Case Study – How a 10-Year delay can Destroy your ‘Get-Rich’ Plan?

It’s not easy to become rich. And while making such a statement, I am ready to ignore the definition of ‘Rich’ too. If you don’t consider yourself to be rich, then you already know how tough it is to become one.
And just to verify the concept of ‘Being-Rich-Is-Difficult’, go out and ask someone you consider to be rich. I am sure that they will also tell you that it is not easy to become rich. And it’s even tougher to stay rich.
But no matter what anybody else tells you, my view is that the biggest tool you have in your journey to become rich is Time. If you have time on your side, even small amounts can become eye-popping(ly) huge – as you will see in this case study.
So lets get straight into a some numbers….


There are two friends named Vineet and Raunak. Both are of same age (25) and earn decent amounts of money, which theoretically gives them the option of investing a fixed amount every year (after expenses).
Scenario 1:
Vineet is frugal and believes in saving. He knows that he does not have a rich inheritance and hence, needs to save for himself and his family. Vineet starts investing Rs 1 lac every year. But he does this only for 10 years between the age of 25 and 35, i.e. he saves a lac rupees every year for 10 years and then stops.
His total contribution is Rs 10 lacs (between age 25 and 35).
Raunak on the other hand thinks that since he is quite young, he can postpone saving/investing for future. He thinks that if he does not save starting from the age 25, and does it after a few years…even then he will be able to become very rich.
So in this example, Raunak starts investing the same amount as Vineet (Rs 1 lac) at the age of 35 and continues doing it upto the age of 60.
Raunak’s total contribution is Rs 25 lacs (between age 35 and 60).
Now comes the day of reckoning. Both have reached the age of 60.
What’s your guess? Who has more money at age 60?
It might sound surprising, but the answer is Vineet. Having contributed just Rs 10 lacs, Vineet now owns a huge corpus of Rs 6.65 Crores!!
And what about Raunak? The answer is that he becomes rich too. But having contributed Rs 25 lacs, he has accumulated a much smaller corpus of Rs 2.36 Crores. And that is despite having invested for 15 more years than Vineet.
Scenario 1: Vineet (Rs 6.65 Crores) – Raunak (Rs 2.36 Crores)
Here is the calculation sheet for your reference. The return assumption in this and further scenarios is 14% per annum.

Delay in Investing Scenario 1
Lets go on and evaluate a few more scenarios…
Scenario 2:
Vineet is still frugal and still believes in saving. Like the first scenario, Vineet here also invests Rs 1 lac every year from the 25 to age 35. But Raunak has changed. Though Raunak still does not save anything between the age 25 and 35, he now does realize the power of compounding. So he decides to invest the double amount (than that of Vineet) between the age 35 and 60.
That is, Raunak invests Rs 2 lacs every year for 25 years.
So in this particular case…
Vineet’s total contribution is Rs 10 lacs (between age 25 and 35).
Raunak’s total contribution is Rs 50 lacs (between age 35 and 60).
Once again, the day of reckoning arrives and both reach the age of 60. What’s your guess now? Who has more money at 60?
Answer once again, and surprisingly enough is Vineet!
Vineet still attains a corpus of Rs 6.65 Crores as in the first scenario. But Raunak after doubling his investments is still able to reach Rs 4.73 Crores. Now you see? This is the power of investing early. And so big can be the difference when you delay your investments. 
Here is the calculation sheet for your reference.
Delay in Investing Scenario 2

Scenario 2: Vineet (Rs 6.65 Crores) – Raunak (Rs 4.73 Crores)

