Monday, November 26, 2012

How to inculcate financial discipline in children

A person's money habits are influenced by what one sees in the childhood. So this makes important for the parents to spend their money in a sensible way to enable financial discipline in children. Financial expert Amit Trivedi advices all the parent to give their kids "values" instead of "valuables" this Diwali.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Vested interests

This is dangerous news. Some time back, SEBI and RBI had taken actions against Sahara group asking them to refund investors' money collected through circumventing the regulations. The case was referred to Allahabad High Court.

Now the Parliament wants to pass a law to allow Sahara type of transactions to go without any regulatory supervision. It beats one to see why the nation's Parliament should pass a law that blunts the teeth of the regulators appointed by the same Parliament to allow one particular group.

Well, there could be many conspiracy theories. Is there some vested interest? Or is there a link between this move and the Samajwadi Party extending support to Pranabda as President?

The thought is scary.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Don't follow the herd - Think rational

My article on

Monday, May 28, 2012

Winning client trust is a function of competence and integrity

 Amit Trivedi of Karmayog Knowledge Academy draws upon recent events to illustrate the point that advisors need to have both competence and integrity to earn the trust of their clients.

Source: Cafe Mutual

High risk does not guarantee high returns. My article in Mumbai Samachar - મુંબઈ સમાચાર

Click on the link below to read my article:
Mumbai Samachar - મુંબઈ સમાચાર

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Why should someone help you achieve YOUR goal?

Amit TrivediAmit Trivedi
“What is your objective?” asked the consultant to an entrepreneur. The answer was: “I want to create wealth for myself.” The entrepreneur was clear about how much wealth he wants to create and in how much time.

We are quite aware of the importance of having goals. Here is an example of someone who has clarity about what he wants to achieve and has also put the deadline to the dream. As Zig Ziglar has famously said, “Goals are dreams with deadlines.”

The consultant praised this entrepreneur for goal clarity, but asked a very pertinent question, “Why should someone help you achieving this goal of yours? What is in it for them?”

Think about it. When an entrepreneur sets out to start an enterprise, it is done with a purpose. Very often entrepreneurs confuse between building a business and generating income. If income generation is a goal, the entrepreneur cannot focus on building a business, as setting up a business takes time. One has to forgo income for some time, until the venture turns into a self-sustaining business. Till that time, the parent (entrepreneur in this case) has to look after the baby often sacrificing one’s own pleasures and even basic necessities sometimes. Building business will allow one to create wealth over a long term, earning income will help one sustain in the short term. It depends on what type of person you are.

Some people can handle enormous amounts of risk. They can start focusing on building business even when there is no income in sight. The other category may first want to stabilize the income and then focus on building an enterprise.

When you set your goals, please make sure where is the customer in the goal. If your goal specifically and explicitly spells out what you plan to do for the customer, the customer will help you achieve your goals. However, it is just your own goal without any reference to what you can do for someone else, ask yourself, “Why should someone help you with YOUR goal?”

The goal that this entrepreneur has set for himself has something lacking. This is a goal of an entrepreneur, who is setting up a business. The business has to do something for the customer in order to be profitable and to sustain for long. Still, the same customer is missing from the goal. Wealth creation would be the result of the goal one has set.

All the best!

*The author runs Karmayog Knowledge Academy. He can be reached at The views expressed in this article are author's personal views.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Asha Kiran - A Ray of Hope - Times of India

Book on thalassemia launched: A book called “Fight against Thalassemia” which is a collection of short stories and “Ashakiran — A Ray of Hope”, in both English and Gujarati versions, will be launched on Tuesday at Ahmedabad Management Association (AMA) near ATIRA campus. Honorary secretary of Indian Red Cross Society, Ahmedabad, Mahesh Trivedi and vice chancellor of Gujarat Vidyapith Sudarshan Iyengar will be present. - coverage in Times of India, Ahmedabad edition today

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

First impression

The other day, I was watching TV with my 4 year old son. The program was one of his favourite game shows. When one of the participants entered, my son asked me whether he will win. I did something I normally refrain from doing. I tried to predict whether the participant would win. I thought he would not and told my son so.
Later, I was replaying the whole experience and tried to understand what made me think whether the player would win. The answer was very simple and yet shocking. But before going to the answer, let us understand what one knew about the game. This is one of the game shows that my kids love to watch and hence I have also watched it very often.
My prediction was largely based on what I had seen of various participants – some won and some did not. One was trying to correlate certain “first impressions” with the player’s ability to win. And what does one see in less than half a minute? It is the body posture, the confidence – lack of it, enough of it or overconfidence, mannerisms, etc. – broadly a combination of body language and the appearance. And I knew the answer why I thought the participant would lose. His mannerisms exhibited arrogance and lack of seriousness. And I do not like arrogance.
This is what you call first impression. The mind judges through the first impression. It processes the immediately available information and jumps to a conclusion.
Well, what happened in case of the game show was quite harmless, but when decisions are taken with such biases, sometimes they may turn out to be very costly.

Is India fast becoming a seller’s nation?

