Meeting financial goals without comparison

When you do something you wish to compare yourself to others. So when you start studying your parents tell you how well the neighbour’s children are studying.

Published: 11th April 2022 07:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th April 2022 07:14 AM   |  A+A-

Money, indian rupee, currency

Image of money for representational purpose. (Photo | R Satish Babu, EPS)

Express News Service

When you do something you wish to compare yourself to others. So when you start studying your parents tell you how well the neighbour’s children are studying. This may or may not be good, but this becomes a habit for us. 

However, we compare ourselves ONLY with people we know. In life we are allowed to choose our benchmarks. We are rarely told “don’t compare”. Rarely do parents discourage comparisons. So when our neighbour buys a bigger, better car, it may make us ‘competitive’. However, if somebody far richer than us - say a Virat Kohli or Deepika Padukone buys a `2 crore car, it does not impact us. We do not wish to compare with them.

When we start investing, we make ourselves miserable by comparing ourselves to the Index (how does it matter?) or to some experts like Naren Sankaran or Srinivas Ravuri -both successful fund managers. They have far more education (perhaps), training (surely) and experience (of course) and they have a huge team and resources with which to do their job.

Also it is their full-time job and they are perhaps the best in the field. If you are a young trader or a senior citizen investing in equity markets to combat inflation, why do you need an external benchmark like the Nifty or the Sensex? Or a fund manager whom you do not know? Why would you want to make yourself miserable that you got only 14% p.a. but the benchmark was at 15%? Does it really matter to anybody?

Are you trying to raise money in an NFO? 

This brings us to what Warren Buffett says - there are two ways to compare our deeds and results. One is to compare it to your own standards (internal) or with outsiders (External). When we manage our own money, there is no need to use a benchmark at all. If you can manage your money to meet your own Goals, be happy. Also remember that everyone has a view, but only few people have a microphone. Also success is spoken about far more and loudly compared to failure. If you see the photos that people put on social media, you do not know about the hundreds of photos that we destroy! We are all selective in what we show to the outside world. 

You need to see where you started and what success parameters you were chasing. That is a much better question to ask - rather than to see how the best fund managers are doing. Did you panic in 2009? What did you learn from that panic? Did you use that learning to buy more in March 2020? Or did you at least sit still without doing anything? Did you learn? 

When you are cooking food for your family, does it matter that there are many people who can cut vegetables much faster than you do? When you play cricket on a Sunday morning with the neighbours do you compare yourself to Virat Kohli? 

Likewise, enjoy your investing, especially if you can meet your goals and be happy.

PV subramanyam
writes at www.subramoney.com and has authored the best seller ‘Retire Rich - Invest C 40 a day’



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