginning of 1942, and then in March it was down to $40 a share. On the 11th, I told my dad I wanted to buy three shares. That was all the money I had at the time – I was only eleven years old. So he bought the shares for me.

On the next day, the stock market was down 2.28% and broke 100 on downside, which is the equivalent of a 500-point drop. I was in school wondering what was going on. My dad had bought me the stock at $38.25, which was the high for day, and it was down to $37 by the end of day. Even though the war looked bad until the Battle of Midway, the stock did well and was called for over $200 a share by City Service. But I’d sold at $40 for $5.25 gain after watching it go down to $27. What’s the point? Imagine myself on March 11, 1942. Things were looking bad, but everyone knew we’d win the war, and the system had been working well since 1776.

Investing $10,000 in an index fund in 1942 to own a piece of American business would now be worth $51 million, and you wouldn’t have had to do anything. You wouldn’t have had to understand accounting or look at quotations. All you had to do was figure that America would do well over time, and American business would in turn do well and overcome difficulties. You didn’t have to pick out winning stocks or know when to buy or sell. The overriding question is, ‘how is American business going to do over your investing lifetime?’ If you had taken $10,000 and listened to the prophets of doom and gloom and bought 300 ounces of gold instead, today that still would be 300 ounces of gold.

You could go down to the safety deposit box and look at it and fondle it, and it wouldn’t produce anything. That gold would be worth $400,000 today. If you’d decided to go with a non productive asset versus a productive one, it is one hundred times the value difference. Every dollar earned in investing in the American business was matched by less than a penny gained by investing in a ‘store of value’ like gold over the same period.

We have the greatest tailwind you could ever imagine in this country. There’s no comparison trying to jump in and out of stocks and pay investment advisors and invest in non productive assets. If everyone had just bought in, your friendly stock broker would’ve starved to death, and you could’ve gone to his funeral to atone for it. You do not have to know about accounting and terminology and what the Fed is doing. It’s about a philosophy and forgetting what you don’t know how to do.

Posted in Stock Market, Warren Buffett, Wealth | 1 Comment »