We all have heard the great India story – one billion customers, growing wealth, increasing income, even faster increasing spending. Wow! How the hungry Indians have transformed into hungry for more! This is probably the biggest developments of the 21st Century. But this development seems to have come with something else. We are fast becoming a seller’s country.
I will share some specific experiences and for that I will need to take names. I can’t help it as real experiences have real companies with real names.
The other day, I had gone to pay my Reliance phone bills and I complained about frequent call drops. The response was very “matter-of-fact” – the person at the counter coolly told me, “Yes sir, GSM phones have that problem.” I also mentioned about the speed of internet connection (I have a wireless broadband connection), that in spite of having a broadband connection, I get the speed of a dial-up network. The guy was quick to seize the moment. He suggested I go for an upgrade to the newly launched 3G connection by paying only Rs. 2,600. He assured me that this connection can get faster speed.
This response prompted me to write this article.
These guys are trained to sell. Their performance is also measured in terms of sales numbers and not in terms of customer happiness or satisfaction. If you have a complaint, it will be logged into the system and then at a later date and time someone will get in touch.
The other leading mobile phone service provider – Airtel – is even better than Reliance. First of all, I have been a slave to the number that my erstwhile employer had allotted to me. So many people know this number; I cannot afford to change it. This is what the cell phone companies are banking on, probably. To their respite, the regulator also accommodated their lobbying (sorry to use this much-maligned word) long enough to introduce MNP (mobile number portability). My experiences with Airtel services are known to many of my friends and if I start writing all those experiences, it may turn out to be a small book. I would only like to narrate what is relevant to this article.
1. Go to and what you’ll find is: if you are a customer with a problem and you want to find where and whom to contact, you will surf through the site and as the Ariel detergent ad says, “dhoondte reh jaaoge.” However, if you are an investor, you can simply click on a link right at the top of the home page. A single click on that link and you will be greeted by Mr. Mittal himself. The company is candid in telling us where the priorities are.
2. I lodged a request for starting voice mail services. Nothing happened for some time. On repeated follow ups, I was told that there is some technical glitch and company’s engineers are working to resolve that. After around 3 months, finally I was told that they do not offer voice mail services in Mumbai. With that I understood that the chapter was closed. One fine day, I receive a message that I had a message in my voice mailbox. Now, this is how I got to know that the service had started and that I was a privileged one to get it.
I can go on and on, but let me not bore you with the details. I have such experiences with Nokia, HP, Dell, RCI, and HDFC; to name a few. When I share the experiences with my friends, I get to know they also have such issues.
What is surprising in almost all these cases is that the number of sales outlets is extremely high but the services centres are very few. The sales outlets are right on main roads, the service centres – you guessed it right, or maybe you already knew – very far off and generally off the main roads.
Is it suggesting something? Even at the cost of sounding too negative, I think, there is a message: dear customer, these companies seduce you as long as you are a prospective customer. The moment you purchase the product or service, you are not exciting. Dear customer, in the hurry to get more as soon as possible, you have lost the only weapon you had - choice. And the companies pretty well understand that.
Rocket Singh – Salesman of the Year will always be in short supply.
Whoever said “customer is king” was dead right. Look at the kings in the democracy – by the way, I am referring to the erstwhile kings and not the Hindi of the word King (Raja).

The insurance tele-caller is back again

The other day, I got a call from an insurance company tele-caller. The caller introduced him as a “fund manager” calling from a life insurance company. WOW, I was delighted to get a “fund manager” call me personally!
What a shame? Look at the cheap tactics these guys use to get attention.
If a fund manager has the time to make cold calls to people, when will he manage the funds? In such a case, should one give him the money to manage? He would be busy cold calling people and will have no time to take care of our money.
God save people from such liars. Is it pressure of getting sales numbers that they stoop so low?
Are these guys more worried about their quarterly target even at the cost of their character? Or they leave the character home when they go to the office?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

What would you prefer: Convenience or safety?

