Money & Me: I am a 27-year old CA & Financial Consultant. The biggest mistake which people still do is investing in insurance products.'
- Hi, I am Anant Ladha, a Chartered Accountant, a Certified Financial Planner and a Certified Financial Analyst as well.
- I come from a family of financial professionals and learnt financial planning quite early in my life.
- After qualifying as a CA, I quit a well-paying job to enter the domain of investment management.
- In late 2018, I started my own YouTube Channel, ‘Invest Aaj For Kal' to create financial awareness. Today we have more than a lakh subscriber.
- Here is my journey with money.
How did your upbringing influence your attitude towards money?
I am born and raised in Jaipur (India) and I come from a family of financial professionals. So, while most families watch TV shows and movies together, we were different...we used to watch CNBC instead!
I learned about budgeting and planning towards a goal at an early stage itself. I used to love reading books like “Who moved my cheese” and “One-minute manager.” I read them when I was in Class 8 and they are still my favorite books.
I was quite young when I realised I had a passion for investments. So, all in all, finance always attracted me, perhaps due to my family background.
How old were you when you started investing & saving?
I learnt how to trade and the basics long ago, but I did my first trade in my first year of college. I used to save my internship money and invest it.
Here is an important lesson for everyone. Please don’t get into the share market before you become a CA. At times, investing in the stock market can take up a lot of time and it can distract you from your studies.
I was lucky that I cleared CA in one go and was even a Rank Holder, however, the share market truly was a distraction during studies. So yes, I started investing during my first year of college.
Why did you pursue Chartered Accountancy?
Initially, I started off as a Science student but I got bored. So, I finally decided to take up commerce and do CA instead.
I did my articles from EY, Mumbai which gave me a superb exposure in Financial Services. It further enriched my understanding of finance. My 3 years of articles experience still comes handy sometimes. I had great support from my friends in EY throughout my journey.
What did you do with your first salary after becoming a CA?
I actually gifted the whole amount to my grandmother, mother and sister. I believe I was am where I am today solely because of their love and support.
During my studies, I remember my grandmother and mother telling me “padhle beta, mauka hai”(Study son, you have great opportunities awaiting you). They always supported me and guided me throughout. My sister is my companion in crime and my support system.
Why did you start ‘Invest Aaj Kal’ an investing firm?
After qualifying as a CA, I got a job offer from a very reputed company. They were paying me a handsome salary of INR 18 lakhs per annum ($30000) which was very good for a CA fresher. However, I quit my job very soon to join my father’s business of financial planning.
It was then that I realized there is a need to spread financial literacy. Here we first started Financial Literacy Sessions. We started this in 2016 and we have conducted over 200 sessions so far addressed over 20000+ investors. We have even been awarded by the Rajasthan government twice for our sessions and for spreading financial awareness.
I love interacting with people and I am also a visiting faculty at the CA Institute in India. It was one of my students (rather I should say, a fellow CA), who suggested that I start a YouTube channel to reach more people to spread financial literacy.
So that’s how it all began. We started our YouTube channel named 'Invest Aaj For Kal' at the end of 2018. We have gone from 1 subscriber to 1.20 lakh subscribers in 1.5 years. It has been a roller coaster rider. Spreading Financial literacy is always the core of it.
Why do you want to make people financially literate?
There are some basic structural mistakes that many people do. If we can stop these mistakes, we can have a smooth financial life.
Also, there is a lot of misselling done around. So, our objective is to give proper knowledge and understanding. Through our sessions, we explain the importance of goal planning, risk profiling and investing.
Did you face any challenges initially when you started out on your own?
In the initial days, it was difficult. I quit my Rs. 18 lakh job at the age of 21 and started this venture. But I always loved helping people and spreading financial literacy.
Even when we started our YouTube channel, there were haters initially who kept posting negative comments. Now I see the same haters following me on all social media handles. So, I guess we are able to give something of value even to our haters. Our goal is simple and clear - Spreading financial literacy.
I am glad to have the support of my dad through all this. He still works even harder than me and still inspires me each day and each moment of my life.
Do you prefer paying using a credit card or a debit card?
A Debit card vs credit card is a debate that can never end. I feel both are important provided we don’t misuse it.
I always request my investors to normally pay bills in cash. The reason is simple. The value of physical money is much more than digital money. We are more conscious when dole out cash for a purchase. Swiping a card has no pain in it, but believe me, paying in cash has. So, when we use cash, we tend to be more prudent.
And as far as a credit card is concerned, just remember it has over 30% of annual interest which we can never earn from any financial instrument regularly. So if you are sure to use it minimally and pay off the dues promptly on the due date, then it is fine.
What was your greatest financial mistake?
I learnt a lot about investing when I was in grade 8, however, I started investing much later. So, my one mistake is I started investing in the first year of college, I wish I had started much earlier.
When I did start investing, I did make a few mistakes along the way but a major mistake that I made was interpreting the business news and linking it with the share market.
In the initial years, I just invested based on the news I read and did not make any effort to interpret the market myself. It cost me a lot of money. But it actually helped me in understanding how the human mind behaves and how to control it to make money.
I am still learning and improving my analytics of the financial information available to arrive at more accurate predictions of the movement of the stocks.
What mistakes do you see finance professionals making with their investments?
The biggest mistake which most people, not just finance professionals still do is investing in insurance products.
Insurance is important of course, but it is not an investment. However, they are being pitched so forcibly that people still invest in ULIP's, traditional plans and policies.
Also, there is a lot of 'misselling' by bankers these days. No offense this misselling costs investors a lot. In the finance domain, it is very important to maintain integrity. And if there is misselling by one, it spoils the image of 100 others who are actually genuine. Financial advisors just need to think about the benefit of their investors.
We need proper bifurcation between investment and insurance if we really want to have a beautiful financial experience.
Another mistake finance professionals make is that they start trading instead of investing.
As an investor who manages others’ investments, how do you manage your own finances?
We follow our own rules. I always believe while opinions may differ, rules always work.
We follow exactly the same strategy that we use for investors when it comes to our own investments.
Any pointers to CA articles on how to start saving and investing?
I have a strict policy wherein I never encourage CA articles to open a trading account. I feel that once an article starts investing in the share market, his focus shifts from studying to making money!
Every CA student has to be good at investing his own funds but first, he needs to make sure that he clears his CA exams in one go. Investing is important but not important than your career.
If they have some savings, they can invest in mutual funds or FDs. It actually doesn’t matter at that point in time. What matters most is your studies and focusing on becoming a Chartered Accountant.
What financial tips would you give to our readers?
- Always remember to keep your long-term funds and short-term funds separate.
- Never get into intraday trading, it is injurious to health and wealth.
- Never trade in mutual fund long term portfolio.
- Following the basics and maintaining control over emotions is the most difficult and important. Just try and keep it simple and invest with a proper goal in mind.
- Today most people invest just to save taxes, this is wrong. We should invest with proper goal planning and focus on achieving the goals with proper financial planning and risk profiling.
- Our target should be on saving a minimum of 30% of our earnings and not just saving, investing it into our future goals with a proper financial plan in place.
Anant Ladha is a young professional, working on finance and management of funds. Portfolio management is his competency and he wants to convert India from a country of savers to country of investors.
Presently he is serving more than 5000 investors in mutual funds and shares portfolio management.
Anant is also the Founder and CEO - Invest Aaj For Kal (YouTube Channel as well) with more than 100k subscribers.
Now It's Your Turn...
When did you start investing? How old were you? Do you have any tips? Comment below and let us know.
(Article edited by CA Uma Krishnan and image by Ankit Lodhi)