I have promised to be different from typical personal finance sites, so let me tell you how. Here let me start with a story.

One man goes to the King of a land and says ‘Please give me some land’. The king says “Take your horse and ride..all the land that you can cover in a day belongs to you”.

The king puts one condition though. He says ” You have to start from here and you have to be here by sunset”.  So he gets about 12 hours of riding time. The guy goes riding..and he rides really far…and realizes his folly only when it is too late. He needed to get back.

Remember the book ‘No Shortcuts to the Top’. Read it, if you have not.

People set for themselves very difficult to achieve goals and are told “If you are a successful person a little pain should not bother you”. Excellent. However, one has to realize that reaching the goal is optional, being alive to enjoy that goal is not optional. So should you go and chase your goal while jeopardizing your life? I do see people do it. They burn themselves, break their marriages, doctors describe them as Type A. They are sleep deprived. Healthy life is an oxymoron for them.

What for? What would you have achieved if you do not have the health to enjoy the goal?

While climbing the Himalayas you need to live by certain rules. Most people who get killed break the SIMPLE rules. No not an avalanche, not storm, blizzard, rain or a snow leopard. Just breaking the rules. You need to know how much your oxygen will last. How much time you need to climb up and come down to the base camp (reaching the top is optional, coming back with adequate oxygen is COMPULSORY).

I have seen runners in big marathons not knowing how to set SENSIBLE goals. They run hard and injure themselves – preventing running for 12-24 months! Be careful about the sensible goals that you set.

What does all this have to do with a financial post? Well, I have seen craving and desperation among people to improve their returns. So if I tell them “saving / investing  a bigger amount for a longer period is the key” they do not like it. They are hoping to delay the investment, play around with ‘r’ . Then suddenly a friend comes with a ‘will never fail, ever, never’ so about Rs. 20 L is invested. Subra of course knows about this only when there is panic 🙂 .

So the original idea was to retire at 53.  The fly by night operator has made a ‘just cannot fail’ portfolio. It fails. It has wiped out all the money. Ha now back to the grind. Retirement age postponed to 60. Not because of the loss alone. Also because the whole portfolio goes through a churn. The equity fund becomes a balanced fund. The Income fund becomes a short term income fund. Or worse, liquid fund. Reducing the Real Return.

Sad. So you need to know whether the goals are reasonable, whether the risk is sensible, whether the risk taking ability has changed. Sure you can do it online, but it helps a cynic rip it apart. For a fee or free. Avoiding the audit is a step of amazing stupidity. I have seen people do it. Hey attempting suicide is no longer an offence.


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