There is a trend that is visible and scary. Many people think that websites, magazines, blogs (including this) can substitute for actual work.

Let me explain. Rakesh Jhunjhuwala and Vallabh Bhansali are the more famous names so I am naming them. Both are Chartered Accountants – Vallabh a rank holder at that. Both put in hours of hard work on company balance sheets at the start of their career. It is not just the hard work, but also the talent to understand numbers. Their success was not attained by sudden flight, but they while their competitors slept, where poring over the numbers. You could add Ramdeo Agarwal to that list. Of course there are many others.

Sure they have their own methods. One may only go long. One may not leverage. One may trade and do a disciplined leveraging. The METHODS do not matter UNLESS you can FULLY understand this (i have been screaming about UNDERSTANDING BUFFET, NOT just reading Buffet).

However people who only see the success of these people (or even a Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Aamir Khan or Vishwanathan Anand for that matter) should realise that reading a little bit about ‘Technical Analysis’, or ‘Fundamental Analysis’ , subscribing to a few websites (even the brilliant ones like www.motleyfool.com, www.wsj.com, www.investopedia.com is JUST A BEGINNING. Or the more relevant Indian ones like www.myiris.com, www.valueresearchonline.com, www.moneycontrol.com, www.moneylife.in,….you still need to be at a particular level to understand what they are saying.

Websites are here to inform, lead you to better sources, get you in touch with sensible people, BUT CANNOT BE A SUBSTITUTE for research. When we did equity research (2 reports were for one of the Gods mentioned above!) – the detailing was great. The discipline and detailing that we did for a Singapore based VC would put the CBI and FBI to shame. To me this was all learning – and humbling experience. The CA degree helped in learning things faster that is all.

So just because you have stumbled on a website whose owner knows 179 words about Fundamental Analysis (or Technical analysis, Asset allocation, retirement withdrawal techniques, or what have you) do not think you have reached the destination. You have perhaps started on your journey. And there are miles to go.

Getting rich is easy (a booming economy with a 9% growth where every donkey gets a horse’s job ensures that). Making that step to getting Wealthy is the challenge. Surely you know the difference between being Rich and Wealthy 🙂

I like to say Amuse, Excite, Entertain, Horrify,  – and perhaps Educate is what this blog can do. If I think that there are blogs which can do more than this, sorry I have not found them.

Even though there are books (Saraswati), we need teachers (Guru – Hanuman) who will ensure that we DO what we know (Wisdom does not come from libraries, you need the blessings of Uma the Goddess of Wisdom).

So do not confuse a map with the destination!

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  1. Subra,

    a very relevant and thought provoking article as usual.

    “do not confuse a map with the destination” really takes the cake.

    As they say “Little knowledge is harmfull”, the distrubing trend is whosoever knows how to access moneycontrol or valueresearch think they knwo everything abt mutual funds, asset allocation & the works without going into the detailing. Remember your article about ratings the other day. People just think that by seeing the rating or worse, last 3 month/6month/1 year returns, their job of selecting a mutual fund is over. As you have rightly pointed out, actual job needs much more labour and understanding. DONKEY GETTING A HORSE’S JOB also ensures that you become lax with your money at times, so probably the will to probe deeper or put in more efforts is just not there.

    Kudos for a fantastic article. Although it is getting boring to say so for your every article. But what to do.. you really write so well. Wish to meet you personally some day.

    Sanjeev Bhatia CFP.

  2. If I say “30 yrs before in India horses were doing donkey’s job.”, will it hurt you, Mr. Subramoney?
    Fact is, just now indians have started getting what they deserve.

    Btw, good article.

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