Personal Investments

March 21st, 2007

Have been thinking aloud and practicing investment habits but have limited myself to the following options 

,

1.       Post Office instruments like NSC, KVP…
2.       Bank FD
3.       Insurance Plans (non ULIP)
4.       ULIP 
5.       RBI bonds
6.       Public Provident Fund(PPF)
7.       Equity – Shares
8.       Mutual Funds
9.       Gold
10.    Real Estate
 

I have experienced that most of the debt oriented options (FD, post office, Insurance, RBI bonds) does not give good returns and erodes as the inflation rises.

Although PPF can be a good investment if you are planning for a term of 10 to 15 years also it is a tax free investment. 

Gold is an accepted investment in India but I did not find it to be providing good returns, it surly is a secure investment but not a very good investment and does not offer great returns. 

Equity comes with its own share of risks of the market and time commitments for identifying the stocks. People also get into misleading habit of timing the market and doing daily trading. My philosophy here is that we should get into the market with a long term vision and invest is strong proven companies or companies with a potential to grow. However, you need to invest a lot of time in identifying such companies and then of course stock-picking is not your profession hence how much justice can you do remains an open question! 

Mutual funds are safer than direct equity and does not require too much research. My thought is one should go for proven funds for 75% of the total investment to be made and for 25% take some risk of new funds/NFO. It is an investment where one can expect 20 to 25 % return per annum (equity diversified funds). 

Real estate seems to be a viable option however demands money to be invested in a large sum (between 40 to 80 lacs at least). Many fear the amount that needs to be put in and the future of the same in next 15 years horizon. I feel it is better to invest in land than a flat on the 8 floor in some society; however, it comes with the headache of maintaining and providing security to the premises. Also we need to the math on living on rent versus buying a house. 

Insurance as an investment is a confusing concept to me with so many agents and insurance companies promising 1000 things. However once you buy insurance you get to know the fine prints on mortality rate, admin charges and Terms of insurance. My thought is that one should buy pure insurance products with no returns / investment promise attached to it for 80% life coverage and for 20% can go for ULIP or other insurance products. 

Overall I am still doing research and trying to see if we have better/other options available. . .  

 
Young, who chairs a do my essay panel that advises the state education department on curriculum, instruction, and assessment issues.

Visit to Rameshwaram

March 19th, 2007

This weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Rameshwaram with my parents. Overall the place is amazing. In case you plan to visit then this write-up should be of help to you.

There is no airport at Rameshwaram and rail track is under construction, so we took a 40 minutes flight from Chennai to Madurai.

Madurai as a place is well known for the huge Meenakshi temple and is located 175 kilometers away from Rameshwaram.

We reached Madurai in the evening from Chennai and checked-in into the Hotel. I was suggested to stay at Park Plaza by a friend of mine at Chennai. Next day we covered 175 KM to Rameshwaram in 3 hours, the bridge on the ocean on the way is a visual delight!! The key is to have your ‘Panda’ identified before you even think about visiting the temple. In my case, dad already had the information and we had called him from Madurai itself before reaching Rameshwaram. ‘Panda’ had already made all the arrangements and bookings in the temple.

The grand finale starts with ‘Samudra snan’ (Ocean bath) where you go to a small beach near to the temple and take a holy bath there. This is followed by ’22 kund snan’ (bath in 22 wells). The temple has a well organized system. You enter the temple and pay Rs 51 per person for the 22 kund snan so that a person is appointed to you who would pull water from the kund (well). Taking bath 22 times with a bucket full of water is quite an experience. The guy pours water on your head 22 times!!

After the bath you need to change your dress and be ready for the Pooja. We did Abhishek of Lord Shiva with milk and ganga jal. For this you need to pay Rs. 651 in the temple and all the arrangements are made for you. Total time taken is around 2 hours inside the temple if you have everything organized through the ‘Panda’.

After the visit to the temple there is not much to do in that place, so we decided to take some rest and then started our return journey to Madurai.

One of the most important religious destinations of Hindus, the Rameshwaram temple is simply HUGE and has 108 shivling inside in the corridor. The temple is one of the dham (other dhams are Badrinathji, Jagganathpuri and Dwarkaji) and also one of the 12 jyotirlings.

Next day we visited the HUGE Meenakshi temple which was also a visual delight and returned back to Chennai in the evening.

But there is a moment, a significant one at that, when the child learns of the nature of his own mind, his own favorable brain, his capacity to think, reason, learn.

Pleasure

March 12th, 2007

‘Pleasure’ holds different meaning to different people. A few lines on what it means to me.
 

A wildlife sanctuary,
a SLR camera
good animal visibility
great shots … that’s Pleasure
 

In the middle of a tea garden
Open landscape, pleasant wind
Me and my wife on two relaxing chairs
That’s Pleasure
 

Weekend with no work
Good music and broadband
Building web application on PHP
That’s Pleasure
 

Low sunlight and windy weather
Driving down the scenic road
Slow music in the car
Partner with her head resting on your shoulders
That’s Pleasure
 

A visit to a religious place
Parents happy to visit the place
Happiness and thankfulness showing on their face
That’s Pleasure
 

Training on technology
Learning on your own
Showing the learning at work
That’s Pleasure
 

Research on investments
Decision on stocks
Investment of money
Good long term returns
Ultimate Pleasure !!!  😉

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