Lets move on to other scenarios now…
Scenario 3:
Now lets make this analysis more realistic. As we progress in life, our incomes generally rise. And so do our expenses. So shouldn’t our investments and savings also rise with time?
Suppose you start your career earning Rs 20,000 a month. And you also start investing Rs 5000 a month at that time. After a few years, your salary is almost Rs 70,000. And if you are still investing just Rs 5000, then you are fooling yourself. Investing is done for one’s own future. And it’s one’s own responsibility to maximize it as soon as possible.
So lets get back to this new scenario.
Here Vineet starts by investing Rs 1 lac at the age of 25. But over the next 10 years, he increases his yearly investment by a small 5%. So over a period of 10 years (between 25 and 35), he invests Rs 12.58 lacs.
On the other hand, Raunak starts late at 35 with Rs 1 lac a year. But he also starts earning more and more every year and is able to increase his yearly investments by 10% (double that of Vineet’s 5%). His total contribution over a period of 25 years (between 35 and 60) is Rs 98.3 lacs.
Day of reckoning…
I wont even ask you this time. 🙂
Once again, Vineet has more money when he retires at 60!! Vineet manages Rs 7.94 Crores in comparison to Rs 5.08 Crores accumulated by Raunak.
Isn’t this amazing? Starting as early as possible and just investing for few years and then just waiting. And after a few decades, you have more money than someone who started late, invested many times more than what you invested.
This is indeed the 8thWonder of the World. We need to give standing ovation to the concept of Compounding. 🙂
Here is the sheet for 3rdscenario’s calculation.
Delay in Investing Scenario 3
Scenario 3: Vineet (Rs 7.94 Crores) – Raunak (Rs 5.08 Crores)
So lets move on to the 4thscenario.
Scenario 4:
There is only one change in this scenario over the 3rd one. I am making this scenario more realistic. And the change I am making in this one is based on the question that why should Vineet stop investing at age of 35? Shouldn’t he continue further and upto the age of 60?
So here is it….Vineet does not stop investing at 35. He continues investing upto 60 and increasing his contribution by 5% every year. Compared to him, Raunak increases his contribution 10% every year.
To cut the long story short, after 60 years, Vineet has Rs 13.3 Crores and Raunak has Rs 5.08 Crores.
I have nothing more to say for this scenario. 🙂
Scenario 4: Vineet (Rs 13.30 Crores) – Raunak (Rs 5.08 Crores)
Here is the sheet for your reference.
Delay in Investing Scenario 4
I can go on and on with more scenarios but that would only help the case of investing early, which we have already proven in previous four scenarios. For example, we can reduce the return assumption from 14% to smaller numbers, etc. But the point which I am trying to make through this post, is, that there are some really amazing benefits of starting early when it comes to investing.
You can start later and still get to the same final corpus. But that would require you to earn much higher rates of returns…and that too for many years – which is neither easy nor practical.
And just to illustrate this, here is the 5th scenario 🙂
Scenario 5:
Vineet invests Rs 1 Lac for 10 years (from 25 to 35)
Vineet’s Return assumption = 14%
Corpus at age 60 = Rs 6.6 Crores
On the other hand,
Raunak invests Rs 1 Lac for 25 years (from 35 to 60)
Raunak’s Return assumption = 20%
Corpus at age 60 = Rs 6.8 Crores
Scenario 5: Vineet (Rs 6.6 Crores @ 14%) – Raunak (Rs 6.8 Crores @ 20%)
Both have accumulated almost same corpus after reaching 60. And Raunak has started 10 years late and invested for 15 more years. But do you think 20% per year return can be attained? I don’t think so. It’s almost impossible. It is not a reasonable expectation to have.
For your reference, here is the calculation sheet of Scenario 5
Delay in Investing Scenario 5
All these five scenarios show that if you start early, you don’t need to earn eye-popping rates of returns to accumulate big sums of money. All you need is time. And when you start early, you have a hell lot of time. The earlier you start, longer does your money have the time to grow.
And to end this analysis, I leave you with a very small 4-Step guide to help you become amazingly rich:

1) Start early

If possible, invest from the day you start earning your first salary. You would be surprised at how much these small amounts can increase when invested for long periods of time.

2) Treat Investments as Monthly Bills and be regular with them.

Unless and until you have the discipline to invest regularly, you can forget about accumulating a large corpus by the time your retire. You should invest first and then use remaining money for expenses.

3) Do whatever it takes to maximize the amount you can invest

First thing is that no matter what happens, you need to invest regularly. And in case you have surplus money, make it a point to invest as much of it as possible.

4) Be patient. And in long term, you will need loads of it

One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they withdraw/touch the money they start accumulating. The biggest problem of compounding, or I should say the power (not available to many) is that it works best, when you do not disturb it. In initial few years, the results will seem extremely slow. And you will start losing your faith on it. But hold on. In a few more years, you will realize the power of compounding.
This post clearly indicates that there is price to be paid for any delay in investing. And mind you, this price is not small. You can delay and still become rich.  But remember that the biggest side effect of procrastination (when investing) is that you will not become as rich as you might have become, had you not procrastinated.

Investing Later Now Procrastination

So irrespective of your age, do not wait any further. Go on…Now is the time to begin investing for long-term. And remember that the cost of delaying your investment is enormous. Even one year makes a huge difference.

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Focusing on Cashbacks & Reward Points Won’t Make You Rich – But There is Something Else that will

If you use mobile apps and websites to buy products regularly, chances are that you would be hearing these 2 words a lot in recent items – Cashbacks & Reward Points.

Now who doesn’t love a little cashback here and a few reward points there?

Nothing wrong with it. It is just an extension of the concept of ‘Saving Money’. But what I feel is that there are many people out there, who are focusing a ‘little too much’ on these cashbacks and reward points. 

And they are doing this for hours at stretch. They are constantly searching for better deals.

Again…I say that there is nothing wrong here. All these are ways of saving money indirectly.

