Best Investment, Ever.

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Idea, Interesting Idea, Investment, Learning, Self Improvement, Uncategorized

Below is the best Investment Advice by Mr. Warren Buffet.

“Invest in as much of yourself as you can, you are your own biggest asset by far.” — Warren Buffett

Very True.

Sounds very cliched, heard many times. Some how, when we read quotes, watch inspiring video, read essay or some other inspiring materials, we know what it is or what should be Done. Intuitively, we connect to it, but that means, our automatic thinking, or system-1 as Mr. Daniel Kahneman succinctly puts into his brilliant book, Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow. To understand the meaning behind the words, we must engage – System – 2 or measured thinking. If you do not know about the two system of thinking,  read the book, I have referred or do some google search, its a first step towards, what I am writing hereinafter.

The difficult part of  reading all these life altering philosophy  is “How to do / How to Invest in One’ Self”.

Let us understand, How to Invest in Yourself.

I have no Idea about How, nor I gave serious consideration, so I am as much in game with you, as explorer and certainly not as sooth sayer. Most of us have completed 5, 10, 15 years or more of Employment Schooling after we obtained our “Graduation/Post Graduation or Degree”. Mostly, we have graduated in our Choosen Vocation/Profession. In school, we have grades, exams; In real life, we have challenges, promotion, earnings. In school, we are taught by teacher, whereas we are required to Learn by Self. So answer is simple, LEARN.

Thats where we could find Answer to HOW?

We can not take coaching, tuition or classes. If you are lucky, once in a while, you attend a conference. We do not have concept of Mentor. To me, its a primary step; looking forward to some one, who could guide us in taking right decision. Its an important but only Half of How to Learn.

Second half, depends upon; looking the work you are doing very objectively. Even if its mundane, automated, monotonous, you can still learn from it, Learn to improve your multiple skill sets.

The skills that comes immediately to mind;

@ Business Writing.

@ Basics of Finance, Accounts, Investment.

@ Comprehension.

@ Judgement and Decision Making.

@ Elementary Technology.

@ Elementary Economics.

@ Tenets of Management. Getting Things Done.

@ Sharpening Leadership.

@ Reading on diverse subject.

These all does not require any special attention or time. If one integrate all these in day to day Work Flow, learning is automated. I am sure, you are doing something or other thing to keep learning. Hence, question of How to Learn can be found in day to day work life. Iam not referring to  a structured learning, that does not mean, its not important or relevant. If you work demands constant updation of knowledge/skills it automatically forces you on the path of learning. Unfortunately, for most of us, including yours truly, it requires some effort. And thats where the Answer to HOW can be found. Doing everything with fresh perspective, trying to move beyond obvious, thinking why it is done and why can’t it be done differently, how to improve, can I draft a letter bit better? Am I using various mental tools available in my day to day decision making, can new techniques be learned, can I Improve on what I am doing… I am not giving lecture, its the natural question that popped into my conscious thinking, while drafting. So yes, its completely unedited version..In fact, it also opened up my thinking…

Thus, Mr Buffett’s Wisdom is clear: Learn as much as You can, thats best Investment you can make in Yourself.  Investment also to be done in Health, Relationship, Deep Habits, Financial Health…But thats topic for some other day.

State of Economy – II

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Economics

Today market crashed, though, I am not sure, whether we can say market crashed if it goes down by merely 1.96%.

Reason, Biggest Single Day Crash in China.

Once again : quoting from last post : China is a mystery riddle with Puzzle. And any geo political event can impact India, its economy and stock market.

So, While not be judgemental about one event, I would still say the Jury is still out, as to what will happen next.

I am not too optimistic about near term – 1 year for Indian Economy.

Thinking about equity market, are we entering a near term bearish phase? It appears.

State of Economy

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Economics

Most vexed, complex, uncertain question. No one has clear answer.

We always look backward and connect the dots. No one knew in 2013 that Stock Market would start rising. No one knew in 2008 that economic crisis is looming. No one knew in 2006 that Real Estate Market is about to explode. It is always said that most defining moments in life are known to us, six month after, we passed thru that moment. So is it a futile exercise to forecast future?  As it is proven that forecasting is a bad science, and all so called expert are no better than monkey who is assigned to randomly pick up the consequences of an event.

