From Monday to Friday Anjali Sen (name changed) has a set schedule, and nothing changes it. She wakes up at 5:30 a.m., supervises the help, makes breakfast, packs her kids to school, and tidies her house.
All the while, she watches the clock hanging in the drawing room. As the clock strikes 9.00 a.m., she settles before the television and turns to the financial news channels.
Her mobile phone is fully charged, a bottle of water is kept on the table, and lunch is placed on the dining table as well. There she sits until 3.15 p.m., like in a trance, looking at numbers, calling the broker and buying and selling.
How time flies by from 9:00 to 3:15 is a mystery, she says. She maintains a little black diary, in which she diligently makes a note of all her buys and sells. Once the children are settled for the night, she opens up her diary and does a quick calculation of how much she has made (or lost).
The cycle restarts the next morning.
This is a not an isolated story among Indian homemakers now. They are entering the world of the stock markets and revelling in it.
We spoke to a few homemakers about this and here is what they said to us.
Anu Rai Pramod is a qualified Company Secretary who chose to stay home and look after her family. She started investing in stocks a few years ago, and the sheer convenience of it is what drew her to it.
“What I liked the most is that I could invest sitting in my own home.”
Anu makes an important distinction between an investor and a trader. She calls herself an investor.
“I think through my investments strategically. I study the fundamentals of the company before I take the plunge. Most of my investments are for a long-term period. While one can make good money through daily trading as well, I am not cut out for that,” she says.
“With investing I feel like I am part of so many companies all at once. My portfolio is diverse; I have stocks of pharmaceuticals, breweries, real estate and telecom, among others.”
The takeaway from Anu: Decide what you have the appetite for. If you want to stay invested for a long period, then become an investor. If your risk appetite is large and you like the adrenalin rush that trading gives you, then day trading it is.
Punam Sharmah worked with a media house before starting her own research firm. A decade later, she says she was completely ‘burned out’ and wanted to sit back. “I had accumulated some monies from my years of work and wanted to invest that,” she says.
Having seen the evolution of trading, she says, “I burnt my fingers having invested during the Harshad Mehta scam and decided to stay away after that.”
“The scenario during those years was completely different though. One had to rely on the broker; you didn’t have such easy access to information. Today it is all possible at the click of a button, and that makes it easier,”
Punam like many others was sceptical initially and would watch the various television channels and follow their calls. “I realised after losing money that most of the calls they made were for trading and I was looking at longer-term investment options.”
Having made mistakes, Punam learnt the ropes of investing and is much more comfortable and in control today.
The takeaway from Punam: Get yourself an online trading account. Start researching on various online portals that discuss the markets and chose one that you are most comfortable with. Your own bank might be a good place to start with. The returns you can make by the right investments are certainly more than what your bank interest rates or the fixed deposits will give you. So take the plunge!
Parul Bhargava Sharma is what we would call a reluctant investor who has become a seasoned investor. “I was studying; doing my MBA but I had to give that up and support my office due to a family exigency. That sort of pushed me into the markets. I started as a very nervous and sceptical investor.”
“I was the student who hated math and anything to do with numbers and here I was looking at numbers all day long.”
Parul’s husband and father-in-law are investment veterans who helped her along the way. “I remember my fifth wedding anniversary when I carried my laptop to lunch. I will never forget the stares I got from people around me. Since then there has also been no looking back. I often carry my laptop into the kitchen too,” she says.
Having appeared for the NISM certification, all investments that Parul now makes for her clients go out in her name. “That has empowered me so much. Knowing that I am self-taught and have come this far gives me immense satisfaction,” she says.
The takeaway from Parul: Set your own rules. Remember that you are the boss and you have the flexibility to work as you wish. If you feel strongly about staying away from certain sectors, then do that. It is essential to be comfortable in what you are investing. Learn to embrace the profits and losses!
A general word of caution: It is very easy to get carried away by these stories and start investing in the markets. Always remember that equity investments are risky, and are subject to high levels of fluctuations. More than anything, one needs discipline and the ability to bear losses.
In order to be a successful investor: If you think you have it in you, please do venture, but with caution.
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