But there is something about the concept of SAVING which we often ignore. There is a limit to how much we can save. You might be earning Rs 50,000 a month. As of now, you are able to save Rs 10,000 a month. And if you can get some better deals and cashbacks, then you might be able to save an additional thousand or two a month more. That’s it.

So all in all, you would have saved Rs 12,000. That’s it. Could you do better than this? Yes. You could have cornered some better deals and more cashbacks.

But there is a limit. Limit to how much you can save. At most, you can save is Rs 50,000. Isn’t it? On an income of Rs 50,000 it is impossible to save Rs 51,000.

The formula is simple:


Income – Expenses + Cashbacks = Savings


You can control your expenses & increase your cashbacks. But only upto a limit… And that puts a limit to how much you can save.

Savings Cashbacks Income


So doesn’t it make sense to focus more of your energy and time on something which you can increase?

I think it does. And I am talking about INCOME part of it.

Honestly speaking, there is no limit to how much you can increase your income. But there is a limit to how much you can save. And I feel that this is the reason why as a country, even after having one of the highest savings rate in the world, we are still poor. We focus so much on savings that we essentially forget, that we can also increase our income…and there is no limit to it.

Just think about it.

This post makes me think about the debate between Earning More Vs Spending Less. Will probably jot down my thoughts and share it with you all sometime soon. What are your thoughts on this…?


PS 1 – By increasing income, I don’t mean salary increases.

PS 2 – The formula above is just to show limitations of savings. It should ideally be (Income – Savings/Investments = Expenses).

5 Stock Picking Criteria for Those who don’t know much about Stock Analysis & Finance

Note – This is a guest post by Anoop. Anoop refers to himself as a work-in-progress investor, who combines fundamental value principles with a mildly contrarian streak. He believes a large part of investing success depends on overcoming our behavioral biases. Read more about him at The Calm Investor.
You subscribe to websites and blogs that focus on “Value Investing”.

Your twitter list is full of people who comment on capital market topics ranging from macroeconomics to investing advice.

You’ve read “The Intelligent Investor”, the timeless classic by Ben Graham from cover to cover.

You devour Buffett’s letters to BRK’s shareholders and can recall his legendary quotes on wealth and investing verbatim.

Except, you’re a science / engineering / philosophy / (other non-finance) major and didn’t learn about balance sheets in college. You sometimes unsuccessfully stifle a yawn when hearing about “stock buybacks” and “convertible debentures”. Phrases like “capitalized expenses” and “adjustments for extraordinary income” make the task of identifying strong investment-worthy companies sound as difficult as trying to pilot a commercial aircraft, without the training.

Is investing tough
Most of all, you wish there was a way to bridge the gap between the abundantly available philosophy of sound investing with more practical ways to identify your own set of stocks in the Indian market.

While each investor evolves their own investing strategy, here are five specific things an investor should consider before deciding on investing in a company:


1) Not a Serial Borrower

Growing up in India, we’re brought up to be reluctant borrowers, with good reason. A loan is a promise to pay back the borrowed money over a set time period with cost of the borrowed money in the form of interest.

Just like other expenses can’t get in the way of making an EMI payment, in a corporate setting, a debt-holder has first claim on the company’s profits. Only after the interest is paid do the equity shareholders have access to the profit pool. To make matters worse, in a “poor” year when sales and profits dip, the debt-holder can choose to sell off the company’s assets to make his money back, in the process liquidating your investment.

Since every company is almost certain to face lean times depending on economic cycles, a company that borrows consistently is a higher risk investment than one that does not.

Where to look:

On the Profit & Loss statement, look for the ‘Interest’ payment and compare it to ‘Profit before Depreciation, Interest and Tax’ (PBDIT). If the Interest payment constitutes a significant percentage of PBDIT, that’s a warning sign that the company has large borrowing and might be a risky equity investment

Example
Tata Motors shows an increasing debt burden, interest as percentage of PBDIT increasing from 2010 to 2014. Note how the interest payments have not varied significantly year-on-year, the sharp drop in profits means added pressure on being able to make interest payments.

Tata Motors Interest Burden
2) Busy Cash Registers

Next time you go to a busy Udipi restaurant at lunchtime, notice the frenetic activity in the place. Customers walk in, are quickly directed to tables, their orders taken, food served usually in under 10 mins. They are out the door soon after, their money making its way into the cash register manned by the watchful proprietor overseeing the entire operation. Pay attention and you’ll hear the slamming of the cash register quite a few times in the short space of time you wait for your meal.

Now imagine if you walked up to this gentleman and offered to bring him your lunch business every day for the next year. He’ll be pretty happy about that. But then you add that you will only pay at the end of the year, if you have the money. You don’t need to be a master investor to guess the proprietor’s reaction to such a proposal. You’ll need to find a new lunch place.

Many publicly listed businesses however routinely use such practices, albeit in more sophisticated form, in order to show sales and accounting profit growth. Simply put, they show earnings and profits that are not a reality in the present and are only a probability at some time in the future.

