A few months back, I attended a conference on Financial Planning in Mumbai. One of the speakers at the conference was a well known CEO of an Asset Management Company. What I liked about his presentation was that when everyone else was talking about financial planning for individuals, he opened his speech with a very strong statement: Warren Buffett did not do any financial planning!
And this set the tone for rest of his presentation.
Now, beware of acting on that statement alone. We are not Warren Buffett. Right? And as an common people, we do need to do atleast some bit of planning, when it comes to money.
But the main theme of the presentation was to demonstrate the power of equities and more importantly, the real meaning of investing.
And he shared a very powerful example, which clearly showed that the stock markets do have the potential to change our living standards.
In rest of the post, I will try to recreate that example here:
Suppose you have Rs 8 lacs. And you want to use this money to buy a car.
Now which car can you buy in that amount?
A Honda Amaze (a higher end version costs about Rs 8 Lacs)
Honda Amaze – A Mid Segment Car
Now suppose that when you were just about to go out and buy your dream car, a friend walks into your house and tells you that he is in need of money. He asks you to lend Rs 8 lacs to him.
You feel confused and slightly sad. But you lend him that money. After all, what else are friends there for?
Five years later, that friend returns you the money, but without interest. Now you have got back your Rs 8 Lacs…but after 5 years.
So now you once again make up your mind to go and buy the car.
But which car can you buy with this amount? Can you buy what you had originally planned for?
I don’t think so…if you consider inflation.
So in simple words, you cannot buy Honda Amaze, as prices would have increased in last 5 years.
Probably you can still buy a smaller car – Honda Brio (prices would have risen to Rs 8 lacs in next 5 years)
Honda Brio – A Small Segment Car
Now suppose that this friend returns your money – Rs 8 Lacs with interest.
Now which car can you buy with this amount?
Probably you can buy your original choice – Honda Amaze
Lets assume that inflation in car prices and interest percentage given by your friend are equal.
But wait a minute…
Your friend returning money to you, with interest is similar to a bank giving interest on your fixed deposit. Right?
And many people consider bank deposits as investments. Isn’t it?
But Warren Buffett said:
Investing is forgoing consumption nowin order to have the ability to consume more at a later date.
And I repeat, with emphasis:
Investing is forgoing consumption now in order to have the ability to consume more at a later date.
Key points in this quote by Buffett are:
forgoing consumption now
consume more at a later date
But as seen in Part 3, you are only able to buy a car (Amaze), which you were capable of buying even 5 years back.
So in a way, you are not capable of consumingmorein future when you put money in fixed deposits in banks. Even though you sacrificed buying it in present.
So what would you like to have if you forgo present day consumption to invest? If we go by the definition of investing given by Buffett, you should be able to buy more.
In this case, you should be able to buy a car bigger than Honda Amaze. Isn’t it?
May be you should be able to buy a Honda City, worth Rs 13 Lacs (in today’s price).
Honda City – An Upper Segment Car
Or if you can wait more, say 7 years…then probably you should be able to buy an even bigger high-end luxury car like…. Honda CRV (today’s price Rs 22 Lacs).
Honda CR-V – A luxury SUV
But putting your money in safe deposits will not increase its buying power. It will at most be a good option to preserve that buying power.
Only equities offer the potential of turning Rs 8 lacs to something more than Rs 13 lacs, which can help you buy a bigger car.
And that is the real power of investing in equities. You can improve your living standards and not just maintain your living standards.
Powerful thought. Think about it.
Note 1 – The car brand and models used in this example are only for illustrative purposes.
Note 2 – Please don’t think that I am promoting any high-end product, brand or AMC here. This example is primarily about how equities are better store of purchasing power than safer options like fixed deposits, etc.
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