Hailing from a small village in the Sitapur district of UP, my journey till Post-grad has been a financially tough one. Yet, somehow I managed. I remember coming to Lucknow at the age of 16 and stayed in the city to not only complete my Graduation and Post-graduation but also subsequently began my 39 years’ career in the public sector of the banking industry.
Considering my middle-class rural background, being risk averse was in my nature. I was more comfortable in securely saving my hard earned money for the future in the instruments qualifying for the standard deductions in Section 80C, that is in equity linked saving schemes of the mutual funds, insurance and other tax free bonds of the Government of India.
My first equity investment, though I cannot say in the share market, was in 2002, when the Union Bank of India came with its IPO and the share value was `16. I applied in staff quota and got around 3,000 plus shares. The share value soon touched `350 and more. After that, the bank came with a subsequent follow on offer, which I applied to and got some more shares.
If I remember correctly, it was the first time in 2006 or around, when I actively invested in the Reliance Natural and Reliance Power IPO based on a few of my friends’ feedback. It turned out to be a disaster and after this incident I withdrew and carried on with my continuous investments in mutual fund SIPs.
Till my retirement in 2012 from the bank, I had almost 85 per cent of my limited savings in the bank FDs because as a staff I was getting one per cent higher interest rate on the same and also was the safest investment I could think of.
Post retirement, on joining the private sector, I realised that life here was very different. Public sector was a professionally exciting and satisfying journey, non-financially. But seeing a little more money in the private sector, I realised that I should start investing some more in the stock market. Gradually I started investing around 10 per cent of my savings in equity shares in the banking sector and about 10-15 per cent in debt and equity mutual funds. But I am a very passive investor and do not actively trade. Till date, about 75 per cent of my savings continues to be in the bank fixed deposit receipt. Risk aversion is something, which has been embedded into my blood because of my long financial struggle. I thought whatever money God has blessed me with; I should not play with it and prioritise investment. My priority was to work with passion where I am working and money would be a by-product.
My second investment opportunity was in property and gold. During Akshaya Tritiya, Dhanteras or Diwali, I used buy some small amounts of gold or silver depending upon my capacity. I made my own house in Lucknow in 1988 by availing bank loans, which I quickly repaid in the next 10 years’ time. After retirement, I have been staying with my son. So I did not buy any property other than that one house in Lucknow and some agricultural land, which I have at my parental house.
Now at the age of 66 and a half, I do not want to venture into riskier instruments. If somebody wants take a lesson from me, I always say, unless you are an active trader, keep your core savings in safe investments and whatever surplus you have, approximately 30 to 50 per cent, depending on your risk appetite, you should invest riskier instruments in the market.
If you ask me, my story is neither very exciting nor great in terms of investments. I have always believed in being a Karma Yogi and enjoy life!