A company that generates cash earnings from its core business that are reasonably close to its accounting earnings is a healthier and safer investment

Where to look:

On the Cash-Flow Statement, look for ‘Cash Flow from Operations’ (CFO) over a five year period and compare against PBDIT on the P&L statement. While CFO will not likely match PBDIT, ideally, you want to see it constitute a significant part of accounting earnings.

Example

The cement manufacturer, Grasim Industries, shows an alarming decline in cash generated from operations even as it’s PBDIT has declined at a much slower rate, raising questions about the health of its core business

Cash Flow From Operations
3) Grows, but without Steroids

As of early March 2015, the Nifty is trading at a Price-Earnings (P/E) of 23.14. Another way to think about this is that we pay ₹23.14 for every ₹1 in earnings being delivered.

Think about that for a second. If I offered to pay you ₹1 on March 31st each year for the foreseeable future in exchange for a one-time payment today of ₹23, how would you react? Doesn’t look like a good deal. Instead, if I offered you ₹1 growing at a steady rate of 10% per year each year for the next 20 or so years, you’d be receiving ₹1.61 by year 5, ₹2.60 by year 10 thus making it a much more attractive proposition.

The prospect of future earnings growth plays a large part in determining price of a share and a company that has significant growth prospects is a far more attractive investment than one with the same current earnings but no growth prospects.

The impact of reported quarterly earnings growth on stock prices is not lost on company managements. So they often apply methods ranging from short-term focused (e.g. dropping price for volume growth, deferring essential investment) to downright unethical (e.g. accounting sleight of hand to capitalize operating expenses) to show growth. An investor should therefore look beyond just Earnings per Share (EPS) growth while assessing the growth track record of a company.

Where to look:

Since any estimate of the future is already wrong, look at growth rates over the last five years; revenue, operating profit, earnings per share and cash-flow from operations. Specifically look for deviations across these metrics, a high revenue growth rate with stagnating operating profit or declining cash-flows might signal management is facing challenges with growing profitably.

Example

The Aditya Birla Group’s flagship company Hindalcohas shown reasonable sales growth over the last 5 years, however other metrics like PBDIT, Dividend / share and Earnings / share have dipped over the same time period indicating worsening efficiency of running the business thus putting pressure on returns to shareholders
Sales & Other Growth
4) Boring in its Consistency

“In fiction: we find the predictable boring. In real life: we find the unpredictable terrifying.” 

― Mokokoma Mokhonoana

Replace “real life” with “investing” and the quote still holds. While it’s exciting to not know what’s coming as you turn the pages of a murder mystery or a political thriller, you can do without that kind of excitement from the companies you invest in. A company that shows 40% growth in sales and earnings one quarter and a 70% drop the next might be a good business, but the difficulty in arriving at a fair value for such a company with any kind of confidence makes it a questionable common stock investment.

Mind you, consistency in this context doesn’t mean sameness or lack of growth, but a steadily increasing graph of the key measures of revenue and earnings, accounting as well as in cash. Look carefully and there a significant number of such companies that show dependable growth, margins and earnings.

What if the sector that the company operates in has inherent unpredictability? It’s hardly the management’s fault you might say. You’re right, but as an investor, you have the luxury of letting as many potential investments go by as you please until you find the ones that check all your boxes.

While consistency on its own does not make a good investment, a company that measures up well on your other criteria while also being operationally consistent is a safer investment.

Where to look:

Instead of absolute numbers, look at the extent to which key metrics on the P&L and Cash-flow statements change one year to the next

Example
Glaxo Smithkline shows significant variation in growth rates from one year to the next as shown by the trend lines. This volatility makes it difficult for an investor to predict what might be coming over the next few years
Glaxo Sales Profit Growth
Compare GSK’s growth rates to ITCand you see more consistent growth one year to the next as demonstrated by the more stable trend lines.
ITC Sales Profit Growth
5) Offers (some) Yield
So far, none of the points made touch upon the all-important aspect of “price” of a stock. This one does, but in an indirect manner.
Investing is all about opportunity cost: “What else could I be doing or earning with the money I choose to invest in a stock?”
Before choosing to invest ₹100 in the stock of a company, you could choose to spend it on watching a movie, put it in a Fixed Deposit to earn an annual interest rate of ~9% or leave it in your savings account giving you flexibility to choose later but also earn ~4%.
Yield refers to the annual payment that the company pays out, in the form of dividends as a percentage of the price of the stock. Given that the primary reason for buying a stock is the gradual but significant expected price appreciation over time, an investor can’t expect high annual yields. However, can a stock compensate me, at least partly, for the loss of flexibility of having access to my money?
As of 16th March 2015, the Nifty’s yield stood at 1.27. Simply put, you get ₹1.27 as annual dividend for ₹100 you invest. As you’d expect, this number varies when considered at a stock-specific level.
Since dividend policies do not change frequently, even a modest but regular yield represents a prudent management that works to ensure that there are enough “cash earnings” to pay out dividends regularly.
Think of it like the test email that you send yourself to ensure your email account and the 3G phone connection are working fine. Regular dividends serve as a reminder that the business is operating as it should. As long as the company is not borrowing to pay out dividends, a steady dividend is a healthy sign.
Where to look:
Look for total ‘Equity Dividend’ paid out as a percentage of Net profit and Cash Flow from Operations over a period of time.
Example

