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Why I have failed to invest like my parents?


 Why I have failed to invest like my parents?
Each time my dad would skim through his investment file, I remember seeing those Raymond Woollen (now Raymond Ltd) share certificates which were almost in a forlorn condition, as a result of my dad holding onto it for almost 20 years.

In fact, in the mid-90s, all share certificates had to be de-materialised and compulsorily converted to electronic shares and my dad had to surrender his Raymond Woolen Mills share certificates. He still remained a shareholder converting the certificates into electronic form and remained a shareholder of Raymond until his death. Ditto for his shares in German chemicals multinational, BASF.


Mom, rarely sells her holding and has been a original shareholder (ever since the IPO) of companies like ICICI Bank and BSES (now Reliance Infrastructure). In fact, mom has held onto the shares of Asian Paints for several decades which has given her whopping returns.

The moot point is that long term investing has paid-off. Ask shareholders of Infosys, Bajaj Auto, Reliance Industries, Asian Paints, Titan Industries, TTK Prestige, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and scores of others.

I have never been able to generate wealth as shareholder like my parents. I have lacked discipline of a long term investor and sell for short term gains, losing more over the longer term. I have never tried to do what Warren Buffet and my parents did - buying a stock to never sell it.

For the bulk of the last 20 years, I have invested in stocks that lack pedigree are more speculative, so as to ensure that I have immediate gains. This has ensured that more often then not, I end-up losing money. Dad was never a financial journalist like me, nor was an investment analyst, but he bought into companies with sound management and a strong pedigree. That held him in good stead.


The other big deterrent for me has been investment advisors, which are a dime a dozen these days, who have some reckless predictions to make and stupid stocks to recommend. I recently read a wishy-washy article that the Sensex could be at 60,000 by 2017.

I hope someday to develop the temperament and discipline for long term investing. For smaller investors the suggestion will always remain to look for companies with good potential, sound management and lap them up forever.

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