Source/Contribution by : NJ Publications
Hari Prasad Verma was an assistant to a renowned builder in his town Saharanpur. Hari was living a lower middle class life. One day, on the way to office, Hari bumped into his long lost friend, Vimal Singh Rathod. Vimal was running a successful business in Delhi and that meeting was all about Vimal's success story. Vimal talked about his business, his setup, his vision, his current life and so on. Hari was impressed by how Vimal achieved success in such a short period of time. Hari was overwhelmed with Vimal's success and that night when he went home, the conversation kept hovering in his head. Hari fell on the bed but kept thinking about Vimal and then his own work and his own future plans, etc. He starts imagining:
Hari invests all his current savings into some stocks.
Suddenly, he jumps to a scene when his money has quadrupled.
Then, he has started a new business.
Next he sees himself opening a big factory with many workers.
In the next scene, he steps out of his Mercedes in front of his present office and his boss, the lawyer sees Hari and is by now fuming with jealousy.
Hari chuckles at his boss' misery and has a wicked smile on his face. Then suddenly his wife nudges him “What's is the matter? Why are you smiling? Like all other dreams, Hari's beautiful fantasy was also smashed! If wishes were horses, all us would have made great riders! The reality however is that no person can become successful overnight. As an investor too, it requires many years of demonstrated traits before one considers himself as successful. So before we start enjoying the fortunes made from selling the eggs of chickens yet to be hatched, purchased from money yet to be saved, let us step back and look at what it really takes for us to be successful investors first.
How to be a successful investor?
Those who have triumphed over all odds, and form the league of successful investors, share certain common characteristics. The article isn't about any secret investing tips, rather it aims to acquaint you with those basic human virtues which can help you in joining the success league.
1. Have Patience: Patience tops the list, it can not just help you in your finances, rather it can help you overcome many challenges in life. Because Patience helps you think with a mature mind, analyse the possible solutions, their pros and cons, and take an informed decision, which is mostly for good. Panic on the other hand leaves you at the mercy of the situation and you end up ruining everything. The idea is not to panic at short term volatility and having patience to hold on for long term gains.
2. Have an Investment Strategy: Those who have aced it, have an investment strategy and they stick with it. Different investors have a different history, they live in distinct circumstances and they have their individual preferences and goals, and on the basis of these factors, they have a different investment strategy. As an investor you should devise your own financial plan or investment approach, with assistance from your financial advisor. This strategy is the road which will take you to “your” goals and will make sure that you do not go astray or loose direction.
3. Be Decisive: Be a decision taker and not a trouble maker for your Portfolio. Successful Investors take the right decisions at the right time, which may be hard, but are right for their financial health. Being decisive is also about not being tentative and not procrastinating things or decisions endlessly. It is about taking decisions in time and not letting time put costs on you and your decisions. Being decisive is also about having clarity in thought, in your objective and the options available before you. Being decisive would mean that you take decisions with clarity and with conviction.
4. Have Conviction: We talked about conviction in making decisions but conviction is also required for you to stick to your plans and strategy over time and be committed to it. A successful investor is here for the long haul, he is not the one who gets scared of easily. If he stumbles in between, he'll rise, shrug off the mud and run as a stronger and a better person. Your conviction in your plan, in the underlying asset class of equity and the long term growth story of India is the primary foundation on which your future wealth will be created. Do not let this get diluted by any interim events and uncertainty.
5. Understand & Take calculated Risks: Successful investors are not the ones who refuse to take any risk, rather they are ones who take calculated and measured risks and whose worst outcomes are acceptable to them. You might not lose if you do not risk, but you won't win for sure. If your choice is to stay 100% invested in say bank deposits and PPF, then surely you may not loose money in nominal terms but also be sure that you will not again anything more. Taking risks is however not limited to your exposure to any asset class. It goes much beyond. It is also about you stretching yourself in business, exploring new ideas in your work, changing roles or jobs for growth and so on. Thus, pushing your limits, taking bigger responsibilities and growing yourself are much more important risks you need to take to be successful financially in addition to investing positively for long term wealth creation.
6. Be Committed: Any successful person knows the importance of being committed to a chosen goal or target. For an athlete, it can be an Olympic medal and in the preparation for the same, he puts in lot of hard work, sacrificing all good things like comfort, entertainment, food, family ties and so on. Imagine, for an investor what can be the goal and the demands for achieving the same? To be truly wealthy for a middle class, service professional like me, I would imagine it would take commitment in the form of being austere, sacrificing luxuries, being disciplined and saving to maximum possible extent, down to the last rupee month after month. Thankfully, it will be much easier than the last drops of sweat an olympic aspiring athlete will shed in training in a day.
7. Keeps Emotions aside: Any investor would love his family, love his food, he would hate when someone spoils his evening tea, he cries in movies and he is proud of his kids, all because he is a human being. Emotions are what make us who we are. But an investor can only be successful if he keeps these emotions aside. He has to know and draw a circle around his money /wealth matters and not let his emotions enter that circle. You can image your emotion as Ravana to be kept outside the circle to protect your precious wealth at home. Every financial /investment decision you make – whether to buy, sell or hold, has to be driven by logic, facts and research. Bias, gut feelings, tips, hope, greed, etc. have no existence in numbers and they are left out in counting.
Stop imagining and dreaming, if you are, about being wealthy and successful. It is time for demonstrating the right traits and characteristics required to be successful, both as an investor and as a person. We might not aim for olympic medals but we can surely set our own targets which we should aim for in our lives. That would give us a direction, a sense of purpose to our life. Following the same passion and attitude in life for investments would surely make us successful investors. As someone said beautifully, the purpose of life is to find a purpose and then to pursue it purposefully...