Bajaj Auto is a consistent dividend payer as shown by the table below. It has maintained a steady payout as a percentage of both net profit and cash flow from operations indicating sustainability. When seen in the context of the prevailing share price, the company has managed to provide a yield of just under 3% which is close to the post-tax interest from a savings account
Bajaj Auto dividends
While identifying a great stock involves other factors, including qualitative aspects of the industry and a generous dose of luck, for the long-term investor, investing in stocks that do well on the criteria above, offers a good probability of healthy returns.

Case Study – Do You Have Surplus Money To Put Aside for 5+ Years? Then You Should Read This


Note – This is a guest post by Ajay who sometime back, shared his experiences with Mutual Fund investing in the post titled HowI Created a Corpus of Rs 3.7 Crores in 10 Years and its second part.
Go and ask any financial advisor about the best available options for investing for average investors, and chances are that he will recommend using SIP (or Systematic Investment Plan) and rightly so (as proved here).
But while SIP may be the best tool for someone who wants to slowly and steadily build wealth using monthly investments…what should a person do if he has surplus money to invest?
Let us suppose you have Rs 10 Lacs to spare. Where will you put that money? Savings Account? Fixed Deposits? Or direct stocks? (But no matter what you do, please don’t do this with Your Rs 10 Lacs)
Or would you do a SIP or STP (Systematic Transfer Plan)?
But what if you somehow, decide to invest the entire amount in one go? And if invested in one go, what should be the time frame for that investment? And what are the risks involved in doing so?
This post is a case study to answer some of the above questions.
But before we go ahead with this case study, let us try to answer a few questions as honestly as possible:

  1. Do you feel comfortable investing lump sum money in Equity Funds?
  2. If yes, what is the time frame you are comfortable with for this investment? – 1 year / 3 years / 5 years / 7 years / 10 years.
  3. Do you think a 5-Year Tax Free FD returns would be safer (and more) than a Mutual Fund for the same duration?

So now lets go ahead with our analysis…
For the purpose of this case study, I have chosen Franklin India Prima Plus Equity Fund (FIPPF). And returns of this fund have been compared with return of a 5-Year Tax Free Fixed Deposit. There is no specific reason for choosing this fund. It is more of a random choice. In fact this fund does not feature in the list of top funds regularly – but has been a steady performer in the long term. It is also a diversified large cap oriented fund and owns high quality stocks.
A period of 20 years (i.e. starting from 1995 and upto 2015) was considered for this study. This period has been full of economic booms and recessions and dull periods. As we are evaluating 5-Year period, in 20 years between 1995 and 2015, we have a total of 16 Five-Year periods.
5-Year annualized return of FIPPF was calculated as per the NAV of the fund – based on the investment start and end dates. Accordingly, value of Rs 1 Lac invested in FIPPF for each of these 16 Five-year periods was calculated. 
For comparison, the above calculation was repeated for all these 16 Five Year Periods for 5-Year Tax Free Deposits. (The Interest rate for 5 year FD for each corresponding period was taken from RBI website.)
Note 1 – Sensex PE Ratio for all the periods was obtained from BSE website. The site does not have PE data for periods before 1995.
Note 2 – The start and end dates of the investment were considered as 1stJan of the corresponding years.
The results of the analysis are given in table below. And the observations follow the table:

Observations
  • Out of the 16 Data points (for 5 Year periods), lumpsum investments in the FIPPF gave annual returns ranging from 3.56% to 54.89%. In comparison, returns of FD (Tax-Free) ranged from 5.5% to 13%.
  • Out of 16 data points, FIPPF gave single digit returns twice i.e. 3.56% & 6.96%. Also, twice it gave abnormal returns of 54.89% & 47.30%. Both these excesses (great for those who got it), were because of the amazing bull run which ended in 2007-2008.
  • If we were to remove these outliers on both up and down side, FIPPF returns ranged from 15.14% to 37.89%. Range of returns from FD remain same at 5.5% to 13%.
  • There was not even a single period in these 16 data points, where FIPPF gave negative returns.
  • 12 times out of 16, FIPPF gave returns between 15.14% and 37.89% annualized. This points to 75% chance of achieving similar results. And if we were to add the outliers on higher side, it will be 14 out of 16 times – which is more than 85% chance of making superior returns.
  • In Rupee terms, Rs 100,000 invested in FIPPF could have grown anywhere between  Rs 119,193 to Rs 891,663 (in blocks of 5 years over 16 such periods). If the excesses removed on both up and downside (caused mainly because of 2007-08 bull market, followed by crash in 2008/2009), then Rs 100,000  invested in FIPP could have grown anywhere between  Rs 198,821 to Rs 498,596. Majority of the times, Rs 100,000 invested in FIPP would have grown to a value between Rs 200,000 to Rs 300,000.
  • On the other hand, Rs 100,000 parked in a FD would have grown to a maximum of Rs 184,243 (at 13% peak FD interest rate). And most of the times, Rs 100,000 invested in FD would have grown to a value in between Rs 135,000 to 160,000.
  • Did market’s P/E Ratio dependent entry points make a big difference to the 5 Year annualized returns? The answer is Yes. But there is no specific pattern. A lump sum investment made in 2009, at a low PE of 12.21 (supposedly a superior entry point) gave annualized returns of 18.5% over the next five years. But on the contrary, an investment made in 2010, at a relatively high PE of 22, gave an annualized return of 16.76%.
  • Investment made in 2008 at very high PE of 25 gave the lowest return of 3.56% in the next five years. Therefore, entry at this and similar high PE points should be avoided. Except for this high PE point there is no much correlation between PE and returns. So as long as the PE is anywhere less than 21, even lump sum investing may work.
  • Did PE exit points make a big difference to 5 Year annualized returns? Yes, but again there is no specific pattern. A 27% annualized returns was made even after exiting at 13.74PE in 2003. Again, 18% annualized returns were made, even after exiting at 12.21PE (near very low PE point) in 2009.
  • One significant point to note from this analysis is that the fund NAV doubled (minimum) or tripled or more in most of the 16 data points. Though we are generalizing here, you can safely expect that in five years, chances of getting decent returns (better than FDs) are much more in equity mutual funds. And this is a very important observation.
Now after having gone through the above analysis, let us re-visit the questions we asked ourselves earlier…and see if we are in a better position to answer them now…
Do you feel comfortable investing lump sum money in Equity Funds?
Yes. But only when investing for more than 5 years.

If yes, what is the time frame you are comfortable with for this investment? – 1 year / 3 years / 5 years / 7 years / 10 years.
The minimum investment period should be 5 years. However, there is still a possibility of loss of capital if invested for anything below 5 years. Based on above analysis, an investment for 5 years in a decent mutual fund lowers the risk of loss of capital substantially.

Do you think a 5-Year Tax Free FD returns would be safer (and more) than a Mutual Fund for the same duration?
Based on above analysis, it is most likely that returns from MF will beat those of FD, significantly. But there will be inter-year volatilities.
I think that many of you would have some more questions about this analysis. I have tried to come up with a few myself and tried answering them too. So please read further…

What happens if the investment time frame is reduced to a period of less than 5 years for lumpsum investment?
There is a high possibility of loss of capital (and not only lower returns). You can easily see the NAV of the fund, which nearly doubles every five years, but falls significantly for some shorter periods (less than 5 years).

What happens if the investment time frame is increased for lump sum investment to something like 7 or 10 years?
On a 7-Year basis, the same fund shows a minimum annualized return of 9.92% and highest of 39%. If excesses are removed on both sides, the range of returns is between 15% and 36%. This is based on 14 data points.
For 10-Years, the results are extremely encouraging. The same fund shows a minimum of 18.29% and highest of 40.26%. If excesses are removed on both sides, the range of returns is between 20% and 28%. This is based on 11 data points.

Do you have the similar analysis for 7-Years and 10-Years data? 


Do you think the high returns shown on this analysis are some what guaranteed?
No. Please don’t think so. There is no guarantee that what has happened in past will also happen in future. However, chances of such returns being delivered if one invests for long term are quite high. Although this analysis of 20 years has witnessed a lot of market action, I believe that the mega bull run of 2004-2008 distorts the figures and the analysis. We may or may not get similar bull runs in future and this fact, is likely to impact future returns. Therefore it is safe to assume the lower side of the returns, say about 15% – which I strongly believe is achievable.
If you didn’t get these kind of returns over a 5 year period (like Zero Returns of 2008 to 2013), then it is only a matter of time. And you should be ready to stay invested for longer periods like 7 and 10 years. In other words, even if you come to the market with a time frame of 5 years, be prepared to stay invested for longer…upto 10 years to achieve the desired result.

Did this analysis find something which no one has found in past?
Certainly not…In fact, Prashant Jain of HDFC once said that Indian Indices double approximately in every 5 years. This analysis actually proves that statement of his (atleast approximately). Also, this analysis endorses the fact that Time in Market is more important than Timing the Market.

