Moneylife Foundation held a seminar on safe and smart investing for finance students of Guru Nanak Institute of Management Studies in Matunga. While most of the attendees, who are students of business administration and finance, would be expected to have a good grounding in matters of finance, there is little in a management education that can prepare them for the intricacies and the realities of personal finance. While many students would go on to work for financial firms, all of them would need to have a good understanding of what it takes to invest safely and in a manner that would deliver prosperity in the long term.
The first session was conducted by Sucheta Dalal, managing editor of Moneylife and founder-trustee of Moneylife Foundation. She pointed out to the students as to how one can avoid financial mistakes so that they do not lose any money. The second session was addressed by Debashis Basu, editor and founder-trustee of Moneylife Foundation. He articulated the simple steps for investing smartly.
Ms Dalal started her session—“Safe Investing and how not to lose money”—with a brief introduction about scams in India. There is no dearth of frauds in India. Freshers are easy targets for scamsters. There are different types of scams – lottery scam, job scam, conference scam and interest waiver scam out to get us. The numbers of scams being reported are infinite.
She informed students about currency notes, security features in a note and how to identify a real note from a fake one. Students who replied to her questions on currency notes received a surprise gift from Ms Dalal.
She also spoke about the dubious chain-money schemes like QNET, Pearls, City Limousines, Japan Life, Speak Asia, which could be clubbed in the category called Pyramid scheme or chain money schemes. These schemes claim to provide extremely high returns luring the unsuspecting savers and then vanish into thin air.
A person’s knowledge or smartness does not guarantee that he/she cannot fall prey to the confidence tricksters, Ms Dalal said. She narrated to the packed audience incidents where “relationship managers” have taken genuine and educated customers for a ride. She also explained how usurious are the rates charged on credit card outstanding. Ms Dalal talked at length about the new phenomena like Phishing and Vishing on the internet that traps the gullible public and robs them of their hard-earned money.
In the second session titled—“Salary Can’t Make You Rich, What Can?”—Mr Basu explained the importance of saving regularly to secure one’s future financially. Everybody can make financial decisions, he said if they stick to some simple principles. He explained the principles of compounding under different scenarios. The effect of compounding is slow in the initial periods, but as time passes on, the power of compounding takes over and the wealth created is huge. The key rule is to save as much as possible as early as possible in good financial products.
He illustrated several situations to explain this concept. Many students look to earn a good income when they start work. Mr Basu highlighted that savings has nothing to do with income. It is more important to spend smartly and save as much as possible.
Where does one invest? Mr Basu explained to keep it simple while understanding returns after tax and post-inflation. As college students have time on their side, he advised them to invest in equity mutual funds and stocks with an investment horizon of 15 years or more and asked them to stay away from gold, real estate and traditional insurance plans.