 

I hold a view that no matter what we assume, we must continue to explore upon the facts, data points, experience, trends, information available with us instead of becoming a turkey, waiting for fate. We may eventually be wrong, but in the process, it would be great fun, thinking about these diverse, seemingly uncertain events.

 

Being an Armchair Economist, I am trying to figure out, the state of Indian Economy and Direction it might take. Let us first reflect on available information. The information is not complete, authentic, riddled with bias, but at least it gives some indication. So beware, do not take advice of Armchair Economist. Read it for Fun.

 

@ Stock Market : Its a barometer of economy. In absolute terms, market has not moved in last 1 years. What it indicates? The stock market is prized properly, forward PE seems to be much less than historic high, Euphoria of last year is gone. Considering it to be any indicator, if at all, It is not giving a confident signal about near term say, 1-2 years, outlook.

@ Real Estate : Market is in decline mode. Today’s Mint states that after more than 5 years, the domestic investment into equity has overtaken the Real Estate. This reflects bearishness in one asset class. i.e. Real Estate.

Both this indicators are supposed to reflect the undercurrent, but if we read it jointly, it suggest, people have more trust in Stock Market, thus, Indian Economy and not in Real Estate, major Contributor to Economy in GDP terms.

At Macro Level : Fiscal Deficit is under control, Current Account Deficit (CAD) is in positive zone. Forex Reserves are Swelling. Rupee is under control. No Sign of any turbulence. Even Inflation is in Negative.

Investment Cycle – Export – Both have not picked up. Export and IIP is in negative Zone.

Finance Sector – Everyone is bullish. Going strongly to build books. More new companies are coming up in NBFC space. I afraid, old days of 2006-2008 rack less lending are back. But that indicates general euphoria.

Consumption & Demographic Story is still intact.

Conjoint Reading:

 

When we read all the above, it gives a very conflicting views, Macro Economic Fundamentals are very Positive, but Micro Economic indicator are not giving comfortable outlook. There seems to be a pause, as if economy is making some adjustment, before it moves into next territory. A sign of inconsistency and indecisiveness.

So, two question:

 

What is state of Economy : It is taking a pause.

 

What will happen next.

 

For that, we must also look at World Economy:

@ China – Its a mystery riddle with puzzle. No one knows, what will happen. Thats scary.

@ Geo political instability.

@ US Interest rate hike. End to Cheap Money. Squeezing of global liquidity.

@ Euro Crisis.

 

Though, we are decoupled from world economy. We can not abstain from major economic shock.

Essentially, near term, there does not seems to be any upward indication for economy ( i.e. growth in Stock Market & Real Estate – its a long cycle and we are certainly in declining). However, any major world event, would see a sharp correction in Equity Market and some uncertainty, observed in 2008. What are the chances of that happening. I  have no Idea.

Let us wait and observe, before finally concluding.

 

 

Greece – Jury is Out – Leadership Failed People.

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Economics

If you have not read my post on Greece, read it first here... to get the context of the current post.

It was certain the Greece Referendum was a Joke.

 

I had ended post :

 

“Ultimately, Greeks will have to bite the bullet and accept much harsher measures, than they would have or ought to have in first instances.

This way some time Democracy Fails.”

 

No, I am not writing to prove, I am right. It was conventional wisdom, that I had written,

 

It’s about:

 

How

Crowd Wisdom/ Democracy Fails.

Leadership Fails.

 

Why

Complex problems can not be reduced into Yes/No.

Greece PM failed in Negotiation.

 

Yesterday, Greece Banks opened, the bail out package is harsher than previous one. Mid term polls are likely to happen in September-15. Capital Controls are still in vogue. Whether it will continue to be part of Euro Zone, its unpredictable. And in Accountant’s language, Going Concern is not Certain, so, if one has to sign Greece Balance Sheet, it will be qualified.

 

 

Work-Life Balance – Part 2

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Idea, Interesting, Uncategorized

Second Part on Work-Life Balance.

When you do one activity, you tend to short charge some other activities. To achieve something, you pay some price. The price is the cost of work-life balance. In economic terms, its called Opportunity Cost. If you are reading this, you are not certainly checking on Facebook or WhatsApp or if you are at office and not gone home or not attending to critical work on hand and if you do not have sufficient time on hand, the opportunity cost is known to you.

As video suggest, we human being are not hardwired to perform one task exceptionally well, but do multiple task with basic mediocrity.

