By Vinay Ahuja
As per a popular anecdote, to put an end to the quandary of choosing one of their sons for possessing the divine mango, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati decided to hold a competition between Ganesh and Kartikeya and honour the winner with the fruit. As per the terms, the first one to circle the world thrice would win. While Kartikeya quickly mounted his peacock and flew to circumnavigate the globe, Ganesh chose to orbit his parents, wittily stating that they are his world.
Referred to as Buddhinath in Sanskrit, Lord Ganesh is rightly regarded as the God of wisdom who continues to be an inspiration to many even today. A close observation of the deity’s body also goes on to show how he can be a wellspring of inspiration to investors as well.
Following are some of the many financial, particularly investment lessons, that Lord Ganesh inadvertently imparts and you can use to build a robust investment portfolio.
Be determined and disciplined: Even though it meant endangering his life, disciplined Lord Ganesh was determined to stop anybody from entering the house that Goddess Parvati was bathing in, even Lord Shiva. Aspire to build the same level of financial discipline in life. Spend cautiously, build savings, and invest regularly to both grow as well as preserve your wealth.
Make wise investment decisions: Lord Ganesh’s noticeably massive head represents open-mindedness, intelligence, and wisdom. Keep an open mind while exploring different investment ideas, but at the same time, do not proceed with any, unless you have fully researched them. Uninformed decisions often subject you to more uncertainties in an already volatile investment world. Also, be wise enough to steer clear of the herd mentality. Your investment plan must be unique and accommodative of your needs, risk appetite, and goals.
Don’t lose your focus: With a comparatively small pair of eyes, the lord of wisdom could concentrate on his tasks and move towards his goals undistracted. Set your investment goals straight and don’t let the volatility of markets disrupt your focus. Markets have always been characterised by ups and downs. But the key to investment success lies in having an investment perspective that is long just like Lord Ganesh’s trunk.
Avoid emotional investing: Lord Ganesh or Ekdantaya continued writing the Mahabharata by tugging one of his tusks when his quill broke. The act, which was neither accompanied by sorrow nor fear, exemplifies why it is important to eschew behavioural biases and emotional decision-making in favour of decisions that are tethered to your asset allocation strategy. Not getting swayed by emotions while investing is a good trait to have. Emotional investing can cause losses. For example, you may end up holding an investment for too long or selling it too soon when it would have been prudent to do otherwise.
Grow your risk appetite: Lord Ganesh or Lambodara’s big stomach signifies his ability to consume everything, the good and bad. This is essential when creating a long-term investment portfolio that can optimally address your multiple goals while both growing as well as preserving your wealth. While it is certainly not advisable to take more risk than you can absorb, it might be possible for you to grow your risk tolerance over a period of time and accordingly increase exposure to wealth creation tools like equities.
Keep a balanced portfolio: Lord Ganesh has a sharp axe in one of his hands and a soft flower in another. Taking a cue from this, aim to create a diversified portfolio of investments that ably balances the exposure between high-risk and potentially high-return investments like equities and low-risk but stable return investments like debt. Further, do not limit yourself to just these two. Also explore other investment solutions like structured debt, InvITs, REITs, etc., in a bid to create an optimally balanced portfolio.
Do not stop investing: Although Ganesh Chaturthi is an annual 10-day long festival, Lord Ganesh is worshiped and invoked always. Continuity matters while investing too. As against sporadic investments, regular investments allow your money to grow through compounding. For example, a monthly Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) of Rs. 1 lakh invested for a period of 20 years and compounding at the rate of 12% per annum has the potential to grow to approximately Rs. 10 crores. The earlier you start investing, the more wealth you can accumulate with the power of compounding because you not only earn returns on your original investment but also on the returns that keep adding to it.
Give ear to expert advice: Also known as Lambakarna, Lord Ganesh’s long and big ears demonstrate his ability to listen carefully. Paying heed to expert advice can help you make favourable investment decisions. But also ensure to use your wisdom to filter out unauthentic or faulty advice and information. Always trust genuine and reliable sources before acting.
Just as the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is for one and all, investment planning must be undertaken by everyone irrespective of their age, income, and gender. And there is never a dearth of inspiration or motivation to begin investing in a diverse country like India.
(Vinay Ahuja, Executive Director, IIFL Wealth. Views expressed are the author’s own.)