Lessons from a jungle safari for the advisor - my article as appeared on

Amit Trivedi, Karmayog Knowledge Academy, went for a jungle safari recently and realized that given the similarities between the jungle and financial markets, advisors can learn a trick or two.
A jungle safari is a great adventure for those who come from cities. Earlier this week, we also went for one. This sanctuary in the Himalayan foothills is known to be home to a few endangered and rare species of animals and birds.
As is the practice, we hired a guide for the jungle safari. Before hiring the guide, we asked him the charges and sought assurances on what we could expect in return. We asked him what all would he show us.
And his answer is something all advisors can learn from. He said, “Sir, it’s a jungle. We will show you what is possible.” No tall claims, no big promises. He gave us the plain straight truth – the best way to manage expectations.
We did not see any animals. But the route he took us through was an experience in itself. After a while, the weather turned and clouds built up. It started to drizzle. There was no chance of being able to see any birds or animals. Can we blame the guide for the change in weather?
Compare this to the financial advisor’s business. Very often, financial advisors build expectations, which though well intended may be unrealistic. Many investors take it for granted that because one has hired a financial advisor; one will see only positive and high returns with no risk whatsoever. Many times, the investors assume such things even when the advisor may not have promised such things. It is important to ensure you clarify right in the beginning.
Then, what is the point in hiring an expert?
The guide knows the various routes. You do not. The guide will ensure you reach back. On your own, you may lose your way in the jungle. The financial advisor is supposed to know the behavior of the market and help the investors ride out the storms.
The jungle is neutral. It does not care how much money you paid to the guide. It is oblivious to your name, title, position, or popularity. You may spot an animal, or you may not. The probability of a CEO being able to see an animal is exactly the same as that of say the office boy. The jungle is neutral. You have to follow the rules of the jungle. So are financial markets. The market does not care about your position or title or even the size of your pocket.
The financial market is also like a jungle. It is neutral. It does not care how much money you start with or it does not care what your educational qualifications are. You have to follow the rules of the financial market. And some most basic rules are, “buy low, sell high”; “plan well and stay the course”; “do your independent research instead of following the crowd”. So simple to state but so difficult to follow.
It is the guide, who is supposed to help you navigate through the jungle. Whether you spot a big cat or not, the guide can only play a small role. Whether you will get a ten-bagger opportunity or not, the financial advisor can only help you be in a position to benefit if the opportunity arrives.
And like we cannot blame the guide for the change in weather, one cannot blame an advisor if the economy turns bad. The guide has to help you ensure that you were prepared enough to take care of the unforeseen situations.
The financial advisor’s role is akin to that of the guide in the jungle. One has to know what all can go wrong and help the clients prepare for the unforeseen events. At the same time, the financial advisor positions the client portfolio in a way that it can profit from the opportunities.
As someone has said, “You cannot direct the winds, but you can adjust the sails.” The financial advisor helps build a boat and then adjust the sails.
Remember, the jungle is neutral. And, so are the financial markets.

The views expressed here are solely of the author. He can be reached at

Investment mantras from Rahul Dravid - my article as published on

Adieu the Great Wall of India. Indian cricket and the fans will miss you, Rahul. 
It was his finest qualities that separate a champion from an ordinary sportsman. He showed the world how the old-school qualities like hard work and concentration - focus on the job at hand - can take you to the top and maintain the position for years.
At some point in his career, in one of his interviews, Rahul Dravid said: "It's not easy to concentrate for 10 hours. You switch on and off. You push yourself. Your mind wanders, but you bring it back. You steel yourself. That's the real beauty, when you win the battle against yourself." Profound, simply profound!
The stuff champions are made of! In fact, the same qualities are required in many areas of life. And investing is definitely one of those.
Dravid explained what is required to be successful in playing a long innings. It's difficult to concentrate on what is required to play a long innings. Batsmen play rash shots and throw their wickets, they get out in the nervous nineties, they become adventurous - they lose concentration. Playing a 20-20 game requires one to be adventurous, but playing a long, hard fought test match innings requires completely different qualities. That is what allowed Rahul Dravid to play the maximum number of balls for any test batsman. It was also his sheer concentration that he holds the record for the highest number of catches for a non-wicketkeeper.
Investing for life is akin to playing a test match. You do not need to hit the fours and sixes. You do not need to score at a fast pace. You need to hang around. You need to keep the scoreboard ticking. The most important thing is not to lose your wicket. In terms of investing, you need to keep getting returns on your investment such that you do not lose - (1) the principal, and (2) your purchasing power.
Very often one gets overconfident. Even when it is not necessary, one tries to take risks. Very often, one forgets the goal and panics only to run away from risks. Both may yield unfavourable results for the investor.
Investing is really a battle against one's own self. As the Dean of Investing said, "The investor's chief problem - and his worst enemy is likely to be himself."
Thanks Rahul Dravid for reinforcing the belief that the first step to success is to focus on the goal and then concentrate on the job at hand. Any deviation would be harmful to one's financial health.
- Amit Trivedi
The author runs Karmayog Knowledge Academy. He can be reached at

Monday, March 19, 2012

Importance of evaluating right information

Do you like your pizza cut in 6 pieces or 8? Does it matter how many pieces you cut it into? The calories consumed would be the same. Same logic applies to mutual fund NAV or the share prices.

Read my article in Mumbai Samachar - મુંબઈ સમાચાર

Investor of today does not profit from yesterday's growth

Past performance may not be sustained in future - how true is this innocent looking line in mutual fund advertisements:
Read my article in Mumbai Samachar - મુંબઈ સમાચાર

Control your destiny or someone else will

If you do not take charge of your life, you will be at the mercy of someone else.
Read my article in Mumbai Samachar - મુંબઈ સમાચાર

Getting regular income from mutual funds

Do you want regular income from your mutual fund investments? Here is a very efficient mechanism:

Read my article in Mumbai Samachar - મુંબઈ સમાચાર

How often should you check your portfolio's performance

Checking your portfolio's performance very often results into lower returns.

Article in Mumbai Samachar - મુંબઈ સમાચાર

Mantra for successful investing - Stay focused & be patient

Mumbai Samachar - મુંબઈ સમાચાર

Mumbai Samachar - મુંબઈ સમાચાર