 

If you listen to successful people, they say, Do One Thing, Do It Right, Have Focus, and do not get into mediocrity trap or monotony. Its human equivalent of Machine.

 

Not for a second, I intend to undermine the achievements of people, who give their life for sole purpose. But, they are driven. They are so focused, they do not worry about Work-Life Balance. Tell me one person, who have achieved monumental success and yet could manage Work-Life Balance. Don’t give me example of how great a dad Shahrukh Khan is…Its a crap, persona created by PR Firms. To be a Dhoni, you have to sacrifice not seeing your new born for few weeks. Thats the price he is willing to Pay.

 

Are you willing to pay price. If yes, than you don’t crib about Work-Life Balance.

If you are Not. Don’t worry about your next promotion, financial goals, fancy car. Be happy. And there is nothing wrong with it. Be content.

 

Unfortunately, 99.9% of people falls in between, because, we are not completely agnostic to idea of growth. If you have read the book by Chip & Dan Heath – Decisive, you know, ultimately Our Human Mind has two sides.

 

Emotional Self – That drives our likings,desire and decision.

Rational Self – Controls our behaviour with rationality.

 

Work-Life Balance is like that, our emotional side desires family, fun, happiness and our rational side, learning, growth etc. We are always torn apart between this too. Think deeply about it.There is no end to the debate. We have to make our own Peace.

 

I just spent, 15 minutes writing this. Ignored 1 call, recalibrated my little tight schedule for the day. Thats price I am willing to pay, because, at least I could sharpen my thoughts, my writing skills.

If you are interest, read book by our First Women Chief Justice – Leela Sheth – On Balance. Life is all about managing balance. It sounds truism.

So, is Work-Life Balance is an equilibrium? You try to achieve or Is it pendulum? you are trying to control form going extreme.

Work Life Balance

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Idea, Interesting, Self Improvement, Uncategorized

We aspire to be the Best Father/Mother/Son/Spouse etc..Tend to be pushing hard to manage expectations of every one. We are also supposed to get time for ourselves. To avoid burning out syndrom, to learn new skills, to stay ahead of curve. And yet, we question, Am I doing Right? Am I managing my priorities? Few days, back I had blogged, its not Time Management but Managing Your Energy should be your primary goal. To add to this, I must state, Work-Life Balance is Non Sense. This is a luxury bestowed upon us, generations who do not have to worry about earning like our parents, who had to work hard to meet two ends meet.

Does Work-Life balance is critical or can you achieve it, or its just an utopian event? While we all agree that working towards any extreme either Work or Life is not healthy, but some amount of imbalance would always remain.

A short video is useful reminder. I am not passing any judgement, see it for yourself.

 

Negotiation Technique – Learn From Kids

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Negotiation

 

Humans learn to negotiate early in life. Any parent can attest to this! As early as age two, children are offering to eat more vegetables at dinner if it means ice cream for dessert. By the tender of age of three, kids have developed a whole arsenal of negotiation tactics. Their approaches to secure prime toys, dessert or a later bedtime are not just child’s play — they offer valuable reminders about successful negotiation tactics in any setting.

 

—————-

Related: 4 Ways to Negotiate Your Way to a ‘Yes’

 

1. Start by offering support. My wife and I have noticed that before our sons present a request for something outside of their usual routine, they are often especially helpful around the house. They will proactively help out with extra chores, and while we usually can sense an ulterior motive is at play, it still often works in their favor. In business too, it’s easier to say yes or want to work with someone who has just done something nice for you.

2. Time your approach. Kids are masters at timing their approach — often waiting to ask for something when you are right in the middle of preparing dinner or trying to get their sibling ready for bed. Toddlers have it figured out. Assessing what your target has going on around them and timing your approach so that you’re more likely to receive a “yes” is smart whether you’re at home or in a business setting.

3. Leverage a credible advocate. My youngest son likes to enlist the support of his older brother when negotiating. Having lined up an ally, it’s clear he feels more empowered and confident when his brother is there to back him up. It’s often effective, too, assuming it’s a reasonable request. Similarly, I find it’s helpful to preview ideas and build a group of influential, trusted advocates before approaching a decision maker or potential partner. When presented with an idea or request that a team of people believe is a good idea, it’s harder to say no.