So should you just go out there and invest in Equity Mutual Funds right away?
No. Please don’t do it. If you have surplus money to invest, do the following:
– Decide the amount you want to invest.
– Decide your time frame for this investment amount.
– If your time horizon is less than 5 Years, equities are a strict no-no. If its more than 5 years, check your asset allocation and then decide whether you can (and should) add money to equities or not. If you decide to go for equity MF, you should be prepared to remain invested for more than 5 years too…if the desired returns are not achieved. If you cannot wait for so long, then you are better off with debt and fixed deposits. And if your time frame is 7 to 10 years, then look no further. Simply invest in a diversified equity mutual fund in lump sum mode. But just make sure that PE of broader markets is not more 24 – which means highly overvalued. And if it is, then you should wait for the market to give a better entry point.

Do you mean Lumpsum investing is better than SIP investing?
No!! Not at all. If you have surplus lump sum money to invest…and you are well aware that you don’t need this money for next 5 or more years…and also that you are capable enough to wait a few years more if required…only then you should invest in lump sum.
For an investor who invests a small portion of his savings on a monthly basis, SIP is the best way to go about his investing. He should stay away from lump sum investing. And even for SIPs, the minimum investment period should be 7 years plus.

What is your final conclusion of the above analysis?
While 5 years is a decent time frame for investing, it is still a better option to invest for a 10 years time frame. As long as the market PE is less than 24, invest with 10 year time frame, only in very high quality, long term proven, large cap, well diversified equity mutual funds in lump sum mode. If the market PE is more than 25, better wait for a more sensible entry point below 24 (or even lower) and invest your surplus in lump sum mode.
And please do not discontinue your SIPs no matter what.
Disclosure: I am an individual investor sharing my personal experience and writing this article to educate myself. I have no interest in buying or selling any of the funds mentioned in the above analysis. Investors reading this should do their own analysis and take their own investment decisions. Or if required, consult their financial advisors before making any investments.

Dividend Yield Analysis of Nifty in 2015 (Since last 16+ Years)

This is the analysis of 3rd and final indicator which I track on a monthly basis in the State of Indian Markets. The previous two posts have analyzed P/E Ratio and P/BV Ratio of Nifty since 1999, i.e. a dataset of more than 16 years.

The data for this and all previous analysis has been sourced from NSE’s official website (link 1 and link 2). Since data prior to 1st January 1999 is not available on the website, the analysis starts from that day itself..

So here is the result of the analysis…


The table above shows that if one is investing in markets where Dividend Yield (DY) > 3.0, returns over the next 3, 5 and 7 year periods have been an eye-popping 55%, 40% and 27% respectively. But if you think that you are smart enough to time the markets and invest only when DY>3.0, then let me tell you that it is really very tough. Markets with DY>3.0 are extremely rare. And to give you an idea about the rarity, here is a fun fact…

The markets have been available at DY>3.0 on only about 28 days since 1999, i.e. in 4000+ trading days!! Now you know how tough it is. And though as everyday investors, it’s almost impossible to wait for such rare occasions, it shows the power of long term, patient investing for those who know when to wait and when to jump in the markets.

On the other side of this return spectrum is DY<1.0, where returns over a period of 3 years drops down to a mere 2.2%

For your information, currently Nifty is trading at Dividend Yield of 1.23%

Below are three graphs to provide details of the exact Returns against the exact dividend yields on a daily basis (though arranged with increasing PB numbers).

The left axis shows the P/B levels (BLUE Line) and the right axis shows the Returns (in %) in the relevant period (Light Red Bars)




All three graphs clearly show that there is an direct correlation between Dividend Yield and returns earned by the investor. Higher the Yield when you invest, higher the expected rate of return going forward.

This completes the analysis of 3 key indicators. A few readers have mailed me and requested to combine these 3 Analysis and make it available online at one location. In few days, I will do a Comprehensive Post covering all three indicators P/E Ratio, P/BV Ratio and Dividend Yields and a few other findings about these 3 indicators.

Hope you found this and previous two analysis useful…

P/BV Ratio Analysis of Nifty in 2015 (Since last 16+ Years)

In continuation of the last post about P/E Ratio Analysis of Nifty since 1999, here is a similar analysis of Price–to-Book-Value Ratio. Like PE Ratio, I have been regularly tracking this 2ndindicator to gauge overall market sentiments at the State of Indian Markets on a monthly basis.

The data once again has been sourced from NSE’s website (link 1 and link 2) and starting from 1st January 1999. Ratio related data prior to this period is not available. So here is the result of the analysis…


The table above clearly shows that if one is investing in markets where P/BV < 3.0, returns over the next 3, 5 and 7 year periods have been in excess of 20%… i.e. 26.3%, 26.9% and 21.4% to be precise. On the other hand if investment is made when index P/BV exceeds 4.5, the returns have been quite unacceptable at 3.3% and 5.7% for 3 and 5 year periods.

