Do you want to be a do-it-yourself investor?

Of course for earning that she had to spend R 240,000 to attend a 2 week course!
Image of money for representational purpose.
Image of money for representational purpose. (Photo | R Satish Babu, EPS)

I see people who cannot count beyond 3 want to be a DIY investor. Literally these people should not be investing without help, but then it is their problem, not mine. No. This is not a self-help group.

There are websites and blogs which keep asking you “If your broker is so smart how come he is not rich”. To me the question is “if your blogger is really smart and he wants to make money, why is he not rich enough not to blog”. Amusing but true. I saw an ad where a housewife tells her cousin that she earned $1200 with 2 weeks of foreign exchange trading. Of course for earning that she had to spend R 240,000 to attend a 2 week course!

How gullible. The internet took the Peter Lynch principle, and made it seem irresistible! We have made investing look very simple – especially equity investing. So there he was being manipulated by the blogs to listen to and understand Peter Lynch: using the Internet to learn about buying shares over the Internet. It worked — and “I did it all myself!”

Never before had the Peter Lynch Principle seemed so easy, seductive — and successful. The longish bull-run makes the Dunning-Kruger effect real! He had bought Infosys, HDFC bank, Asian Paints, Biocon, Reliance, and of course a bunch of low grade shares – and his total returns over 3 years was zero! He had also invested in a bunch of mutual fund schemes.

Then he joins a group – let us call it “Investing is Easy”. This page acts as a ‘dare’ page. Each guy or girl comes and says “I did this and it worked for me”. Remember we are all doctors who can prescribe without even doing an investigation!! Psychologist Marvin Zuckerman has written about a form of risk called “sensation seeking” behaviour. This kind of risk — people daring each other to push past the boundaries of normally acceptable behaviour — is largely a group phenomenon.

People will do things in a social group that they would never dream of doing in isolation. Or at least they claim to do it! So we believe all that we read in a blog – “I bought Infosys and made money” or “I did a SIP in ….and earned so much”. The biggest bulls shout the loudest, innumeracy is all prevalent, and we believe that all that we read in a blog (or vlog) or a web page are true. So we peacefully ignore our own track record, tax situation, and start believing all the shit we read. I met one investor who was doing a SIP in a fund which was to be taxed differently. I have met one investor who shifted from Regular to ‘direct’. Yes, she saved fees, but the capital gains hurt her real bank balance…

Some bloggers think and tell you “I can do it, so can you”. I have to read, assimilate, understand, experiment and then accept it full time. No, not easy, but commonly done.

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