Related: How to Negotiate for What You Want

4. Turn on the charm. Merit is important, of course, but charm and an emotional connection go a long way. Children learn that it’s hard for their parents to say no when they add a charming smile to their request. Human beings are emotional. Positive personal connections matter. In business, having a good relationship outside of the conference room with whom you are negotiating can have a significant impact on how or whether a deal gets done.

5. Talk to a decision maker. One of the most important reminders kids can offer us about negotiation is to make sure you’re talking to a decision maker. Kids know who can say yes to a request and will target that person. (And if one decision maker says no, they’ll often move on to the second decision maker!) It is a waste of time to talk with someone who is not capable of saying yes. When negotiating a deal, small or big, make sure you’re talking to the right person, otherwise there will be no ice cream for dessert.

Source : entrepreneur.com

Why China Stock Market is crashing

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Economics, Stock Exchange

Since last 3 weeks, China Stock Market is crashing. Thats known Fact.

Why?

china-margin-of-debt_1024.0

The Chart indicates %age of Borrowed Money to the Investment into Stock Market as compared to free floating stock. This is called Margin Debt. Borrowed money is fuelling the China Stock Market Bull rally…Untill 2010, People could not invest the borrowed money into Stock Exchange, but after relaxation, as chart indicates, it is climbing uphill.

Why Every one is worried.

50% of Stocks are under circuit breaker.

Because, once unwinding happens, price starts dropping, lender ask for more security or start liquidating the security, resulting into downward spiral. As you know, it’s a cascading effect. The China Stock Market is very huge. In fact, in last 3 weeks, the value equal to 13 Greece Economy has been wiped off.

It’s like contagion.

Courtesy : Vox.com

Economic Dilemma of Greek

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Economics

“Baggers are not choosers”

A quote, very unfortunate, less then polite, derogatory and full of hubris.

But, when it comes to mob mentality, it sound truism, if we look at what will happen to Greek.

The referendum on whether to accept Austerity Measure ( aka cut in pension fund, public spending etc.) put by the creditors are rejected by 60% of Greek Population by Saying No. This may imminently lead to Grexit. The referendum means, public WILL prevails over the decisive political will. The collective decision by public can never trump the sound, rational and logical economic policy. Human mind desires to reduce complex problem into very simplistic formula to arrive at solution. When one looks at the larger problems, in life, a YES/No, can never be a simple solution. Politicians across the World believes in passing the buck. Very few exception could be witnessed in History, lime Henry S. Truman, US President, who kept a plaque on this desk at Oval Office : “Buck Stops Here”. Firstly, a complex problem is reduced to Simple Answer without any alternative is farce.

What Greek P.M. did, passed the buck, and put entire nation on the further down hill.

Once greek defaults, they will be forced out of Euro. What option do they have to bargain with creditor, None. What will happen, next. No one knows, What could have happened?

If the PM would have shown little gut and spine, he could have negotiated little bit. Unfortunately, by leaving the table, the doors on negotiations are closed. The country will live on Hope and Prayer, assuming that other Nation would lend them some support. Its worse than being put on ventilator. Atleast, they could have salvaged some pride.

In negotiations, unless between equals, dominant party always…get away with what it wants. IMF and other European Lenders, only hopes to loose their money. Unlike, commercial bankers, they are not driven by profit or to recover their funds. They simple follow the policy, and if they amend policy for one, they will have to do it for every one.

Even, India had the similar position in 1991, when our Forex Reserved could only finance 3 weeks of Import. Mr Narsimha Rao, P.M. along with Mr. Manmohan Singh, then Finance Minister, shown wisdom and accepted lot of austerity measures, devaluation of rupee etc..They did not took easy path, by absolving themselves from the responsibilities.

Jury is still out as to whether action by Greek Public is sensible or not. To me, its not public, but leaders at top, who failed in taking decision. One view still prevails that Austerity measures offered by Lenders were too harsh and only option available with public is to reject any further conditions. Unemployment is nearly 25%, average income is very low, thus Greek’s don’t find it acceptable to further cut the social welfare. Thus, referendum was very clear, if poor have to choose between starving today or starving for tomorrow, one would choose to starve today. Thats what happened.

Ultimately, Greeks will have to bite the bullet and accept much harsher measures, than they would have or ought to have in first instances.

This way some time Democracy Fails.