Like we saw in previous post, this clearly indicates that when investments are made at high P/B levels, chances of sub-par (and even negative) returns increase substantially.

For your information, currently Nifty is trading at P/B Ratio of 3.8

But here is another interesting thing which can be observed. Even at a costly PB>4.5, if an investor stays invested for more than 7 years, then average returns are still a very decent 9.6%. And this shows that longer you stay invested, higher are the chances of making money in stock markets….even if you have entered at higher levels (Caution: I am talking about index investing here and not individual stocks).

Below are three graphs to provide details of the exact Returns against the exact P/B on a daily basis (though arranged with increasing PB numbers).

The left axis shows the P/B levels (BLUE Line) and the right axis shows the Returns (in %) in the relevant period (Light Red Bars)





All three graphs clearly show that there is an inversecorrelation between P/B Ratio and returns earned by the average investor. Higher the P/B Ratio when you invest, lower the expected rate of return going forward.

After P/E Ratio Analysis and this post on P/B Ratio Analysis, next I will be sharing my findings on a similar analysis for Dividend Yield of Nifty for last 16 years.

P/E Ratio Analysis of Nifty in 2015 (Since last 16+ Years)

It seems like a season of Excel-based Analysis. You must have noticed that majority of the posts I have been doing in last 1 or 2 months, use Excel-based analysis. Though there is no particular reason for this, here I am back again with another analysis. Don’t worry…it’s not a very complex analysis. It’s simple and very useful…

Regular readers would be familiar with my ‘fetish’ for tracking State of the Indian Markets on a monthly basis. And I make it a point to update the data set every year to update the yearly returns calculations. I have been doing this every year since Stable Investor started, i.e. in 2012, 2013and 2014.

So this post is about analyzing P/E Ratio of a popular index Nifty50 and the returns earned in 3, 5 and 7 year periods, when we invest (theoretically) in the index.

But before I move forward, you might question the rationale of doing such an analysis. And that too, on a regular basis. The reason is very simple. This small effort ensures that I have a broad idea about the valuations of overall markets. It helps ensure that I am not entering markets, when they are over-optimistic. This in turn reduces the chances of making mistakes when investing for long term.

It also helps me in knowing when the overall mood of the market is dull and full of pessimism. In past I have been unable to utilize such times to invest heavily. But I do not want to miss out on such opportunities in future. I hope you understand what I mean… 🙂

So let’s go ahead with my findings…

The data has been sourced from NSE’s website (link 1 and link 2) and starting from 1st January 1999. Ratio related data prior to this period is not available.

So here is the result of the analysis…


The table above clearly shows that if one is investing in markets where PE<12, returns over the next 3, 5 and 7 year periods are astonishing 39%, 29% and 25% every year. That is money doubling almost every 2-3 years!!

But markets with PE below 12 are very rare. To give you an idea about the rarity, the markets have been available at PE<12 on only about 50 days since 1999, i.e. in 4000+ trading days!!

Though as average investors, it’s almost impossible to wait for such days, it shows the power of long term, patient investing for those who know when to wait and when to jump in the markets.

On the other end of the spectrum is PE above 24. These are levels which are quite overvalued and returns over the next 3, 5 and 7 year reduces to (-)5.1%, 2.7% and 9.9%.
This shows that if you invest in high PE markets, your chances of low (and even negative) returns increases substantially.

And for your information, we are currently trading at PE=24 😉

But here is another interesting thing to note here. Even at a costly PE24, if an investor stays invested for more than 7 years, then average returns are still a very decent 9.9%. And this shows that longer you stay invested, higher are the chances of making money in stock markets….even if you have entered at higher levels (Caution: I am talking about index investing here and not individual stocks).

If you are still not convinced with the data shown in above table, I have a few graphs for you. These graphs have been plotted to show the exact Returns against the exact PE on a daily basis (though arranged with increasing PE, PB and decreasing Dividend Yields). 

Three graphs – one each for 3-Year, 5-Year and 7-Year Rolling Returns:

The left axis shows the PE levels (BLUE Line) and the right axis shows the Returns (in %) in the relevant period (Light Red Bars)


The 3 Year graph clearly shows that lower the PE when you invest, higher are the chances of making good returns in short term like 3 years and 5 years (graph below). Yes… I consider 3 and 5 Years as short term. 🙂


Now, interesting thing about 7 Year graph below is that there are no negative returns. 🙂 What does it mean? It means that it is very difficult to earn negative returns if you invest for long periods like 7 years, 15 years or even 30 years!!


Next I will be sharing my findings on a similar analysis for Price-To-Book-Value Ratio, followed by one for Dividend Yield of the Nifty since 1999. Hope to do it in a day or two.